By Rhonda Campbell
Come back. Let the telephone ring. I know somebody’s knocking at the door, but pay attention. Sit down and ask yourself how much time you waste each day tackling tasks or performing work that’s nonessential to the growth of your business. Really. Just how much time have you wasted today?
Stop Wasting Time and Get Your Work Done
What you do with your time each day matters. Working as an entrepreneur will prove this to you perhaps more clearly than any other undertaking you find yourself involved in. If you work from home, this fact will get magnified. To start, there’s the telephone, email, spouse, children, pets, errands, etc.
Before you know it, the day’s gone and you haven’t even closed the two $250K multimedia accounts. Keep this habit up and it won’t be long before you’re behind the eight ball. Following are steps you can take to reduce and/or eliminate time wasters:
- Design a home office (can’t you see yourself sitting in that high back leather chair?)
- Create and stick to office hours (who said a major benefit to being an entrepreneur was rolling out of bed at 12 noon?)
- Set up file folders at the start of the year and keep papers, contracts and other legal documents organized (if you’ve ever spent 10 minutes just trying to find your car keys, you already know how much time being organized can save you)
- Take a walk, jog, etc. at least once a day to boost your energy naturally (also does wonders for your overall health)
- Schedule meetings and conference calls on the same day to avoid stopping in the middle of work to jump on a conference call three or more days a week
- Log when you start and finish projects on a spreadsheet (you just might be surprised at how much time you spend in your office but not working on key projects)
Get Clear About Your Business Goals
Hoping (or waiting) for life to stop putting distractions before you might be futile. A better use of your energy is to write down clear business goals and objectives. Next to each goal write specific steps you will take to meet those goals. Forget discouraging yourself by telling yourself what you’re not trained or confident enough to pull off. Just write down the steps you know are required to meet your goals.
Then list how much time each day it’ll take to complete the action steps. Lastly, and just as if you were working for someone else, create a concrete schedule outlining when you’ll start and finish each action item. As you get into the habit of doing this, you’ll come to see interruptions as the time wasters that they are.
You’ll shut down your email so you can stop checking it every time you hear your in-box chime. You’ll let your family and friends know what your office hours are. You’ll stop walking back and forth from your office to the living room to check out what’s happening on a TV show. You’ll stop wasting time, complete more goals and watch your business grow.
Rhonda Campbell, an East Coast journalist, is the owner of Off The Shelf radio and publisher of Long Walk Up and the forthcoming Love Pour Over Me.