OK, so you spent last winter reviewing ’08, analyzed what you’d accomplished and how to improve, set goals and created a plan of action for the upcoming year. You’re plate’s full and your to-do lists ready to go. Now…when and how do you get it all done?
Time-management is something almost everyone struggles with! From the homemaker, with or without a business, to the CEO of almost any Fortune 500, we all have the same amount of time in a day – and “too much” to accomplish! There are probably as many methods and plans out there as there are personalities – no matter what the system, it has to work for you! Anyone I’ve ever talked to that uses their time efficiently has usually created something from a bunch of different ideas. Here’s some suggestions to look at to get you started on coming up with your “perfect plan”.
Network Marketing Coach Terry Dean has a less-overwhelming twist on the old “to-do” list, and has certainly brought him impressive results. Each evening before going to bed, he makes a list of 5 – yes, only 5 – things that he needs to complete the next day. They can be short, easy ones, or a part of a bigger project…but they will ABSOLUTELY be accomplished the next day. Now 5 may not seem like much, but by the end of the week, he has completed 25 concrete, measurable activities or items that will have contributed to his business success. Hmmm…
Another tip, from Nicole Dean, the “mostly sane” WAHM, is to outsource whatever you can! (Boy, can’t wait to outsource my housecleaning ;-)! Of course, a cornerstone of her business is built on helping bloggers and those with web-based businesses do just that, by providing PRL articles and other marketing tools. (If you don’t like writing and adding to your blog, website or newsletter, do take a look at what she has to offer regarding PLR resources.)
And these are 2 variations on using good ol’ files. First, if you’re used to using a filing cabinet and have easy access to one, you can label some folders from 1-31 (you’ll be re-using them each month). In them you can place sticky notes, your bills, reminders, and notes and/or cards to send. Each day you open the number corresponding to the date, and whatever is inside is your to-do list for that day. The second variation involves fewer files, but more “revisiting”. You label your files by activity (bills, correspondence, phone calls, meetings, shopping, etc) and stick in your lists or reminders into the appropriate file. Of course you then have to check each one, every day…
Here’s what I do…
My lifestyle requires me to be out-and-about at some point each day, and so my formula requires a bit more mobility. I have a notebook that fits into my purse. It’s a bound book, more like a journal, so I’m not tempted to use it for the kids to write in or tear out a page if I need to. Each Sunday night, I create a weekly list of general tasks I want to accomplish. Because I also homeschool and have a lot of pressing personal demands on my time, I constantly refer to this list when I have a free moment. Kids taking a test? Respond to an email. Math lesson in progress? Write the outline to an article for my next newsletter. Lunch time? Enough time to make a blog post or add a page to the website. Article topics go on a separate page, so I can switch back and forth between completing those activities which I will more-easily check off, and keeping up with a growing list of ideas. Outlines (and sometimes complete articles, which I compose while out and about) also get hand-written here and put on the computer when I have a larger chunk of time available.
So there you have 5 methods to look at to adapt to your own set of circumstances. You know best the environment you live in, your needs, and where your time-management challenges lay. And you also know that all the information in the world is worth nothing if you don’t get up and act, so… get moving! If you have any other suggestions to share, please feel free to post them at my blog: if it works for you, it may help someone else ;-)! Can’t wait to hear what you’ll have accomplished this time next year!
Pat Fenner is a veteran homeschooler with 2 young adults in college and 3 elementary-aged children at home. She publishes 3 newsletters and runs a network marketing business from home. Her passion is to see fellow homeschoolers plug into the skills and passions they already have to create a lasting income for their family. Keep up with her at her blog http://www.networkfromhome.squarespace.com and get a FREE e-book on working from home when you sign up for her newsletter Learning and Earning at Home!