Time management seems like a simple thing to master: just do what you want with your time, right? Not so much. Either you plan your time or you will lose track of it, and it will control you. As a home-based business owner, you can waste time easily, because sometimes doing a load of laundry looks more appealing than making another sales call. It is easy to rationalize that just a few more minutes of sleep or taking a personal call won’t hurt your business efforts or impact your day, but this is far from the truth.
When you set up your home-based business, you need to also set up office hours along with the number of hours you will devote to marketing. This may sound too structured for some, but you can adjust the hours to fit with your personality as well as your ideal client base. A business selling advertising whose ideal clients are restaurant or club owners is a perfect fit for a night owl. However, if you and your target market have different life schedules, you need to adjust yours to match with theirs. In other words, as a home-based business owner, you need to be disciplined about how you spend your time and determine the most effective way to use it to help you reach your target market.
Right now you may be thinking, “I have no idea how many hours I am already putting into my home-based business, and now I have to have office hours and set a specific time for marketing? Are you kidding me?” Instead of closing this article because you think you don’t have time for one more thing, record the time you spend on your home-based business for one week. No cheating here. Conduct your week as usual. You might be surprised at how much time you waste doing things that aren’t really important to you. Sometimes saying the word “no” is the best timesaver. There should always be time for the things that are important to you. If you don’t make the time, then they are not as important to you as you thought.
Once you record a typical work week, take a look at how you are spending your time. Are there any items that are repeated during the week that can be eliminated? Do you find yourself constantly interrupted by the phone or getting distracted by e-mail? Most people these days assume they will get voicemail when they call. When you are working, use your time wisely by combining similar tasks together. For one week, try only taking and returning phone calls during certain times of the day. Do the same thing with e-mail. See if your week is more productive. Yes, emergencies come up, so a little time should be left in your day for unexpected things. The beauty of it is, if nothing comes up, you will have more time to work on your marketing tools.