Effective time management is the foundation of a successful life. Saving money, making money, being more self-reliant, building your skills… all these things come together much more easily if you use your time efficiently.
Do you struggle with your productivity and time management? I do. I get distracted really easily. I was that kid in school who was always gazing out the window, happily engrossed in thoughts more interesting than whatever was being discussed in class. I’ve never lost that ability. Trouble is, when you work for yourself, you need to be on your game, all the time. Gazing out the window is an even bigger no-no now than it was during class unless, of course, you’re brainstorming but, that’s another subject for another day.
When you work from home, you can control many of the distractions around you but not all. While I no longer struggle with the auditory distractions of working in an open plan office environment, I do have visual ones that are a little more challenging – incredibly cute but challenging nonetheless. See Exhibit A!
Distractions can seriously undermine your productivity and your time management if you don’t plan around them. I know the afternoon is the time when distractions have their greatest impact on my ability to work effectively. Maybe it’s all those carbs at lunch? Maybe I just need to fire up another pot of coffee? Whatever it is, it’s taken the two years I’ve been working from home, to acknowledge and learn to work around that quirk. Luckily, I also stumbled across Brian Tracy!
I recently read Eat That Frog!: Get More of the Important Things Done – Today. The title says it all and is based on this quote from Mark Twain:
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
My frog is not so much the worst thing I need to do that day but the most important and/or time sensitive task. It’s what I call one of my foundation tasks, that is, if I don’t do it I’m not strengthening the foundation of or building my business.
- Taming the Task Tornado
- When You Work from Home, Weekends Matter
- The Hidden Value of a Good Goof Off Day
The other key productivity habit I have established is to get the thinking tasks done in the morning and the physical tasks done in the afternoon. I’m naturally a morning person anyway, but if I can complete the tasks that require active and creative thought while I’m fresh, the day goes a lot easier. Once they’re done, I don’t feel guilty pottering around in the afternoon while I get the day’s orders ready to post.
I absolutely love working from home. Working for myself from my own space is the best job I’ve ever had. Knowing how to stay on top of everything I have to do is just the icing on the cake. Reading Eat That Frog really helped me hone in on what worked and what didn’t when it came to my time management. If you’re struggling to drag your gaze from the window, whether or not you work from home, I highly recommend reading Brian Tracy’s book.
Now it’s time to go eat another frog!
Do you struggle with effective time management? What tricks do you use to keep on track?