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        Time Management Skills and Tips for Small Businesses

        Another AHBBO Article
        Managing Time to Accomplish More

        ?2013 Elena Fawkner

        Time is inelastic.?Despite what some of us persist in believing,
        it will NOT magically expand to accommodate all we have to do.?
        So, in order to maximize the time we have available, we have to
        spend it wisely.

        Here's how to do that.


        The very first thing to do is understand the structure of your
        time.?If you think of the time you have available as some
        amorphous dimension, you will fritter it away on this and that
        without any real consideration of what is the best use of the
        time available.?How many times have you got to the end of
        your day and felt like you'd accomplished nothing even though
        you'd been "busy" all day.

        All time is not equal.?If you're a morning person, your
        morning time is worth more in terms of productivity than your
        late afternoon time.

        So think of time as variable in terms of potential for
        accomplishment and identify your most valuable time.?Do
        the same for your intermediate-value time and your lower-value

        Reserve your most valuable time for your most intellectually
        demanding activities.?Your intermediate value time should be
        spent on important tasks that don't require quite the same level
        of concentration.?Finally, reserve your low-value time for
        activities that don't require much in the way of concentration.?

        Now, obviously, if you have a full-time job away from the home,
        the decision of how to spend your 9 to 5 hours will largely be
        out of your hands.?So, the best you can do if you're a morning
        person is to try and take care of some of your intellectually
        demanding activities first thing in the morning, say between
        5:00 am and 7:00 am.?On the other hand, if you're a night owl,
        working a full-time job probably won't be much of a problem for

        If you run your own business from home, however, effectively
        structuring your time in terms of peak, intermediate and low-
        concentration blocks can make a profound impact on your
        productivity if you use that time intelligently.


        Now that you have some sense of how to best structure your
        time, you need to turn to what, exactly, you're going to spend
        that time on.

        That means identifying what you have to do.?And that means
        identifying what you DON'T have to do as the flipside.

        When identifying what you have to fit in to your schedule,
        think about all areas of your life.?Making time for yourself is
        NOT something that you get around to only if there's time left
        over.?Making time for yourself is as much a priority as anything

        A good way of identifying activities that should be included in
        your schedule is to test them against the criteria of furtherance
        of an objective.?If the activity does nothing to further any
        objective, why are you even doing it?

        So start by identifying objectives for your life.?Consider categories
        such as health, finance, business/career, spiritual, family, social,
        intellectual and so on.?Establish objectives for every area of your
        life that's important to you.?

        Everything you do should bring you closer to an objective.?If it
        doesn't, again, why do it?


        Now that you know how to best structure your time and what
        activities are going to lead you closer to your objectives, it's time
        to allocate those activities against the time you have available
        and in accordance with your various concentration levels.

        Begin by estimating how much time each activity in your day is
        likely to take.?Be realistic about what you can really accomplish in
        one day.?If you overload yourself you're only going to stress out
        about what you're NOT doing and that makes you less effective
        in what you ARE doing.?So pace yourself.?Just don't WASTE time.

        Assign your most intellectually demanding activities to your peak
        concentration time.?This may be writing a chapter of your ebook
        or writing an article for the next issue of your ezine.?Assign your
        less concentration-intensive activities to your intermediate
        concentration time. This may be redesigning a web page or
        reading and responding to email, for example.?Finally, assign
        your truly "no concentration required" activities to your low
        concentration periods.?If you've allocated time to exercising, this
        would be a good time to do a workout.


        There's no reason why you can't use the same time to accomplish
        more than one thing.?For example, I am writing this article (a high
        concentration activity) on my laptop while enjoying coffee in a Santa
        Monica cafe (a low concentration activity).


        Grouping like tasks will allow you to accomplish more in the same
        amount of time.?It is much more efficient to run three errands
        while you're out and about rather than making three separate trips.?
        Similarly, it's more time-efficient to run one large load of laundry
        rather than two separate, smaller loads.?So give some thought
        to these mundane sorts of activities too.?There's always a way to
        shave off a bit of time by grouping similar activities and doing them
        in one hit.?Email's another prime example.?Far more efficient to
        check and respond to mail twice a day than to read and respond to
        each message as and when it comes in, thereby distracting
        yourself from what you were doing in the first place.

        By thinking about what you have to do and scheduling those tasks
        in conformity with your concentration levels as well as grouping
        like activities, you will naturally make the most effective use of the
        time available.?Your productivity will increase proportionately.


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