Working in Bunny Slippers, Part 2



bunny-slippers

 

Time Management for Entrepreneurs,
Contractors and Freelancers

 

A Guide for Working in a Home Office

 

 

Your First Step

To help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for at least a week. This will help you see how much time is actually spent producing results and how much valuable time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, conversations and actions.

If you make it a habit to document everything that you do for your clients and that you do for your business you’ll be able to improve upon your systems over time. Use your documentation to create forms, processes, checklists and file management systems.

 

Schedule Your Time

Be realistic about how long it takes to get things done. Block out a reasonable amount of time on your planner, especially if it’s an appointment where there’s driving time to consider.

Schedule time without interruptions. If that means closing your office door and letting your voice mail take phone messages, then that’s what you need to do. Do this at your most productive time of the day.

Schedule a time to answer email and return phone calls.
Don’t answer the phone just because it’s ringing and e-mails just because they show up. Is it absolutely crucial to offer an immediate personal response? If not, don’t instantly respond. Block out other distractions like all forms of social media unless you use these tools to generate business.

Any activity or conversation that’s important to your success should have a time assigned to it.

Appointment books work. They work for me but use the calendar on any of your devices – whatever works for you.

Schedule appointments with yourself and create time blocks for high-priority thoughts, conversations, and actions. Schedule when they will begin and end. Have the discipline to keep these appointments.

Schedule time for learning and keeping up what’s new in your industry or on new technology. It can be as little as 15 minutes a week, but schedule it.

As my colleagues and clients know I don’t like the phrase “To-Do.” Will-Do is proactive. That’s what I use and encourage you to do. Create Will-Do lists daily and monthly. Put your list in writing and prioritize it. Studies show that people who write their lists down are 90% more likely to complete their list than those who do not.

 

Preparation

Set aside your most productive time. We all have times when we’re most productive. Take the time to identify your most productive times, whether morning, afternoon or evening and block them off for focused work on your top projects. Don’t waste these precious hours on administrative work or other

Take five minutes after each call and activity to determine whether your desired results were achieved. If not, what was missing? How do you put what was missed into your next call or activity? Prepare for next time.

 

Combine Tasks

Don’t multi-task. That’s right! It’s been found that people are more productive when they’re allowed to focus on one task at a time, rather than constantly juggling a dozen different projects at once. Working on one type of activity at a time will lead to better results and more productivity in the long run. Try to combine like tasks. If you have lots of phone calls to make schedule a time and do them all.

At the end of each day, plan for the next day. Write down tomorrow’s Will-Do List, prioritize it, and then clean off your desk. By doing this, you will be able to jump start your workday when you get to your office.

 

Outsource

Think about what can be outsourced. Can any of your day to day work be easily and effectively outsourced? Website updates and maintenance? Administrative projects? Are you ready for a virtual assistant, say one day a week to free up your time for more productive work? There are individuals and services available for all types of projects. (See apps and website list below)

I’ve found it easier to outsource my website updates and maintenance. I can do it myself, but the time it would take me is better off spent on other projects. I create changes and updates but I hand it over to my website guru.

 

Automate

Setting up systems to automate repetitive tasks once can pay off big over time, and you’ll save money over hiring an outsourced worker for tasks that could be automated just as effectively.

There are tools that enable you to create email responses composed of pre-written copy simply by typing a few keystrokes into your message. (See apps and website list below) Using these programs could help you manage the time you spend on repetitive business tasks, while saving you the cost of hiring an outsourced worker at the same time.

 

ABOUT THOSE BUNNY SLIPPERS

There was a time when working from a home office that it didn’t matter what you wore although studies found that you are more productive when dressed appropriately. With the explosion of technology using Skype or any device where you can see or be seen, it’s imperative that you be prepared for meeting an important client “face to face.” At least make sure that you look professional from the waist up. From the waist down no one will ever know that you’re wearing sweats or jeans AND your bunny slippers

Yes, you can wear bunny slippers

Remember that it’s impossible to get everything done but the odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results

 

Apps and Websites Reference Guide

There are a myriad of websites and apps that can help you with time management. Here are a few that have been recommended by colleagues.

 

APPs

Rescue Time
If you have doubts that you are using your time wisely, this app will send you weekly reports to indicate your time thieves.

Remember the Milk
This app is for you if you are struggling to manage everything you have to do and you work with many different device. It is a great free tool which is compatible with your mobile, computer, Gmail, Outlook, etc. It helps you to manage your tasks easily and reminds you of them wherever you are.

Dropbox
There are many apps that allow you to transfer content from your computer to other devices, but Dropbox is free and easier to use than others. With the Dropbox app, you can access and share important files on the go.

Evernote
Evernote is a free productivity tool that allows you to capture all your ideas, thoughts and images in many different ways, e.g.: with voice, notes or images. You can even record your meetings, interviews, speeches and ideas, create lists, add voice or text attachments and share your files with friends. Now you can also sync Remember The Milk with Evernote to really optimize your time.

Instapaper
We’ve all come across a page on the web that we want to save for later. Unfortunately, saving everything to your browser’s bookmarks tab or menu can quickly turn into a messy, disorganized list of junk. It’s a great tool that helps you save web pages so you can read them later by adding a simple button that says “Read Later.” Simply press it and come back when you have more time. You can read it from your computer, on paper, from your iOS device or from your Kindle. Signing up for an account doesn’t cost anything.

Card Munch
This free LinkedIn app allows you to take a picture of a business card, capture the information and upload it immediately. This way you can stay on top of new connections without wasting time getting organized and connected.

Universal Password Manager
This app allows you to keep all your passwords in one encrypted database, protected by one password. This saves you time when you forget your passwords and need to retrieve them, and also allows you to use various passwords so you don’t compromise on security.

 

WEBSITES

Mobile Credit Card Processing
www.square.com

Password Manager
www.lastpass.com

Automated Email Response
www.textexpander.com
www.activewords.com

Outsource Services
www.odesk.com
www.guru.com
www.elance.com

Digital Scanning/Filing
www.neat.com





One Comment on “Working in Bunny Slippers, Part 2”

  1. 1 Dawn said at 6:23 pm on February 20th, 2014:

    Lois ~
    Wanted to just reach out & say thank you for this.
    Granted I’ve been operating from a home office for over 5 years full time … but still the ideas, suggestions & logic you suggest is worthwhile. I’m going to investigate some of these APPs suggested as well as look at scheduling my time more efficiently.

    I’m also forwarding it to another friend – who’s looking at devising her business & working form a home office as well.

    Be well ~

    Dawn


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