Time Management is a topic that you will see across many different industries, including technology, business, the legal field and many others.
Usually the great “time manager” is a boss, that tried and steadfast hawk that watches how employees use time, waste time, and produce within a certain time frame. This is measured in a variety of ways, depending on the work environment. In a factory, for example, the way employees use time is measured by how productive they are. The pieces of material they manufacture, along with the quality by which they put it together, is all a part of the analysis of that productivity.
Other types of professionals such as teachers or police officers may have time management measured by the number of students or victims they help succeed on standardized tests, the skills they learn, or the number of people they influence for good.
Work-at-home entrepreneurs and independent contractors have no such automatic time management systems. So we often have to create our own. In this post, I will discuss ways that work-at-home entrepreneurs and independent contractors can manage their time, as well as analyze their use of time so that they make the most out of every day.
Plan well and work the plan.
One important concept that you should always include is the idea of planning. Remember it is not that you are busy that makes you productive. It is the amount of success you have and level of productivity you reach within your chosen work.
People who are working at home for themselves are our “own boss.” We chose this method of making money, so we have to stick to it and deal with what that means. It means that we have sometimes to be tough on ourselves to get the work done. It means that we have to find ways of tracking our use of time. And it means that we need to have effective ways of measuring our productivity.
When you plan your week, always think about the goals you wish to accomplish within that week. It doesn’t always have to be about money, but it can be. It can be the total amount of money you want to make by the end of that week. It can be the number of high-paying clients you want to lasso into your business so that you can start making more for your time. It can be anything you choose. But make it something that has to do with greater productivity and achievement.
Use your tools and resources
One of the things I do besides plan for my week is that I use tools that help me stay on task. Believe it or not, we adults also get off the task at times. Facebook, texting, and going to other websites are often things that get us off track. While we do need these distractions to keep our sanity at times, we should try not to use them too often during the time we have set aside for a productive time.
Remember that, as a work-at-home contractor and entrepreneur, the amount of money we make will be in direct proportion to the way we use our time. So manage accordingly.
Some Apps You May Like
My favorite tool for tracking my time while I am writing and working is “Hours Tracker.” It has an icon that looks like a piggy bank and opens up to reveal a simple interface that helps you track your time, minute-by-minute.
It works by letting you enter the rate you are making per hour and then averages what you are earning based on the amount of time you work. You can check out the Hours Tracker app here.
I have found that, when you make a process automatic, you are less likely to get off track. It also helps you develop the habit of using the tools available to you to maximize your work time and be more productive.
There are many other apps on the market such as Timesheet, which allows you to count your hourly activity as well and also allows you to enter the time that was not done during the normal times that you work.
Both apps let you start and stop the clock anytime so that you can easily track your progress and see the money you made during that time.
These apps and other tools that you can find online literally show you how your time converts to money. This serves as a real wake-up call to see how your time is turning into profit.
Keep in mind that this works very well for independent contractors and others working at home who need to get projects done within a reasonable period. It might not work quite as well when it’s “time off the clock.” Examples of this might include the time you spend on your business website that may not produce immediate income but which produce real passive income over time.
What about “off-the-clock” activities?
This should not make you think that these activities that are “off the clock” are not worth as much. In fact, in some ways, they may be worth more. You just have to think about how you are using your work time to turn it into income and products if it is not counted by the minutes.
In a well-known book entitled, 6 Months to 6 Figures, Peter Voogd says, “you can always get more money, but you can never get more time.” He makes a good point by stating that in the battle or money or time, always choose the time. The wise business owner knows how to make the best use of his or her time and turn it into reaching a goal.
Work in some down time
Additionally, you should also remember to work in some “fun time.” These psychological breaks from reality and your workload will serve to lighten your mood and make you feel more motivated when you return to work. Independent work-at-home entrepreneurs should practice this. You don’t want to start at 8:00 in the morning and work every minute until 5:00 pm. Remember, you got out of the “rat race” of normal business hours by working at home.
One of the greatest parts of being your boss and working at home is the sense of freedom and the way that you can choose your schedule. So make it your own by what works best for you.
The Pomodoro Method
The Pomodoro Method is the old “tomato timer” routine that allows you to work in smaller segments of time. The tomato timer (available as a gadget here), allows you to work on a project intensely for 24 minutes, then it gives you an automatic 3-minute break before you return to work. This is a refreshing and cute way to keep up with small blocks of time and stay on task.
In the end, it’s not just about time. It’s about the way you use it. Everyone has the same amount of hours, minutes, and seconds in a day. Everyone has the same number of hours in a day: 24. Use it wisely.