Time Management Tips

As we all know, managing our time is crucial to our success in any endeavor we pursue. Here are a few thoughts to help us sharpen the use of our time:

1) Set Goals

  • Write down goals (a goal unwritten is only a wish)
  • A goal has to be useful, measurable and attainable
  • Prioritize goals – ask yourself “What’s most important right now?”
  • Evaluate goals frequently
  • Visualize your goals, think about how to accomplish them, then “JUST DO IT!”

2) Avoid Procrastination

Procrastination is a time waster of which you have complete control. Here are some ideas to keep procrastination under control:

  • slice up tasks into more manageable pieces and start on the easiest ones
  • chart your progress – “Small success leads to big success!” If you write down and track progress, it helps confidence and aids you in seeing progress, even if its only small
  • set a deadline for completing projects

These are just a few ideas I’ve had that, if implemented, have helped me manage my time more effectively. Any other ideas would be appreciated.

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49 Replies to “Time Management Tips”

  1. Interesting points which have been helpful throughout my lilfe, i.e., putting three of us through college while working in corporate america full time and establishing my personal website. The biggest challenge is knowing when to make the critical time management and organizational adjustments after all, nothing is set in stone! You better be able to adjust – quickly!

  2. Time management is critical. As you can see from the time of day I am commenting on this concept I am running out of hours in a day… Time to make sure that each hour really counts.

    1. Amen Doug – don’t even look at the of this comment 🙂 I learned recently at a blogging conference that in order to really get where you want to go, it’s not about completely dropping what you do during the day (the regular JOB), it’s about using the time “after hours” to really bust things out!

      Welcome to the life of an online entrepreneur! I’ll bet you can see now why it’s so important to do something you love and have passion for!

  3. I have ADD so I have a hard time staying focused. I never learned the skills of setting goals – specific goals so that is something I am working on right now. I wouldn’t say that I procrastinate although it does look like to the observeer that I do, I just need to work on correctly prioritizing what I am going to do that day. I am a hard worker, but am I working hard on the correct thing?

  4. The biggest challange is procrastination in any thing that we do today. But by setting goals and scheduling ones time properly will overcome many challenges in the things we do. And to read our mission statement and goals everyday as we prepare to do our work should help us stay focused.

  5. For me procrastination is the biggest. I feel like I have so much to do sometimes it gets overwhelming. So, to take the pressure off I procrastinate and then I forget what I was doing if what I needed to do was not written down.
    I need to be more consistent in writing my goals down to get them accomplished for my personal life.

  6. I agree that time management and organizational skills are a MUST for everytnig and anything in life, and with eCommerce and the building of a business, is no different. I liked Doug Kelly’s idea of
    * asking what needs to be done before setting goals
    * in what order it needs to be done
    * resources needed

  7. many good comments on this topic, I liked the tips, are ESSENTIAL for any BIZ that people want to commit to.

    I love the comment about ” I only have 2 files on my comp.
    TO DO & TO DO TODAY ”

    These tips should be applied ( in my personal case) to everyday activities, that will create a good habit, and then when people is ready for an entrepreneurial experience it would be a lot easier.

    WHY do I say that?
    because people is involved in many activities, work, family,doctors, children church, anything !
    and when you “think” finaly I have some time to devote to my BIZ, something else comes up.

    People put a lot into planning their vacation, and do no planning at all about what to do, to reach financial independence.
    I’ll pick Bill’s advice, to use a planner, and do weekly tasks.

    Good comments You’all.
    One advice from Jim Rohn:
    NEVER BEGIN THE DAY until it is FINISHED on PAPER.

  8. Time managment is most important for our success. Seems as if it is always changing. The one tool that really helps me is my planner. It’s also a great place to record your goals and successes. It pays to spend time with your planner. Thanks for all the great advise.

  9. I think I started into this whole internet business at an interesting time in my life. I have 3 small children (5, 3 and 1) and a husband that works 12-14 hour days. I find it a miracle if I’m able to eat a meal during the day! I definitely have a hard time with “time management” because most days I feel that I don’t have any “extra time” to manage.
    I really like the comments about making a list of “to dos” and prioritizing what’s most important. Hopefully that will help me get on the right path with my business and make the progress I know I am capable of.

  10. I have felt like I have been floundering of late and alot of it is because I have been procrastinating! Procrastination is definately the enemy of time management and a sure road to failure. I find myself when faced with a difficult task or when something does not go well, then I begin to procrastinate instead of keeping my focus on the goal so this was a good article for me to read. I am like Barb, I have been spending to much time thinking and not enough time doing. Time to take the bull by the horns!! I am also going to slice up tasks and do them in pieces instead of thinking I have to do a task all at once.

  11. I appreciate the message and the hints on different styles of time management. I can tell that many of those leaving comments are much farther with implementing their business plan than I. I tend to spend too much time thinking and not enough time doing.
    I bought a daily planner last week, but the dates are for June 25, 2007 thru August 3, 2008 so I have been using my homework assignment e-mails as lists of things to do and mark off each completed item. I believe that now I need to track the time each assignment takes to complete.

  12. Time management is very important in your everyday life no mater what you are doing. I fine that since starting the computer internet marketing I have to have a daily plan of things to do with priority task first. then I do one task until it is completed. then on to next one until I get them done.
    I am not a clock watcher so I don’t set limits on how long it takes me to finish a task. I find that by going at a slower pace I make fewer mistakes therefore less time consuming. I like a lot of the things the other people had to say. I easily relate to a lot of them.

  13. I agree. Setting your goals and making a road map on how to get to where you are going is very important. It really is a journey and you do need to stop along the way to either get gas (food, rest or regroup) then start off again.
    It is important to start a list of what you have to do, and really look at what needs to be done first and what the priority of that is in relationship to the outcome of the end result and go from there. I really don’t know if there is a best, better or lesser…. it’s “Just getter dun”.
    Heather

  14. As I started my Bakery business from scratch after completing my apprenticeship including full time college and National service (2 years in the army) I had to be very good at time management.
    I developed my bakery to 2 main road shops 3 wholesale vans and a staff of 16. Wholesale deliveries had to be made on time and the shops had to open at 9am with fresh hot bread etc. I also did all my own book work which went to my accountant once a year for tax reasons. NOW when I retired at 64 and a half I decided to learn to use a computer and start an internet business with my teenage son.
    I now find time management a very big challenge as I am working from home without a separate room to work in, so my work place is my front room and my son has 5 sisters 4 older than him and 1 younger, 1 older and the one younger and himself living at home. The 3 that have left home live within about 10 minuets drive from home and still ask Dad what they should do etc. Have you tried to work with the telephone ringing very often with problems to be solved, the TV and radio on and your wife asking you to help her with time management.
    I will do it.

  15. Time manageent is a big issue for me because I go crazy sitting in front of a computer all day or doing one thing for too long. Also, mountain biking and exercise in general is a top priority for me, so I have to make sure I have time for that. I have started keeping track of how I spend every hour of the day to make sure I am focusing my efforts in the right places. I have 4 unrelated sources of income that I have to manage and market. Writing down a daily to-do list is essential, but the challenge for me is having a bigger to-do list of major tasks to accomplish over a long term. I can’t think that far ahead at this point or I start to stray all over the place. Any tips for me on how to make that part of my goal setting work better would be helpful. Thanks. Time’s up!

    1. Hey Cliff,

      How’s that daily to-do list coming? As you check off the small to-do’s are you seeing the big things come together?

      This article on performance vs. outcome goals may give you further insight on effective goal setting. Like anything worthwhile, it does take the small day to day things in order to see the big results. That’s why I’m glad you picked an industry you have a passion for and are committed to.

      Talk to you soon!

  16. Before setting goals, one has to ask what needs to be done. then in what order does it need to be done and what resources will be needed. And also, is one capable of doing it without outside assistance. Once these are answered, then one can set goals, objectives and things to do to advance other longer range needs and set appropriate goals and timetables.

    My own method for goal setting and time management in order to complete my goals — objectives — has consisted of a “to do” list broken up into four parts — 1.immediate, 2.within two weeks, 3.within a month and then 4.a list of things to do that have no time urgency but have long range commitment and must be done as I can get to them within that long range plan. and these are constantly being messaged from one list to another as other things that are related change.

    The worst thing a person can do is put every goal or objective or thing to do on an “immediate” list. There must be an immediate, a short term and middle-term and a long term. Otherwise, nothing gets done out of sheer frustration for lack of time to do everything an once.

    Focusing on one project or item to do at a time is a must. However, since I always need to keep several “balls in the air” simultaneously, in my business, I have to keep lists within lists by client. Many jobs cannot be done in one sitting for several reasons — awaiting a call-back, must receive another element before proceeding and other things that are not in my control. So I simple make attached notes as I go to each “goal” or “objective” I must complete for the overall job to be done.

    Prioritizing is not too difficult except for determining what importance and what deadlines you have for yourself. My clients have their own schedules for need, and that sets most of my priorities but t’s still necessary to maintain control of my time in service to them.

    This is difficult sometimes when several completely unplanned and unexpected things come up due to client needs. Then, I must make a decision about how soon I can reasonably fulfill the client’s “emergency” needs and still maintain my existing scheduled work for meeting existing objectives to which I’ve already committed with others.

    Occasionally, the apple cart upsets, and I find myself working long hours and even weeks without break to complete the work within its scheduled deadline. That’s just part of my business. And that’s why a person in business for themselves, should never be a clock watcher or think that they are entitled to work 9 to 5 or whatever hours, because it isn’t that simple. That’s employee thinking, not owner-manager thinking. One simply works ’till the work is done. . . on schedule.

    This is probably the most difficult single thing to deal with in management of my time. It can only be done by keeping lists as I’ve described. And it must be written down since no one can remember more than two or three things, no matter how smart one believes he/she is. Trying to remember everything and writing down only a few most important things rather than writing down everything, is a dangerous exercise in self-confidence that can lead to disaster.

  17. Good advice on setting goals and overcoming procrastination. I always keep a “to-do” list beside by keyboard and write down things as they occur to me. Later, I sort them by priority and try to set a reasonable number to get done the following day. Then I follow that ‘just do it’ advice.

    As far as procrastination, I keep my ‘STING’ program taped where I see it everyday. I’ve written it before, but for anyone who’s wondering: S=Select just one thing to do; T=Time yourself (I set a kitchen timer for about one hour, depending; I=Ignore everything else. This means phone calls, email, etc–basically everything but a fire in the kitchen; N=No breaks; and G=Give yourself a reward–but not until the timer goes off. Otherwise, that’s called a break!

    1. Hello Patsy,

      Great work on your success on eBay. I keep track of you on my favorite sellers list and you are selling Yarn like no one I’ve ever met! Congratulations. I look forward to hearing from you soon with updates on your ongoing progress.

      Nate

  18. All the comments and time managment ideas are great and I am going to take advantage of them to get myself organized. As a new eCommerce business owner all the suggestions are going to be very helpful in getting my goals set and my priorities worked out. Thank you everyone for all your great imput.

  19. The time management tips and comments are really great. I added a few to what I was doing and the results were immense. Now whenever I am doing anything I will ask myself if this will get me closer to my goal. If it’s not then I change what I am doing.
    I do best at doing the easier tasks first because it get me going and building momentum and I always get more done.
    Thanks for all the great commentand suggestions.

  20. What great advice. I go with Robert Allen on the DO YOUR FEARED THING FIRST then you always have plenty of time for the other stuff. Chunking your list into categories is also a good idea…..often if something is related even if it takes you to the same area you can save time by doing all those things in a row.

    As far as setting goals is concerned, always ask yourself WHY AM I DOING THIS? WHY DO I WANT TO DO THIS? because it is the WHY that will keep you going every time.

  21. Not always easy to accomplish, though Time Management is SO VERY IMPORTANT in getting things organized and done.
    Set your goals and follow the tips in the article.

  22. The last comment is great advice. I do something along the lines of TO DO and TO DO TODAY. Mine is, What have I accomplished today? I’m working on managing my time better. What a difficult task. Until pretty recent, I focused on the time I don’t have instead of the time I do have. What a big mistake.Since I’ve got into writing things down and being able to mark them off helps me see my progress.
    In my previous career as a helicopter mechanic, I wrote everything down. For me, having something visual helps alot. I would do the time consuming or difficult things first. I’ve had trouble transfering that technic over to my new career, but I’m improving. I do believe in small success leads to big success. Focusing on the time I do have and using it wisely is really improving my confidence and I’m accomplishing more.

  23. Time Management is at the heart of everyone’s success – has anyone tried to keep activity logs. If you don’t know what they are they are simply a list of everything you do during day and how you feel. You note periodically during the day how you feel alert, flat, tired, energetic, etc. and what activities you have done. Once you’ve done this you can see a couple of things: whether there are common times during the day when you aren’t at your best – which could be to do with diet; and you also have a list of every activity you have performed. The first time you use an activity log you may be shocked to see the amount of time that you waste!
    By analyzing your activity log you will be able to identify and eliminate time-wasting or low-yield jobs. You will also know the times of day at which you are most effective, so that you can carry out your most important tasks during these times.
    You may also be able to see low times during the day when a better nutritional balance could enable you to have a longer effective period in the day.

  24. I keep a Success Journal in which I mark the positive strides I have made thus far in my small business. I can look back on my entries– especially during frustrating times so I can see the huge progress I have made.
    My goals are written in a separate journal, where I can do a lot of expounding. I remind myself that life gets in the way sometimes. Therefore if I don’t make an important deadline, I may need to re-evaluate the goal (usually it’s attainability, as you mentioned). I also have to remember to take breaks from the computer to exercise, socialize, and do family things.
    Before I hit the hay at night I meditate and visualize myself as the powerful,
    competent businesswomen I am.

  25. Nate,
    For years I have had two files on my computer:

    TO DO and
    TO DO TODAY

    Your time management article reminded me that I have been slacking in reading and updating my lists.
    Thanks

    Bob

  26. Time Management is very important for our success. To accomplish our goals we must work them in time increments. Prioritize your original needs and allot your time to that task.

  27. Good post and some useful comments. When you have a vested interest in the enterprise it can be very tempting to work continuously but we are not robots. Take breaks if you can – short frequent (but not too frequent!) ones will help you keep momentum.

    Also, along with giving yourself deadlines try to do the most time consuming tasks first. You are more likely to meet those deadlines!

  28. I have to agree with the last comment, they’re all great commernts and this is the best time of the year to start turning your goals into a reality, the future is now

  29. In response to the post about doing the most difficult thing first, I would have to agree to disagree. I really think that if we do the most difficult thing first, it can quickly decrease our enthusiasm and motivation. By doing the simple things first, we gain momentum and confidence, and we’re able to measure our progress much easier. As I frequently tell clients: “Small success leads to big success!” Thanks for the good comments. More are welcome.

  30. I think the biggest struggles any internet business owner has is time budgeting. I usually make it a point to teach people how to spend their time most effectively when it comes to SEO. Its not just doing one thing that will make you successful, it is doing ALL of them consistently, and that is what most small internet business owners (first timers) have a hard time of grasping.

  31. In my experience procrastination can really hinder us in our ability to manage our time. It seems that the farther in the future something is…the smaller the tasks appears. As the deadline approaches it suddenly becomes a hassle to deal with and we end up struggling to get things done on time.

    I like your instructions because if we plan it out in the beginning and track our progress and manage our time right, that project or task remains as something manageable and never turns into something that we struggle to complete.

    Good advice!

  32. Time management is something that I’m continuing to work on. With the number of businesses that I’m working on as well as non-profit work its a constant struggle to keep my head above water.

    Making lists, writing down goals and “todo” items is the ONLY way I ever survive. Good post.

  33. I like how you mention as the number one thing to write down the goals first then act upon those goals. I feel if you don’t write down what you need to then it can become difficult or you are not as motivated to do them.

  34. My advice is to do the most difficult tasks first. Once they’re out of the way, the rest is easier…and you’re less likely to procrastinate the easy stuff.

  35. I agree, this is really important. When I realized that procrastination couldn’t be a career, it was a sad day. But, seriously, a lot of people have these great plans of what they want to accomplish, but they never get close because they spend their whole life dreaming and not accomplishing the dream. You really need to make a step by step plan, with a timeline, and sit down and do it. Noone ever became successful via procrastination.

  36. It doesn’t matter how skilled or knowledgeable you are, if you can’t manage your time you will fail. I increased my effectiveness over 50% when I started using a day timer planner. Less things dropped through the cracks, and my follow up was much better.
    I have a weekly planner and a daily planner page. I plan the week and then each evening I plan the up coming day. I plan business and personal things I need to do. Get control of your time, don’t let time, or others control you.
    Bill