Friday, March 16, 2007

Time Management: An Illusive But Essential Tool

Working at home to earn some extra income is a blessing for most, but for
some it can become a nightmare in very little time.

It is far too easy when you are working at home, to allow outside influences (dinner, laundry, kids) to infringe upon potential earning time. While you don't have to travel to get to the workplace, it is essential that you schedule structured time for work, rather than working when the mood hits ... trust me, the mood won't hit when you need it to.

Let's face it, if you are not on top of your schedule, and using some of the management tools available to us, you might quite possibly find yourself at the end of the day with precious little to show and huge deadlines looming.

Miss a few deadlines, and the odds are that you will lose that wonderful business opportunity that allows you to earn extra income while working at home.

Time management tools are greatly varied, depending on your needs and habits. It is possible to create a plan that works well for you (but won't work for someone else.) We are all individuals with different habits and needs. For example, I dedicate time in the morning to writing. It is when I am the most creative.

To this end, quite possibly the most important technique that will help you to remain focused while earning the extra income is to set an objective for each day that you have work to do at
home. Define your goal for the, identify which projects need to be completed and how you need to pace yourself to see them through to completion. The easiest way to achieve this is simply by breaking down your project into its varied components, assigning time values to them and then meeting these deadlines one at a time. The small sense of accomplishment you will feel when you achieve one or more of the deadlines will go a long ways to ensuring that you do not suffer from burnout or other frustrations which will take the joy out of earning extra income.

Do not, create a huge list of every to do you have. This will do nothing but make you feel overwhelmed. Instead, identify one or two priorities per day and do nothing else until they are complete. Then move on to the less important items on the list. The next morning, revisit the list and assign a new priority. It is easy to get distracted by emails or phone calls. Don't let them. Focus on the priority then work through the niggling other requests on your time.

One of the most overlooked time management tools for those working earning income is the schedule and calendar. It is not enough to simply block out a period time that you will use to work, but you will need to augment this block with reminders, as well as frequent breaks. No one can keep working to earn extra income when they are burning out. You were likely seeking extra money by working at two jobs, not headaches and frustration with no rewards. Take a few rewards, an afternoon walk, an evening out. Whatever reward fits your circumstance.

Adding frequent breaks also gives you time to you to interact with friends and family who will not mind the extra income you are earning as long as it does not interfere with your ability to also spend time with them. In the long run, this form of scheduling will benefit you as much as it benefits them.

As a final note, working from home or taking on an additional home based business to earn extra money is a great way to set the path towards a more profitable financial future but you need to treat it like a job and a business. Time management is one of the most overlooked aspects of business but it is one you can't ignore.

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