Time management is essential for any working individual, but it is especially important to the self-employed.  Direct sellers and small business owners are constantly performing multiple jobs in a single day, so there are many opportunities to get sidetracked, lose focus, and ultimately waste precious time.  Read on for a simple step-by-step guide on how to maximize your time as efficiently as possible.

  1. Pinpoint what tasks are most imperative.  Thinking about what you do in any given day, decide which of those things directly contribute to the growth and money-making aspects of your business.  When time is tight, these are the tasks that should take precedence over any others.
  2. Rid your day of at least one time-waster or distraction.  Although we all deserve a break throughout the course of the day, we often allow for too many detractors which can easily add up to an hour or more.  After you’ve identified your most important tasks, do the same with your least important ones, such as updating your personal Facebook page or checking the score of the big game.  Commit yourself to avoiding such diversions while you get your time management under control.
  3. Put in place time limits for your tasks.  Now that you’ve weeded out the unnecessary and know exactly what you should be working on, give yourself a certain amount of time to complete these duties.  If you know you only have an hour, for instance, to create a rough draft of that new promotional poster, you will work much more efficiently toward your goal than you would if you were going back and forth between the poster and other activities.
  4. Make use of time management tools.  There is a plethora of software and internet-based organizational programs at your disposal, and much of it is free.  For example, Google Calendar is a very effective way to map out your day, week, and month.  It also offers useful features such as event reminders, scheduling across time zones, and automatic synching to your Microsoft Outlook calendar.  Find one that works for your business and tailor it to your needs.
  5. Don’t try to work for too long in one sitting.  Our brains can only focus for no longer than 60-90 minutes at a time.  Plan on taking a quick break to go outside for some fresh air, listen to a song on your iPod, or have a healthy snack.  Even 5-10 minutes away from your work every hour and a half or so will increase your energy and long-term focus throughout the day.
  6. Get enough rest.  This seems like a no-brainer, but most of us simply don’t get enough sleep.  When you are sufficiently rested, you can actually get more accomplished in less time than it would take if you were tired all day long.  Not only that, the work you do will be of higher quality because you will be working at optimum capacity. 

Remember, no matter what you do, there will only ever be 24 hours in a day.  You can’t create more hours, but you can manage yourself to get the most productivity out of each valuable minute.  Please share your own time management tips in the comments section below!

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