In my mini series of blog posting about how to improve your business operations I wrote about using a journal to keep track of business issues and how it could help your business. Keeping a journal is a great way to keep track of certain business events. Another important piece is time management. It is too easy to goof off and drift away from doing work to ignore this issue. This is even more important if you are (still) operating your business as a part-time business (like I am (at the time of this writing at least)). I usually start working for myself when the day winds down and most people rather sit on the couch and watch TV or so. My day starts at shortly after 5 AM and I usually go to bed between 11.30 PM and midnight. I do spend 20-30 minutes in the morning to check email and to take of emergencies that happened over night and cannot wait (does not happen often, but …). I check and respond to email during lunch time or when I get home from work. Then I do the family thing and spend time with my wife and my son. I start working for myself after 8 PM. A good cup of instant coffee refreshes me wakes me up again and keeps the engine running. Still those hours until I go to bed wind down fast and so the first 90 minutes of my evening work are the ones where I am most productive.
To use my most productive time best I need to be organized. If I would not be organized up to a certain degree, I would waste a lot time and the business would suffer. During the day I usually plan out what I want to work on at night. Anything that comes to my mind makes it onto my list and I sort it out and shuffle it around until I got the priorities in the right order. Not everything I think off will be worked on, but the critical stuff always gets taken care off. Some things are pushed all the way back to the least productive hours. That usually includes reading SEO or PPC related blogs or to visit some forums. You get the idea.
An important tool for me is Microsoft Outlook. I use the calendaring function A LOT. I set recurring reminders whenever I identify a task that I need to look at more than once. Another thing I do is to send myself emails with reminders, links, notes – pretty much anything I need to look at or want to explore further. I also make it a habit not to hit the “snooze” button in Outlook to remind me later. I’d rather have it pop up and remind me more frequently. Overall I think I am doing pretty Ok in keeping myself under control to get most out of my available time. I know this is a long posting for something rather small, but it might give you an insight in how other people work. Maybe you have a better approach? Please share. I am always open for new ideas.