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5 Time Management Techniques to Run a Successful Side Business

5 Time Management Techniques to Run a Successful Side Business

Running a business is hard, and running a business on the side is even harder. While you handle your normal duties which take up most of your day, you have limited time to handle what most people take care of on a full-time basis.

But while you may think that you are busy each and every moment of your day, you are probably wasting time which could be spent more productively. A survey of employees found that over 60 percent of workers admitted wasting at least one hour every day – and that’s just the amount of time they know about. Even a dedicated worker like yourself can waste time in ways which you would never think about.

Here are a few tips for how you can spend your time more effectively and ensure that every second is used to build your side business. Never forget that time is money.

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1. Too little is better than too much

You should know that it is important to craft a schedule in advance which details how you plan to spend your day. But all too often, people craft their schedule by stating that they will focus on this one particular task for an hour, then immediately snap to another task for another hour and so on.

This is a bad approach to take. The problem is that if you end up going over schedule with your first task, then you will have less time with your second. This puts pressure on you both for finishing the first task quickly and rushing the second task when you have limited time.

Instead, place a period of “white noise” in between your tasks. This buffer zone will give you more flexibility in your schedule and a time period to handle less important tasks.

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2. Ignore your e-mail and phone

One of those less important tasks is handling your e-mail and answering phone calls. How often have you been in a “working” groove, only for it to be broken up by a phone call which you have to handle for the next 15 minutes? Distractions like these end up breaking up that groove and make it harder to get back to work.

Unless you get a truly critical phone call, don’t answer it when you are working. During a “white noise” period, you can take a moment to return any calls or answer any e-mails which are important. But don’t let your phone and e-mail dictate when and how you work. Remember that there are successful individuals even today who don’t use e-mail at all.

3. Do not multi-task

You may be that superhuman genius who can handle five tasks at the same and do them all efficiently, but I doubt it. In fact, multitasking can even affect your IQ as you feel like you’ve accomplished a whole lot with a bunch of small tasks even though you have done nothing.

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So focus on one thing at a time, and don’t stop until it is complete. When that is finished, then move to the next task. If you only have the time for a few major tasks while you handle your other duties, that will be better than completing many unimportant duties.

4. Something is better than nothing

Sometimes you are just really busy with your other duties and have only a half hour of spare time. You may think that there is no point in working on your side business with so little time.

But many strokes, though with a small ax, can fell even the hardest oak. This is one of the keys to generating a residual income—those small periods of time add up over the months and years a. At a bare minimum, you can take care of relatively unimportant tasks during those moments to ensure that you can handle bigger tasks for when you have the time. Never think that there is a moment so small that you can’t do something to help your side business.

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5. Review what you have accomplished

If you have a bad history of wasting time, this step is probably the most important one of all. It is very easy to feel like you have been busy the entire day, only to realize later that you have done nothing. This scenario is dangerous because it can take a while to realize just how unproductive you have been, and thus you can fall into this trap for days or even weeks.

To avoid this, take a moment at the end of every day to review what you have done, where you may not have been productive, and what you need to get done tomorrow. I like to do this as the final thing before I go to bed, but the important thing is to understand where you can improve.

Take care NOT to use these review sessions to beat yourself up for your mistakes. Frame your accomplishments positively, and just acknowledge what you can do better.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

“When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

4. Use Your Phone Wisely

Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

6. Use a “To Don’t” List

We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

8. Be Concise

Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

  • Making new contacts
  • Talking about yourself at a job interview
  • Meeting people at conferences or parties
  • Phone calls to new clients

9. Ask the Right Questions

“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

10. Learn as Much as You Can

You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

The Bottom Line

The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

More About Working Smart

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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