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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, 2018

How to Find a Suitable Professional Mentor

How to Find a Suitable Professional Mentor

I went through a personal experience that acted as a catalyst for an epiphany. When I got fired from a job, I learned something important about myself and where I was headed with my freelance career. I realized that the most important aspect of that one rather small job was the influence of the company owner. I realized that I wasn’t hurt that the company and I weren’t a perfect match; I was devastated by the stark fact that I needed a mentor and I had almost found one but lost her.

Suddenly, I felt like J.D., the main character in “Scrubs,” chasing Dr. Cox and trying to rip insight and wisdom from someone I respect. The realization that a recognized thought-leader and experienced entrepreneur severed ties with me felt crushing. But, I picked myself back up and thought about five ways to acquire a mentor without having the awkwardness of outright asking.

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1. Remember, a professional mentorship must be mutual.

A professional mentor must agree to engage in a mutual relationship because, as the comedy T.V. series showed us, one simply cannot force someone to tutor us. We have to prove that we are worth the time investment through persistence and dedication to the craft.

2. You have to have common interests with your mentor.

Even if a professional mentor appears at your job or school, realize that unless you and this person have common interests, you won’t find the relationship successful. I’ve been in situations where someone I respected had vastly different ideas about what was important in life or what one should spend his or her free time doing. If these things don’t line up, you may find the relationship won’t be as fruitful, even when the mentor knows a great deal about one industry.

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3. Thought-leaders will respect your passion.

One of the ways you can prove yourself worthy to a professional mentor is through your passion and your dedication. No one wants to spend time grooming and teaching another who will not take advice or put the effort in to improve. When following thought-leaders on Twitter and trying to engage with higher-ups in a work setting, realize that your actions most often speak louder than your words.

4. Before worrying if he respects you, ask if you respect him.

On the other side of the coin, you should seriously reflect on those common interests and make sure you respect your professional mentor. Just because someone holds a title, degree or office does not mean that person is trustworthy or honest. Don’t be swayed by appearances and take the time to find a suitable professional mentor.

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5. Failure is often the best way to learn

I honestly have made more mistakes than I can count. I know I’ve learned a great deal from poorly organized businesses and my own poor choices. The most important quality I’ve developed is an ability to swallow my pride and learn from my mistakes. If life knocks me down nine times, I get back up 10 times. One of the songs Megadeth wrote, “Of Mice and Men,” resonates in my mind when I pull myself up by my bootstraps and try again for a goal I’ve set: “So live your life and live it well. There’s not much left of me to tell. I just got back up each time I fell.” Hopefully, this brief post can act as a professional mentor to you in your quest to find not only a brave leader but also a trusted adviser.

Featured photo credit: morguefile via mrg.bz

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