As someone who assists companies in learning how they can create real revenue and drive more business through their Facebook pages, I can tell business leaders from firsthand experience that it seemed, at times, like there were not enough hours in the day to get everything done. That being the case, I had to review my daily schedule and find a way to get more done in less time. And yes, it can be done.
Making it work
Let me start off by saying that I do the bulk of my business from home.
Given the recent stream of layoffs and people considering changing careers, it’s not surprising to find out that more and more people are not getting up, dressing, and driving or walking to their offices. While the workplace model is still the norm, more people are finding that work and home can very well be one and the same.
The technology and market research company is forecasting that the number of individuals who work remotely will nearly double – to about 63 million people – by the year 2016.
One of the biggest tricks to successfully working from home is staying disciplined.
Without one’s employees to remind him of all that needs to get done, it can be very easy for today’s home-office CEO to slip into a mode where he gets a little work done, takes a break, then gets some more work done, which is promptly followed by an even longer break. Next thing he knows, he is behind schedule, and his clients are none too pleased.
Location, location, location
I normally advise those looking to start and run a home business to carve out an office space that is quiet, a space where they feel they can be most productive.
Whether that space is in an extra bedroom, the garage, or a rented local office space, you must find a place where concentration will not be an issue. Having said that, make sure the space has a door. In my first apartment after getting married, I didn’t have a door to my office. My office was more a large room, and it couldn’t be closed off from the rest of my home. Working in an open space, I noticed I had a lot of interruptions, whether it was the T.V., my wife, or my dog.
I quickly realized that arrangement was not going to work. When my wife and I moved, I immediately set up a closed space where I could concentrate on work. With my office setting as I wanted it, the next task was trying to do more with less – in this case, time.
Any business owner, or anyone for that matter, should focus on trying to be the most productive in the shortest amount of time. One of the most enlightening discoveries for me was Parkinson’s Law; the idea that tasks fill up the time allotted spoke to me.
The more I studied his law, the more it proved true in my own life, because I gave myself more time than I needed to complete certain tasks. The less time I gave myself to complete certain tasks, the more I found myself getting done in shorter periods of time.
We all operate on different schedules, so what necessarily works for one may not work for another. That being said, I focus on two tasks at hand to get the most production out of my workday.
First, I look at each project at hand and determine if someone else can do that task for me. Most times, when I have someone else who can help with a task, it’s because he has more available time, which is why it makes sense to delegate that task. The more you can delegate, the better. Learn to let go of the tasks that other qualified individuals can do in your place.
Plan ahead for success
Secondly, I plan out my time for the next workday the evening before. I find planning out the three biggest tasks, in order for my company to make money, is crucial the day before, not that day or a day later. By doing this, I focus in on what needs to be done while tuning out distractions.
As part of my focus when I first began working for myself, I had to look at what I figured the most productive hours of the day would be.
Like many people, I had a dream of waking up every morning with my wife and taking my time by having breakfast or a cup of coffee, instead of rushing off to work. Because I’m not limited to a 9-to-5 schedule, I can set my own hours and work when I am most productive.
For me, I discovered I was most productive early in the morning or late at night.
Knowing this allows me to use the middle of the day to relax, spend time with my wife, run errands, or brainstorm about projects that are happening within my business. As just about any business owner can tell you, there is always another project waiting around the turn to be completed.
If you find the right environment to conduct your work, plan things out ahead of time, and focus in on when you are most productive, you are certainly capable of making success a central theme of your business. Remember, it all comes down to minimal hours, maximum productivity.