By Roy Thomsitt
In this series of articles so far, I have argued the need to
use management practices even if you have your own home based
online business. The discipline imposed on yourself will
eventually make the business stronger and more profitable. I
have touched upon the need for good financial and marketing
management in the last two articles, and will now discuss
another area of management that affects all others: Time
To anybody working in an office or factory, time management
well be something they hope to escape from by having their own
business. A highly pressured executive may well feel the same.
They could work at home, where they’re the boss, and they
decide what to do and when. They could watch tv when they
sit up in bed with their laptops, or without, and numerous
symbols of freedom from being an employee.
Of course, these things are all possible when you work from
home. Of all types of home business, though, working online is
probably the most difficult to manage from a time point of
view. Perhaps difficult is the wrong word. It’s actually easy.
What is difficult is the high level of potential online
distraction and having to resist it. Add the online
distractions to those around you at home, and you have the
ingredients for an awful lot of wasted time.
What Are All These Distractions?
There are many potential distractions online. Millions of them
when you consider there are millions of websites, and millions
of advertisements advertising those websites in often
exaggerated, but tempting, ways. If you are trying to get
traffic to your own website by surfing for advertising
you are particularly vulnerable to distraction, as you may
a large part of your day being bombarded by advertising. Once
you are drawn off into one tempting website, it can lead to
others, then others and so on.
The same can be true of your email inbox. You may be signed up
to various newsletters and ezines, you may be spammed, you may
belong to safelists that require you to receive the owner’s
emails. All or some may cause a distraction from your day’s
business activity. You may reach the end of the day and
suddenly realize: “Hey, I’ve achieved nothing today.” That can
be a demoralizing feeling.
Offline there are many distractions too: you may have children
around, your partner may want your company, you may want to
laze in the garden as the sun’s come out for the first time in
days. There are endless possibilities, depending on your own
circumstances, interests and weaknesses. You need to be very
much aware of what your own distractions are, and then manage
them according to your business, domestic and personal
How Do You Manage Your Time?
However you manage your time, the first part of the process
should be to:
• Decide what the essential elements are for developing and
growing your business, steadily and profitably.
• Consider your domestic and personal situation. Now you have
your own home business, you have a chance to build into your
daily routine activities that will enhance your own happiness
and that of your family. This is a great opportunity. Make the
most of it.
• Take some quiet time and reflect on the first two items. Let
them meld together in your mind and visualize how they can be
brought together to make your perfect day/s.
Whatever the outcome of the above three steps, the result is
not set in stone. You can change and adapt according to
experience, but for now use this as an exercise in getting
a time management frame of mind.
Now that you know what you need to focus on, start to put a
of pressure on yourself. Not major pressure; that would be
counter productive. Start to structure your future, whether
day, one month or one year. Set yourself achievable targets
day, week and month; a list of tasks that you need to do to
your business and you to grow. I use a good old fashioned
just to get my eyes away from the screen a while, at the
beginning and end of the day, and at intervals as each task is
completed. Here are a few tips that I try to stick to:
• Set out a series of tasks to do each day. Make sure they are
• If you have any regular daily, weekly or monthly tasks (you
should have), build them into your diary in advance so they do
not get forgotten. For example, I do a daily Blog. That’s
in my diary every day of the week. You will need time set
to consider finances. Put it in your diary in advance.
• If you have a long task to do, split it over a few days,
rather than spend a whole day on the same thing. If it can be
split into sub-tasks, all the better. For example, if you’re
building a website, you may be able to split it into content
headings or pages. Give yourself an achievable amount to do
each day, allowing time for other things.
• Try to include one task per day that involves you increasing
your knowledge and expertise. For example, if you have a new
instructive ebook to read, set aside some time each day for it
until finished. When finished, note in your diary to check on
your implementation of suggestions you want to adopt. The same
goes for new software and other new technology. A steady build
up of knowledge can be planned for just by putting these
in your diary and sticking to the plan. Trying to master
something new all in one go may cause unnecessary frustration
• If you really must surf for advertising credits, do that as
your last set task of the day, otherwise you may not achieve
much as you would have.
• If there’s something you can do away from the computer
screen, try to plan for it. For example, if you need to plan
website content or write an article, you will benefit from at
least thinking of the main points by relaxing. If it’s warm,
sit in the garden, somewhere to give you a break from the
• If you think you will benefit from so doing, use the same
diary to schedule in domestic activities too. Don’t forget,
this is your home business. The home and your family are part
of it. If you want to take the children to the beach after
school, schedule it in. You can do that and still achieve
something for your business that day.
• If you find that a task cannot be completed, or its priority
should be lessened, don’t try to force yourself to do it the
day first scheduled. Reschedule it for another day.
Time management is a very personal thing, especially when you
have your own business at home. I am sure you can adopt your
own techniques that suit you best. The most important thing to
remember, though, is that time needs to be managed. If you’re
alone in the business, time is a major limiting factor. It is
important you make the most of your time, and for your own
morale, to end each working day feeling you’ve achieved
About The Author: Roy Thomsitt is the owner of the home
business websites www.change-direction.com and