A Young Entrepreneuer's Quest
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9 Time Management Techniques to Boost Your Productivity

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by Patrick Toerner on April 26, 2010

This is a guest post by Tom Walker from CatridgeSave.co.uk.  See how you can guest post on OneMillionBy30 here.

It’s often easy when you get into your work session to lose yourself in your subject matter, especially if you are doing work that is meaningful or interesting to you. This can make your work more enjoyable, but it is also an easy way to decrease your productivity and make your work session counterproductive. You may be churning and burning, but are you making the most of your time?

So what time management techniques can you use to make your work sessions more productive? Sure, you’ve probably read that it’s important to reduce outside distractions, find a quiet place to work, and similar common sense steps to make the most of your work time. But what else can you do? Well, here are a few time management techniques you may not yet have considered that could help you push your productivity higher.

  1. Choose Productive Times to Work: You probably have times when you work better and more productively than others. This may be first thing in the morning, mid-afternoon or after everyone has gone to sleep. By knowing and utilizing these periods of energy and inspiration, you can work toward higher productivity.
  2. A Little Prep Time: Taking a couple of minutes to get yourself and your workspace organized before you being your work could end up saving you time. Making sure things are in order, you have what you need to work efficiently, and that you have a game plan, can keep you from having to backtrack or go searching for office and work supplies later.
  3. Structured Work Time: You may want to set a timeframe for your work session before you begin. Setting limits and going in with an idea of how long you plan to work can help keep you on track and increase productivity.
  4. Make Use of a Workspace: While a workspace doesn’t have to be a full-fledged office, having an area that is set aside just for work can help you stay organized and productive. This area may just be a desk area or table, but it is important that it contains the elements that are conducive to your work and being productive (i.e. a computer, printer, phone, fax, extra printer cartridges, notepads, pens, pencils, erasers, paper, or similar items).
  5. Time Yourself: Keeping a watchful eye on the clock can be a great way to increase your productivity and keep yourself from losing track of time. Timing yourself can also be a good way to track how long you work as well as determine periods in which you are most productive.
  6. Keep a Log: By keeping a log of times and hours worked and maybe even your correlating revenues, you could determine an hourly rate by which to gauge your productivity.
  7. Set Productivity Standards and Goals: Once you have a general idea of your average productivity, you may choose to begin setting standards and goals. This can become almost a game as you aim for increased productivity and beating previous records. If nothing else, it can give you an idea of whether you are making progress in your work and which work provides the best return on your time investment.
  8. Job Selection: While at times it can be hard for a freelancer to turn away work, sometimes it may be necessary. Some jobs just don’t provide the return on investment needed when it comes to your time commitment. You probably don’t want to make turning down work a habit, otherwise you risk offending clients or turning them on to other providers, but knowing your strengths and being selective about your jobs can often help increase your productivity.
  9. Lists: Daily, weekly, monthly or all of the above, when it comes to staying productive and on task, to-do lists may be the way to go. Not only can having lists keep you more productive by helping you to not forget certain tasks, but they can also help you prioritize your most important tasks.
  10. Consider Outsourcing: Depending on the size and success of your business, it might be worth considering outsourcing some of your work. Outsourcing can be a good way to increase your productivity if you can afford it, find reliable labor, and make it cost-effective.

The aforementioned tips may or may not work for you and your particular work style. People vary greatly when it comes to what makes them more productive. Probably the most important aspects of increasing your productivity are recognizing your personal strengths and weaknesses and focusing on the productivity enhancing techniques that work best for you.

This post was written by Tom Walker, a UK based writer who works for a specialist store offering ink next day. He runs their blog about design, art and advertising.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Steve@Building Insurance April 26, 2010 at 3:56 am

I agree with what you have said here and would say that points 1,9 & 10 are the most pertinent, to me at least. I personally work best in the late evening just before I go to sleep (though this can lead me to sleep badly with all the stuff going on in my head).

I make lists like there is no tomorrow and more often than not I get through those lists quite quickly. My tip would be to not make the lists as long as your arm but rather to concentrate on 3 or 4 things that you want to accomplish over the next few days, then once those are completed move on to the next few tasks.

And finally, outsourcing has it pros and cons like anything else, the biggest of which I find is the task of quality control. Thisis especially the case if you have people building backlinks for you as these can make or break your site and if they are not doing it right then you put all your hard work at risk.

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2 Patrick Toerner April 26, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Your last point is way too understated. At least 5 of my sites have been thrown in the sandbox because of incorrect link building methods. (Some by me, some by seo companies) Outsourcing works, if you know why you need them, and if they are fully capable or not.

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3 Richard Scott April 26, 2010 at 5:40 pm

I’m bad at Time Management, but I get things done. I’m always prioritizing things in my head and keeping track of what needs to be done now, what can wait and what can be put on hold. I’m good at working under deadlines and have never missed one yet. Sometimes I do make a list to keep me on track, but that’s rare. I just know what I have to do. I’ve got a good memory.

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4 Patrick Toerner April 26, 2010 at 6:55 pm

I am generally the same, but when on the off chance I decide to not be lazy and make a list, I notice an increase in my productivity. But as Tom states in number 5, I almost always time my activities. You should try that one out if you haven’t already. Set a deadline for your activity, say 25 min to write a new article, or 7 minutes to make the picture for it. That was a big one for me.

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5 Julius Kuhn-Regnier April 28, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Great points here. I agree with most of them. I feel that writing down the things that I want to do makes me much more productive.

Btw. I have my mini site up and running. At the moment I am using Google adwords to drive some traffic to my site will see whether it works ;)

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6 Steve Scott Site May 16, 2010 at 8:54 am

Keeping an eye on the clock is an important time management trick that most people tend to forget about — myself included. Only recently did I discover how much time I waste online when all I wanted to do in the first place was check my e-mail or look at sports scores. I’ve started using an online timer when I’m sitting at my computer, and it really does help! Keeping a log of hours worked can help improve your rate of completion, too. If you find that you’re able to finish certain things in an hour, aim to finish in fifty minutes next time around.
.-= Steve Scott Site´s last blog ..4 Signs of Bad Time Management =-.

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