Home Business - 9 to 5 Tug of War
By Elena Fawkner
Friday, November 19, 2003; 12:00pm EST
Perhaps the scarcest commodity the new home business owner just
starting out has is time. This is particularly so if you are also
working a traditional, full-time job and building up your home based business "on
the side" in your spare time.
This is a situation I am all too familiar with. I still work a
full-time 8:30 - 5:00 job while building my own internet-based
business in my spare time. So how do you go about burning the candle
at both ends without burning yourself out in the process?
First off, let's think about priorities. Working a full-time job while
developing a business requires stamina and endurance if other areas of
your life are not to be neglected. This means being fit and healthy.
Make time to exercise at least three times a week. Four or five is
better. I know how hard it can be to commit an hour to working out
when you've got an endless (and I mean ENDLESS!) list of things you
need to be doing NOW for your business. But make the time. It pays BIG
dividends in terms of stamina and endurance. For me, this means
getting up at 4:00 am on workout days. If that's what it takes for
you, do it!
Second, eat right. Don't just grab a McBurger on the way home from
work and scoff it down as you're driving. Take the time to cook a
proper meal and relax for a half hour or an hour before getting down
to business. This gives you a break and time to unwind from the
pressures of the day, making you much more productive when you do get
down to work. Eating proper meals will keep you in good health and,
coupled with a regular exercise routine, will help keep your energy
OK, so you're physically in shape and taking care of yourself. The
next major thing to think about is time management. Every weekend,
before the working week starts, prepare a business plan for the coming
week. This is nothing more complicated that writing down the various
business-related activities you must do over the course of the coming
week and then scheduling them according to how much time you know you
are going to have on a particular day. By planning out your time this
way, you can schedule your business activities alongside your other
activities. Take care of as many of them as you can through the course
of the day. Whether you are able to do this depends on the nature of
your 9 to 5 job but if you have even a little autonomy you should be
able to squeeze out a little time here and there. Not huge chunks,
just 10 minutes here and there.
The nature of your job may mean you don't have the luxury of that sort
of autonomy. If this is you, then there's nothing for it but to free
up time before and after work. This may mean getting up an hour
earlier every day, for example. Whatever your personal situation, by
planning ahead you will at least have the peace of mind of knowing
that time has been allocated to all important business-related tasks.
By eliminating the "scatter gun" approach you will find that the
limited time you do have will be much more productive.
There are going to be some activities that you have to do day in, day
out. Decide what time of the day is best for you to attend to these
routine tasks. The more you can integrate business activities into
your daily routine the more efficient will be your use of time. Let's
take email, for example. Anyone running an online business has to deal
with email on a daily basis. I use the time between when I get up in
the morning and when I start my workout for this. It gives me time to
wake up before I launch into physical activity and it is a relatively
undemanding task that does not require precision concentration.
Make use of auto responders for as much of your email processing as
possible. This will further reduce the amount of time you have to
spend on this aspect of your business.
Other routine activities include things like site promotion and search
engine position monitoring. Now there are a lot of great tools to help
webmasters with this part of their business. For example, WebPosition
Gold will automatically review your position in all the major search
engines and report back to you with the results. It can also be
programmed to auto-submit at appropriate intervals. Be sure to use
quality automated tools wherever possible. They can save you literally
hours of work every week and as we all know, time is money in this
Keep a journal for a week. Record in it everything you do during the
day from the moment you get up in the morning to the moment you go to
bed. What activities can you eliminate in favor of freeing up some
time for your business? Maybe it means getting up an hour earlier.
Maybe it's forgoing the sleep-in on the weekend. Maybe it means giving
up those two hours of TV every night. You will find even 15-20 minutes
blocks here and there can add up to a sizeable chunk of time over a
week or a month.
If you travel, keep a copy of your website on your laptop and work on
it while you're in the air or waiting for a flight. Or answer your
email ready to send it when you get plugged in again.
As you can see, the trick is to practice the "nibble" technique. If
you wait until you have a great chunk of time in one block, such as
the weekend, you'll only waste all of those little bits of time you
could have put to good use during the week and fritter away your
"quality" time on routine tasks rather than business development.
One final piece of advice. Take time every week to just relax and do
something you want to do. Although the pressures of a new business are
demanding, failing to take time out will only lead to burn out.
Source of Article
Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online...
practical home business ideas for the work-from-home entrepreneur.