Effective Time Management

I spent the early years of my working life in a public accountancy practice where I followed the discipline of completing “time sheets”. If you are not familiar with time sheets, basically they are a daily record of how you spend your time – what sort of work you are doing and for which  clients.  The reason for them is simply to keep track of the time which will be charged to each client.

This was a discipline that I followed for many years. Most Accounting firms have policies on how many “chargeable hours” you must have in a day. Of course if you are talking to your friend or wasting time there is a gap in your time sheets and you soon learn to make sure there are “enough” chargeable hours. In those days I was always aware of how I spent my time – and if it was chargeable! Generally speaking I knew how to be very productive. I knew how to trade my time for money.

You would think  this  would be a skill that  would carry over to future careers. For me, this was sadly is not the case. When I moved into various marketing and sales roles I did not have the same discipline with my time.

It was many years later during a study course I completed with Dr Fred Grosse that I was reintroduced to the concept of tracking the working day. Dr Fred referred to the discipline as keeping track of your “Dollar Productive Activity”.  I once again commenced the ritual of keeping a log of my time and breaking it into  activities made money – and those that did not.

This time around it was not as clear cut for me as in an accountancy practice. There the activities had been clearly chargeable or not. Now my role included all sorts of marketing, PR, travelling, networking – I had to be very honest with myself as to what was “dollar productive”.

Even more scary was what we found when we had our staff complete the time logs.  The internet and email have added to the activities that can distract us all.

Today working in a home based business on my computer for much of the day makes it very easy to lose hours reading and replying to emails. And Social Media – how much time do we spend on Facebook and twitter a day – and is it productive?

I am going to start tracking my time again. I encourage you to do the same for at least 2 weeks . You may be shocked by the results. Please leave me your feedback.

9 thoughts on “Effective Time Management

  1. Justine Simard

    Hi Sue,

    Great post! I agree, time management is so important for online business owners. While we experience more flexibility, it is easy to get caught up in various activities, and to forget to measure how productive and profitable these activities are. As an entrepreneur, I believe that the most powerful daily schedule includes income-producing activities, but also some time allocated to personal development, physical exercise, meditation or visualisation, and masterminding or leadership activities.

    I must say, I’ve never been great at keeping a strict tally or following a precise schedule (maybe because I work around my 2 young children), but I make sure that I include those elements every day!

    Justine Simard recently posted..Between Asking and Receiving – You- and the Power of Inspired ActionMy Profile

    1. Sue Post author

      Hi Justine,

      You have a very valid point in saying while we experience more flexibility it is easy to get caught up in various activities etc.

      Having two young children makes being too rigid with a schedule pretty much impossible. It sounds like you manage to fit in all the important activities into your day so you obviously have a method that works! Well done as that is not easy. How wonderful are these times though that you can work at home with young children.

      Have a great day

  2. Ashley Porter

    I totally agree Sue. Time is one of those things we can never get back, goes so quickly, and can easily be wasted. Most of us have to learn to manage it properly in order to be effective in home business.
    Such an important point!

    1. Sue Post author

      Thanks for your comment Ashley. I personally have found it more difficult to be on top of managing my time since I have worked from home. I am working on it!
      Have a great day.

  3. Pingback: Home Business Tips – Dollar Productive Activity

  4. Adam Robinson

    I faced the same problems before, Sue. I know how difficult it is some times. But I found that making a list of my priorities and arranging it by importance can be very effective. Just need to be dedicated to making it work. You can do it, Sue! Good luck.

    1. Sue Post author

      Adam thanks for your comment and encouragement. I had such good time management skills in my offline businesses and cannot believe how I did not bring them with me online 🙂

      I am getting much better.

      Have a great weekend.