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|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 levels high.
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
By eliminating the "scatter gun" approach you
will find that the limited time you do have will be much
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 business.
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.