Time Management Tips

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERACan you, in your imagination, take a time travel pill and go back in time to consider Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg when they were starting up their “small” – at that time – businesses?

What do you, as a small business person, have in common with them, when they were starting up their new ventures?

With the title of the post, it won't take a genius to guess that YOU have the same number of hours available in the day as THEY did. And look what they managed to achieve with their 24 hours in the day.

Now, I hear you shout “But, but, I have a job, two jobs, a family, bills….”; still the fact remains, that when we wake up to start a new day we all receive the same amount of time to invest or waste.

Some people use their time advantageously while others waste it foolishly.

Assuming you are setting a goal of building a successful business, Messrs Gates, Jobs and Zuckerberg spent their time more wisely than others who sunk without trace.

Doubtless there are other factor involved too, skills, luck, timing etc – but if they had wasted the 24 hours in each day, do you think those three would be the house-hold names they are today?

Do You Set Wise Time Goals?

Did you notice I slipped in “goal-setting” there? Yes, I'm afraid so.

To be successful in business AND in life, you need to make the most of your time by:

  • Setting goals, priorities and preferences,
  • Learning when to say no
  • Becoming downright selfish with your time.

Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, a whopping 168 hours in every week. Even if you manage to sleep 8 hours each day, you still have 16 hours a day to accomplish the tasks and objectives that lead to your goals and desires in life.

How you choose to spend them will have a huge impact on the success of business you build.

Are you setting wise time management goals?

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My Confession

Those who know me well will probably be laughing – affectionately with luck – and reminding me that my own time management needs to be worked on, because I just have no “Stop” button!

Almost every night you'll find me “Blogging After Dark” and working into the wee small hours quite contentedly. 

However, this is a deliberate choice, because I've always been an “owl” rather than a “lark”. These hours are when I get my best work done – not least because I'm less likely to be disturbed by family, friends and tele-sales people. 

As a part-time blogger, I also have commitments to my off-line clients and so long as they are paying my bills (which they are!) they take priority over my newer online venture.

Using the hours when I am likely to be disturbed as my “off-line business / hobby / family / admin” hours, means that I can go into a “deep concentration” mode when the distractions have stopped for the day. That's when I can concentrate on blogging and learning new Internet Marketing skills to build my part-time online business.

By bringing you a series of articles and time management tips over the next few weeks I hope to be able to improve my own time handling techniques and work more efficiently.

Setting Your Priorities

family timeThe key to budgeting your time successfully is to break down your day into manageable segments, which should involve a combination of work, exercise, leisure, family, friends and other obligations that life brings your way.

Creating a balance that you, and those important to you, can comfortably live with is important.

So a few weeks ago I put “all but the basics” on hold and spent time with my Dad. This was important to do, and – when you tell people why – they're usually very understanding (and if they're not, I don't care – my Dad is more important).

This was an exceptional adjustment for me, and most weeks won't be like this, so let's consider a more normal week.

Here's one quick tip to start you off.

A Simple Time Management Tip

A good starting point for planning your week would be to sit down on Sunday evening and map out everything you want to accomplish during the week ahead. Go through the list of things that need your attention and begin to pencil them into time slots in a scheduler – which could be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet, a Word document or a Google calendar.

Separate your tasks into prioritized lists such as:
(1) Urgent.
(2) Important, but not urgent.
(3) Not detrimental, but I would like to finish.

Maybe color code them for ease of later recognition.

As you go through the ranking process, leave yourself some breathing space. If unused “on the day”, these time slots can be used for unforeseen emergencies, to grab a healthy lunch, do some stretching exercises, run a couple of errands, read a book, take a short walk to clear your head or just about anything else that would be of benefit to you. You shouldn't be constantly working or thinking about work.

time to stop workMost importantly, determine a definite point that will be your cut off time for the day. For home-based entrepreneurs, this is where you'll shut down the work computer and close the office door.

It's important you do this at the same time each day so it becomes a habit. Perhaps set an alarm on your clock – or use a favorite TV or radio program as a signal that it's time to relax.

This system will work for you if you allow it to, but it's not set in stone. You can go back over your priorities and change them to better suit your schedule. Time may be constant, but your life is ever changing. Plan your days to best suit your current needs and desires.

It takes a well-disciplined entrepreneur to create a healthy balance between work and play. No matter how much additional time you wish for, you're going to be given the same 168 hours each week.

Make your days of the week work for you; your life and business may depend on it. 

What are YOUR best time management tips? Please share in the comments below.




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I left it too late to plan for a financially secure retirement. Don't make my mistake. Start building an extra income with a part-time (or full-time) business online. Think you don't have time? Can't afford the start-up cost? Can't meet sales targets? Contact me for free advice (no obligation) on the best fit for your circumstances.

Donna Merrill - May 9, 2016

Hi Joy,

One Owl to another…

I never stop reading about how we need to work early a.m. in order to squeeze out our best work.

I’ve even read about people who start at 5 a.m…. I can’t imagine lol

Anyway, whether we do our work early morn or into the wee hours, we need to be organized.

It really does begin with prioritizing things. As simple as it may sound, so many people really have NO idea what’s more important than something else.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve coached who tell me that creating their first ebook is their “priority” while they’ve spend maybe 2 hours on the task over the last 3 months. Meanwhile they spend 2 hours every day on Facebook getting absolutely nothing for their effort except more procrastination.

I look forward to your next part in this series.


    Joy - May 9, 2016

    Hi Donna,

    I feel so much better knowing that you’re an “Owl” too!, because I know how hard-working you are. However “righteous” it might make me feel, 5am would just not be productive for me!

    Funnily enough, on Sunday I woke up 2 hrs earlier than my normal getting up time and – try as I might – I could not get back to sleep. Most unusual. So I did something that may seem silly…. I got up and did something completely unimportant to my business. (Unravelling and re-doing a silly mistake on a sweater I’m knitting for my grand-daughter.) And I felt so pleased with myself 🙂

    I agree. Procrastinating by “working” on Facebook is dangerous, but an easy trap to fall into. I’ve been very busy this last week and have hardly touched Facebook. I don’t think my business is any the worse for it!

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Robin Khokhar - May 9, 2016

Hi Joy,
Time is precious and we must not waste it and I thnk you have not wasted your time by writing this post.
Thanks for great share.

    Joy - May 9, 2016

    Hi Robin,

    Yes, time if the one thing we can never replace. Money can be earned again, but time wasted is gone for ever.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Paula - May 10, 2016

If we live fully in the moment, no time is wasted.

    Joy - May 11, 2016

    Very true, Paula 🙂

Rachel Lavern - May 11, 2016

Hi Joy,

If you could have seen my facial expression when I began reading your post. I think it was contorted because all I could think was RUSH, RUSH, RUSH! HURRY, HURRY, HURRY! BUSY, BUSY, BUSY! Ugh…toxic schedules.

The remix is, I have become very protective with my time (to the dismay of many).

    Joy - May 11, 2016

    Hi Rachel,

    Oh dear – sorry to have given you such a negative experience on my blog 🙂

    Well, yes – that IS how life is for me, and for many others I know.

    I’m not really defending it, because I’d love to be more relaxed. Hmmm – I wrote that at the start of my reply, because I felt I SHOULD say that. But, as I finished off my comment, I don’t see me ever choosing to be relaxed.

    The hard truth of my situation is that – for one example – in my offline business deadlines are imposed on me by my clients, and if I don’t meet their deadlines, they may just decide to replace me with someone who will. (As one client has just done with another supplier who didn’t deliver the goods on time.)

    In their defense, they are passing on to me pressures that are imposed on them, by their customers / suppliers, and they pay me very well to smooth the cracks along the way.

    Sure, money isn’t everything, but I do like my comforts.

    I’m adding in some “me-time” and volunteering, but funnily enough I almost feel as stressed trying to schedule those activities in as I do the work.

    No hope for me I’m afraid. I’m from a family of workaholics, and I always say that the happiest times of my life were when we were all working together for the family business. We often worked 15hrs a day, 7 days a week, but we still talk about it with happy nostalgia.

    My Dad is 94 in a few days time and he has never been more miserable (and unwell) than since he STOPPED his rush, rush, hurry, and being busy like we were in the business.

    I suspect I will be the same:-)

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Neena - May 12, 2016

Hi Joy,

Time management is one of my favorite subjects.

I have so many ideas and so many strategies – and they all work! The problem for me is consistency. I get sidetracked easily and need to reign myself in from time to time.

The good thing is that I am aware of it and can usually course correct.

I also allow myself some unstructured time to wander online or talk on the phone (old fashioned, I know) or do whatever. Knowing that I have a block of free time, helps me stay on track at other times.

An age old challenge is still challenging.

    Joy - May 26, 2016

    Hi Neena,

    That’s a great tip about allowing yourself a block of free time to wander online. I do like that and can see how it would help me, because I go off at tangents very easily and I know I have to curb that instinct.

    Like you, I prefer talking on the phone to many of the more modern methods – and why not? No need to throw the baby out with the bath-water.

    Thanks for taking time to visit me again,

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Fabrizio Van Marciano - May 12, 2016

Hi Joy, wow some great tips here for sure and boy time is such a valuable thing isn’t it? Something we can’t see, feel or touch, yet no amount of money can buy more of.

24 hours in a day might sound like a lot, but unfortunately for me I still feel it’s not enough lol.

I used to be a night owl, working until the small hours of the morning, but when my kids started school about a year ago, I slowly started to shift to daytime work. Now they’re at school for 4 days a week (little celebration dance) I have 24 hours in a week to work on my business, and you’d be surprised at how much I can get done in that time, especially when I know that’s all the time I have. The rest of the time its full throttle family chaos time.

I do struggle with the cutting point though. Even when I shut down my computer and leave my home office and head into the living room and kitchen area, I’m still thinking about work. When I’m playing with my kids and getting out and about, I’m still thinking about ideas and things I could do to improve my business.

Eventually though I do stop thinking about it and enjoy life.

OK sorry for waffling on, really enjoyed your post. Have a great weekend ahead 🙂 – Fabrizio

    Joy - May 26, 2016

    Hi Fabrizio,

    Ah – certainly when my sons were small they (quite rightly) cut into the work-time available and that shortage helped me focus. Of course now I wish I saw more of them, but they have their own businesses and busy schedules.

    It’s good that you can have creative thoughts about your business while doing other activities – just make sure you have a note-pad and pen (or something) to make a note for follow-up later!

    Like you I find it hard to “shut down” my mind. I heard a tip on the radio once that you should visualize each topic like an icon on your desktop and shut them down individually – after having noted them as mentioned above.

    Glad to see you back on my blog. You may notice I finally started using some of the features of Thrive 🙂

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Tom Southern - May 12, 2016

Hi Joy,

Your ability to work into the wee hours is one I’m a little envious of. I do do it from time to time but suffer the next morning.

Your tips for prioritising are great. I’ve come across them before and they’re really useful – and work, too.

It all comes down to knowing from the start what it is you want out of having a blog (and if you’re on track to get it). For example, what end result do you want?

This gives you focus and clarity on what you need to do (and what you don’t need to do). When you know what you want to do, you get a much clearer idea of what tasks you need to do. Any tasks that don’t get you nearer your desired end result can be eliminated.

It also gives you insights into how to move forward for best results.

This has been a great help in managing my time, especially where my success online is concerned.

– Tom

Atish Ranjan - May 20, 2016

Hello Joy,

There must be some time management tips. But, I am like you, I do work after the dark mostly because I love the silence. I am more concentrated on my work, and I just keep working untill they are done. But, somehow I think that it affects health, and thus, there must be some time managment tips that may decide when to work, when to take rest, and when to sleep.

I loved your tips and ideas. Thanks for the awesome post.

Enjoy the weekend ahead!

    Joy - May 26, 2016

    Hi Ratish,

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one who feels this way – although being 3am I think I have to call it a night now:-)

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Raphael Udonna - May 22, 2016

Hello Joy,

When it comes to setting priorities, this is how i classify things:

– Important but not Urgent
– Urgent but not Important
– Important and Urgent
– Unimportant and not Urgent

I prefer to focus more on the ‘Important but not Urgent’ Why? Urgent things usually put a lot of pressure on me, and probably all of us. But when we do the important things while they are not yet urgent, it will mean less pressure.

If we can learn not to leave important things till they become urgent, we’ll increase our productivity level.

Time is indeed all we have, and its best to make the best use of it.

Have a lovely weekend Joy

Edward Thorpe - May 22, 2016

Hi Joy,

Time management? I avoid that subject like I avoid ‘women of a certain age’ who appear in public, shod in knee high white boots. . . for some unfathomable reason, (probably prompted by my reptilian brain) they both scare the common sense outta me.

On the other hand, I can testify that your tip of mapping out your weekly goals does work – if you work it. Good post and a great ‘reply’ to Rachel. Edward

    Joy - May 26, 2016

    Hi Edward,

    No knee high white boots on this blog 🙂 And I’ll try to keep the time management to a minimum, although my pre-holiday “forward planning” means there are still a few to come, even now I’m back from holiday and just trying to catch up on lost time.

    Weekly goal-setting can work for me too – unless I am reliant on someone else for input first!

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Imran Soudagar - June 26, 2016


Thank you for sharing these important time management tips. Being focused is important and specially if you are a blogger or a writer who works from home, it gets really tough to focus and do the work.

Over the years I have been learning different tips, and it is helping me stay focus.

Thank you.

    Joy - June 27, 2016

    Hi Imran,

    I’m glad you found the time management tips helpful in maintaining your focus. Most people struggle like that.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

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