Monday, June 19, 2006

Less Time, More Work: Managing Your Time in order to Increase Productivity

One of the most important things you can do to increase productivity and time management for your business is by doing the same in your home life, particularly if your home is your work place. I am the worlds worst about being distracted from the work at hand by seeing a sock that a child left carelessly on the floor, on the couch, you name it (my children are quite creative at avoiding putting things away) or dishes in the sink or seeing a layer of dust on a piece of furniture. It's almost a compulsion born of procrastination and it's an absolute killer for your work productivity and time management. If your house is in order, your business day (from your home at least) will go much more smoothly.

Here's a beautiful solution if you have children. Delegate household chores to those that have contributed to the clutter and the mess in your home. Your family generally likes to eat the food and wear the clothes that you buy for them as a result of your work so it should not be a problem for them to help clean up the mess. Believe it or not even young children can help with cleaning. Toddlers are excellent for helping sort laundry by colors and it reinforces their learning of colors and counting (mine counts socks). My 18 month old loves to help load the dishwasher and my 6 year old likes to run the floor sweeper. Older children can easily be encouraged to help if you attach either a privilege (such as a bowling night or sleepover) or monetary value to the work they do. You can even 'hire' older children to help with some tasks in the office. This is a good idea if you're getting behind on your filing and other tasks that most of us don't enjoy but find necessary.

It's not only things that need to be clean, but it is also the clutter that inevitably finds its way to your desk, it's family tasks that require your participation during your normal work hours that do not make your calendar, and last minute errands that often must be taken care of. These things are all productivity killers and have an absolutely brutal affect on your ability to manage your time. This is one of those times when going to an office everyday is beneficial, especially if you are female. As women we often feel that we are defined by the state of our home. Add to that the stigma that because we work at home, we are really watching talk shows and loading up on Ben & Jerry's all day and not really working. We feel we are expected to have a spotless house at all times, while women who go to an office to work are forgiven a messy house because they don't have time to clean properly. Here's another interesting fact, people who work from home, generally tend to spend more hours each day working than those who commute to an office. And we thought we were saving two hours of commuting time each day. It is actually not always productive to add more hours to your workday to work all of these extra hours.

You may want to consider working different hours and working fewer hours. Yes I did say that working fewer hours could increase your productivity and your time management skills. Here is how that works. First of all, work the hours that you are most productive. Most of us have maximum productivity during our first two hours each day. If you chose to get up two hours earlier than the rest of your household, you are utilizing your most productive time of the day, you are less likely to be interrupted (even minor interruptions cause huge roadblocks in your productivity), and you are able to begin the day with a feeling of accomplishment rather than the struggle and stress of getting the rest of your family ready and out the door (or begin the day if you are working with toddlers or home schooled children at home). Second, if you have a time limit for a task, rather than an open-ended amount of time to accomplish, you are more likely to be more efficient in handling it (use programs such as Notesbrowser which can be found at to help keep you keep your target times for projects, or you could use something as simple as a kitchen timer that will alert you when your time limit is up). You are less likely to get distracted by email chain letters and solitaire games, or reading an article that could really wait until a better time. Third, we all need an end to our workday. We need the separation of work and home, but we need the time with family. We need conversation with other adults, having this time outside of work hours mean less frequent interruptions during work hours by our loved ones and it gives our minds a chance to recover and unwind before beginning yet another workday.

If you follow this advice, delegate work that can be delegated, change your work schedule to maximize productive hours of the day and limit yourself to a specific number of work hours each day, you will find that with less work, it is very possible to have better results. This is what time management is all about.

About the author::

Peter Dobler is a 20+ year veteran in the IT business. He is an active Real Estate Investor and a successful Internet business owner. Collect more free software and bonus content for your own web site at

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