Saturday, June 24, 2006

Not Having a Plan will kill your Time Manageability

Do you ever find that you are losing time, not due to a lack of organization so much as a lack of direction? Not having a plan of action for each and every day is a massive productivity killer and a critical time management faux pas. You don't want to have a day that is so structured that there is no flexibility, at the same time you don't want to have day in which half your day is wasted attempting to decide what to do next. Usually what happens in this situation is that you wind up playing spider solitaire or hitting the message boards while you try to decide what to do next. You don't have to raise your hand or shout Amen-we've all had those days and if you are completely honest with yourself you are aware that days like this are costing you a lot of money.

As work at home professionals, we are accountable only to ourselves and sometimes the temptation to pass the time rather than plan it is overwhelming. This is a very bad way to start your business day. My first point is that you must have a plan. You can call it a plan, a goal, an agenda, whatever works best for you, and occasionally you need to mark time on your calendar specifically for goal planning. This is a must if you find yourself having one or more days in a week that you don't have a specific plan of action for the vast majority of your 'office hours' having an hour free each day for 'unexpected projects' is perfectly acceptable and there are generally all kinds of things that can fill that hour if it isn't needed for a specific task. Other than that hour, you want your day pretty full so that you can maximize the use of your work hours and not have work left over at the end of your day to interfere with your 'play time.'

Here is some information I have found that should help you plan your days for the most efficient use of your time. Remember that poor time management costs more than just dollars over a long period of time and you do not want to allow yourself to develop bad time management habits. First, visit, this site offers many time management tips in addition to other resources for your personal development. There are some absolutely wonderful tips in the section aptly named "time management tips" on how to better manage your time.

Then visit, not only does this website offer time management advice it also offers helpful tips on goal setting as well. If you use this site as a tool it offers a great amount of advice that is solid about good and bad time management habits and how to create good habits. You will also find a time management course here that could prove vital for you to develop the proper skills that would suit your needs best. This site also offers a free time management pack and newsletter that offer a continuous stream of hints and helps for creating more effective time management habits. Also mentioned on this site is the Achieve Planner, which I am hearing more and more about lately. It seems quite pricey at $50 for a planner but if it helps you achieve your optimal productivity, and releases you from the bondage that poor time management skills create, I would say that it is money very well spent. There is also the option for a free 30-day trial so you can try it before you buy it, which always gets a thumbs up from me.

I also recommend that once you have identified your goals for the day you make note of them so that you don't forget. Here are some free programs that will help you do just that. Mo Run at is a free sticky note service. It seems that there is a great deal of competition among the freeware writers and developers to create the absolute 'best' sticky product on the market. There is also Easy Note at and my personal favorite, perhaps because it is the most advanced that I have found to date and I can chose my colors, is Sticky which can be found at

Following my advice won't miraculously cure you of those days when you simply aren't motivated to really accomplish anything, but it can prevent you from making excuses for yourself. I hope that by reading this you will decide it is time to take action, create a plan for your business, and utilize the skills you are learning not only to organize and optimize your business but your personal life as well. Imagine how much time will be left for the fun things in life when you streamline a method for dealing with those that aren't so much fun.

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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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Refinance Student Loans - How and Why?

Vanessa McHooley

Let's face facts. Going to college these days, especially private universities, is no cheap task and can put you well into debt before you even enter the "real world" for yourself. Most people, especially young college students, do not have the tens of thousands of dollars to pony up every year for college tuition either. Therefore, most college students choose to use student loans to put themselves through college, whereby they can pay the tuition without breaking a sweat. However, when it comes time to graduate from college and pay these student loans back, many people do not know where to begin. How about refinancing these loans before you even start anything else?

Advantages of Refinancing

By refinancing your student loans, you can save yourself hundreds, even thousands of dollars before you start repaying your loans, an option that many people fail to use. When you leave college, chances are that you have a variety of loans on the books with an array of different interest rates attached to each one. Refinancing these loans can help you to lower these interest rates, or, at least, bring some of them down, thus lowering your monthly payments and saving YOU money in the end. Even if all of your interest rates cannot be refinanced, chances are that you can save money in some places through refinancing.

Where To Refinance?

But, when it comes to refinancing, where do you turn to find a reliable place to lower your interest rates? The Internet may just be your one-stop-shop for refinancing your student loans from college, as you can search a variety of sites that offer refinancing services to suit your needs. Be careful though. Not every web site offering financial help will actually help you, and non-credible sites may actually just be out to steal a buck from you. Deal with those college student loan web sites that deliver real refinancing results and are properly licensed. Then, sit back and enjoy your money-saving tactics.

This article is distributed by NextStudent. At NextStudent, we believe that getting an education is the best investment you can make, and we're dedicated to helping you pursue your education dreams by making college funding as easy as possible. We invite you to learn more about Refinance Student Loans at

About The Author

Vanessa McHooley

My goal is to help every student succeed - education is one of the most important things a person can have, so I have made it my personal mission to help every student pay for their education. Aside from that, I am just a pretty average girl from San Diego California.

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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