Time management (or “How to waste time posting tips about time management”)

One of the things I find can be pretty difficult in a multi-faceted world is keeping up to speed on a variety of projects at the same time. As an entrepreneur you often have the choice whether to invest all your energy into one project or to take on more than one project and build each one. Some people advise against the second option, pretty much because dividing your attention means you may not be investing nearly enough energy into your projects to reach that tipping point where they pretty much tick over and become viable businesses in their own right. That is a valid criticism.

For my part, I see a big disadvantage to focusing all your attention on one project. If that project doesn’t succeed then you are back to the beginning. Even if your project works out, if your income is tied to that one project and you go through a quiet patch, you have a problem. Of course, another reason to work on a couple projects is to explore a range of possibilities and this is a big attraction for me. I have fairly diverse interests and developing different projects (even if they are different blogs) is a way for me to explore these interests and see where they lead.

Whichever way you go, if you find yourself with little time to do what you need to do then this post on Web Worker Daily may be just what you need. The post has a list of things you can do to make the most of what little time you have available. Here is the abbreviated list:

  1. Don’t leave email sitting in your in box – open it, deal with it and get it out of the way;
  2. Admit multitasking is bad – when you deal with a project, take productive steps and get things done;
  3. Do the most important thing first – you have to set your priorities and achieve them when you start your day;
  4. Check your email on a schedule – the problem with email is that we tend to get distracted when it comes in so if you find this is the case for you, set your email application to retrieve mail every half hour, hour, whatever time period you need to get your other stuff done;
  5. Keep web site addresses organised – pick a system of tracking website links and stick with it so when you need them they are all in one place (I use del.icio.us for bookmarks I find handy and useful);
  6. Know when you work best – if you work best in the evening then structure your day to make the most of that;
  7. Think about keystrokes – the idea here is to be concise and to try not to get too caught up in long winded conversations and documents when a more concise version would be more effective;
  8. Make it easy to get started – take a step and follow that up with another step until you finish that task/phase/project … the point is to just get started;
  9. Organise your to-do list every day
  10. Dare to be slow – avoid rushing through tasks, do them methodically and carefully and get them done right;
  11. Close the loop – finish what you started and don’t leave loose threads that will only come back to haunt you later.
  12. Time management skills are remarkably important to any entrepreneur and these tips may help you develop those skills and become more effective in your daily life. Ironically I wound up wasting more time than usual creating this post because I tried a new tool to create the content of this post and the experiment backfired a bit. Maybe another tip is to stick with the tools that work for you and experiment with new ones when you are not under pressure? What are your experiences with time management?

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