Today's Blog Post is a Guest Submission by Lillian Brummet of the Conscious Discussions Blog and Radio Show.
Lillian's article really hits home with me because I am self-employed and facing the same time challenges that she mentions in the article. Lillian offers some great tips for getting things done right, the first time, on time.
I'll have the honor of appearing on Lillian's radio show, Conscious Discussions on January 9, 2014. You can hear the broadcast online www.blogtalkradio.com/ConsciousDiscussions
Time management is a real issue for most self-employed individuals. The first thing is to make sure that you have set aside specific work hours with a start and stop time frame, and focus on following that schedule. For instance you might be able to rise earlier than the family getting to the office by 5 AM until 7:30 AM, pausing to get the kids off to school and then spending 10 AM – 2 PM in the office, allowing you the late afternoon for shopping, cooking, house and lawn or garden chores. Of course, you will find that you will have to extend that time for an interview or something, but generally this set time is for work – not play, or days off, or family or house issues.
Set aside your priorities for the day, and also on a weekly basis listing things that must be done, should be done, and things you want to get done. Give yourself deadlines and stick to them.
Time wasters come in when we have to keep going back to something over and over and over. Do things once, do them well and be done with them. This is the key to doing things efficiently and effectively. Sometimes though you might have to use a timer that tells you your time for social networking, or plugging away at the manuscript is over and it is time to work on that article, or some other agenda that you have planned for the day.
You’ll also have to learn to say ‘no’ – sometimes you just can’t take on another project even if it is an opportunity to earn more money. Be sure that you don’t end up feeling like you are juggling too many things. If you do, perhaps reevaluating your priorities is in order, or maybe you can outsource to friends or family that are willing to help you out. Maybe you can hire a neighbor’s teenager to do some of the work for you. Get creative at this point so that you don’t reach burnout.
There is always so much to do – a new banner ad to design, another radio show needs a promo ad, there’s guests to book on the radio show or blog and outlines for their interviews to create. Emails are popping up every few minutes with a request to provide articles, or someone offering a new interview or networking opportunity. Keeping records of all of this and making sure that everyone has been followed up on, while finding new contacts, new opportunities – this can eat up a lot of time.
Effective record keeping is the best thing in the world. Whenever you query a media contact, for instance, head over to the Excel file and record brief information on the media, the contact, the email/web address and then brief notes to yourself – such as how you connected and what was said. The use of color-coding makes for easy referral so that you can see at a glance whether a project is completed but not yet published, and who needs a follow-up. It is a good idea to go through your files every 3-4 months and eliminate all the rows that have not responded, or declined your query because you no longer have a need to keep a record of those contacts. At the same time, look for any opportunity to do follow-ups.
~ Award winning authors Lillian & Dave Brummet produce and host the Conscious Discussions talk radio show where they frequently highlight world of writing genre topics, and manage the Brummet’s Conscious Blog, where they occasionally feature Q&A interviews with other authors about their experiences in the realm of writing. To date they have written 5 published books including the guide for authors: Purple Snowflake Marketing – How To Make Your Book Stand Out In A Crowd. They have another poetry book coming out in late 2013/early 2014, and have 2 more manuscripts in the works. Visit their site to learn more about everything the Brummets do: www.brummet.ca