Home > eCommerce Tips and Tricks > Time is Money: Helpful Hints for Better Time Management

Time is Money: Helpful Hints for Better Time Management

Today I happened upon an article over at eCommTips that talks about how to use time management to get the most results out of the least amount of time. Reading it reminded me of all of the things I already know about time management, but somehow seem to forget whenever it comes to actually managing my time. For those of use that work on the internet, adhering to time management guidelines is even more of a challenge. Luckily, the rules are simple and changing your time management habits tends to make things more quick and painless.

First I’d like to briefly touch on the main two concepts discussed in the eCommTips article. One is Pareto’s Law, or the 80/20 rule, which states that 80% of results are caused by 20% of effects. In other words, 80% of the tasks you do won’t have much of an effect on your total revenue. This isn’t to say they aren’t important. If you stop doing them it will certainly have an adverse effect on your revenue, but when prioritizing tasks, these come last. The other 20%, however, are generating a huge amount of your revenue,  so it stands to reason the more time you spend on these tasks, the more your revenue will grow. The other main concept discussed is Parkinson’s Law, which basically states that a task will take as long as you give it. If you give yourself a week to do something, it will seem very important and end up taking the whole week. If you only give yourself a day, you’ll have it done by then. Obviously, you can’t set deadlines too short or work will get sloppy and you’ll get used to not meeting them. Still, be conscious of how long a task should take and don’t give yourself any extra time to finish it. By setting short, frequent deadlines you will get used to working quickly and efficiently, and really maximize the amount of work you get done.

This is all great and good, but if you don’t put these concepts into practice, they won’t do you much good. As the eCommTips article suggests, it’s a good idea to first write down all of the tasks you do on a daily or weekly basis. First, look at your list and make sure that everything you’re doing is actually useful. Next, select which tasks lead directly to revenue and which ones don’t. For example, if you get a lot of people visiting your site from links you post on Twitter, put that in the revenue column. Answering customers’ questions, while still very important, would go in the other column.

Now, look at the table you’ve created and think about how much time you spend every day/week on each task. Are you spending the appropriate amount of time on each task relative to how much revenue it generates? If not, adjust the amount of time you would like spend on each item and write it out. From there, create a schedule for your daily tasks. When making your schedule, take yourself into account. For example, I am a bit sluggish in the morning, so I start by catching up on relative news and blogs and answering easy customer questions. Then I delve into the more time intensive e-mails, which normally gets me ready to work. If you are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed every morning and fade from there, you might want to save these tasks for the end of the day when you’re tired.

You also need to be sure and monitor your social media consumption. While Facebook and Twitter can do wonders for your business, they can kill your productivity for the day! Remember, when you are working you’re on Facebook to promote your business, not look at picture of Timmy’s new baby. For those of you who are easily distracted by social media, or who just don’t feel like sitting down and Tweeting everyday, I highly recommend you check out HootSuite. HootSuite allows you to manage your Twitter and Facebook page from the same site, but isn’t as easy to accidentally wander of task. You can also schedule your posts,  so you can type up all of your Tweets and Facebook posts for the day or week in one sitting and not have to worry about them again. Some added bonuses  include being able to allow more than one team member to manage an account and easy to use stats on how many people are clicking the links you post.

Remember, you’re the most of important part of your time management plan, so keep it tailored to your personality. If you are the kind of person who needs to take a break every hour, take it! If you respond to rewards, reward yourself upon completing a certain number of tasks. The point of a time management plan is to make yourself more productive, not miserable.

Questions or comments about time management? Leave a comment!

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