The Checklist Content 2

This post was written by Tony-Online on April 30, 2010
Posted Under: Uncategorized

Suggested items for your checklist continue with the subject, time, a critical resource in short supply for all of us.
2.    How much time do I have available to devote to my business?
Just as you did when answering the question regarding how much money you have available to invest, you must be equally honest and thorough in examining how much time you will have available to devote to your business.
a.    Guessing will not be acceptable. Hoping will not be acceptable. Intention will not be acceptable. You should know at the outset, before you embark on your business journey, that you will need every moment you can reserve for working on and in your business. In my last blog I made the error of stating that in project planning, a rule of thumb is that it will cost four times as much as you expect. I meant to say that it will cost twice as much as you expect – it will take four times as much time as you expect.
b.    I’ve taken three professional time management business courses over the years. I learned a few things that were useful but nowhere as much as I needed to learn. The reason comes down to the fact that many time management courses focus on your management of tasks. The real culprit is ourselves, and the management of time must focus on how we use time. So, you must learn to manage yourself first in order to be successful at time management.
c.    For the purpose of working on your own business, you must begin with your planned use of time. It isn’t enough to say that instead of watching a particular thing on TV, you’ll work on the business. It isn’t enough to say you’ll work on the business every Wednesday and Saturday. You will have the best chance at success only when you plan blocks of time for specific tasks in advance and viciously stick to your plan, day in and day out. This means that you are going to have to become very self-protective of your time. This means that, unless there is a medical emergency, that unless the house is on fire, you must stick to your plan. Interruptions for lesser concerns are not to be tolerated; diverting your attention to minor concerns is an inefficient approach to managing your time. My experience is that when I am focused on one thing to the exclusion of everything else, I am in “The Zone”. Any interruption during this state and it takes me up to twenty minutes to get back in “The Zone”. Interruptions can be very costly for you, they steal your time.
d.    The first steps you must take include making a very, very honest self-assessment of how much time you are going to have available in a given day. Activities such as working at your main job, family time, eating, and worship are very important and you must recognize these in your plan and make honest estimates of how much time you must allot for each of these activities and any other activities that are important in your life.
e.    If you think that you could forgo some activity, a golf game, a dinner out, watching TV for hours on end, you must build that into your plan and do it. Thinking you might save some time if . . . Not good enough. Make plan you commit to stick with, it is the only way make this work for you. The time you schedule to work on your business is sacrosanct, which means, too valuable to mess with.

f.    It will prove more difficult to begin with but your objective should be to schedule specific blocks of time to accomplish specific business tasks and, if the task is not complete when your allocated time runs out, you have to stop! Yes, stop and go on to the next thing you have scheduled to do. Eventually, you will learn to appreciate how much time you lose when you allow your attention to be diverted due to an interruption. You’ll also learn to plan more efficiently.

g.    A last point I want to emphasize is that multi-tasking is fiction; it doesn’t work well for anyone. Your conscious brain works most efficiently when all of its attention is focused on one task and one task only, to the exclusion of all others. You will reach your peak efficiency at any task when you devote all of your attention to that task alone.

Unless you are willing to seriously try this, you will greatly increase the chances of being unsuccessful in creating a successful business.

To be continued.

An original blog written by Tony Neilson and published at April 30/10

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