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Keeping Your Personal Life Separate from Your Business is an

Keeping Your Personal Life Separate from Your Business is an Essential Component in Time Management

Those of us who work at home face some unique challenges when it comes to the issue of time management. Often, well intended friends and family assume that since we don’t actually leave the house and go to an office, we don’t have a ‘real’ job that our time is theirs and we are free to be at their beck and call for errands, favors, or just a friendly ear. We somehow manage to become everyone’s fallback baby sitter, errand runner, and general gopher. It can be very distracting, time consuming, and absolutely destructive to the flow of our workday. We also tend to be hungry for human interaction, which makes us justify our desire to be available to them. In other words, it is very important that we keep business separate from our personal lives. We need to establish boundaries with family and friends and kindly and honestly inform them when we can and cannot be available to them.

Sometimes our friends and family can be the most insensitive to how demanding our work can actually be. If you’re like me you get paid for what you accomplish not the number of hours you work (though some weeks I really wish I could get paid by the hour) so every minute of quality work time counts and it seems to take two minutes of work time to get back in the flow of our work for every minute of our interruption. If the phone rings, don’t answer it while you are in the process of working. If you feel you must return the call during work hours, wait until you reach a stopping point rather than interrupting the flow of your work.

It sometimes helps if you can set time limits for your tasks. This provides you with a deadline and a sense of urgency. Use programs such as Lexa Software which can be found at www.lexasoftware.com, (you can try this software free for 15 days and it is $25 to buy it) or the Achieve Planner which can be found at www.effexis.com (this is a 30-day free trial and is $49 to buy but the software shows great promise and might be worth the monetary investment). These programs both allow you to divide projects up into small chunks and give yourself time limits for completion. A sense of urgency with completing tasks greatly improves the chances that the task will be completed on time or early. It also prevents avoidable procrastination by telephone call or visiting neighbor by providing you with the mental prod that you have work to do.

It is necessary that you treat your business like a business if you wish for others to do the same. One way you can do that is to set specific office hours. Only answer the phone, email, and instant messengers for work related or emergency issues and make it clear to friends and family that local gossip and idle chitchat do not qualify as emergencies. Be kind but be firm when you tell people that your office hours are sacred and cannot be broken lightly. If it happens once, it will be expected again.

Cutting out on the non-business related phone calls, messages, emails, and visits will provide you with explosive growth as far as time manageability. Also, setting office hours provides boundaries of sorts. It keeps you (a little bit) from getting so burned out (by spending countless hours in the office) that you can’t concentrate on what is at hand and provides you with some family time so you don’t forget the people you are supposed to be doing this for. Having a work schedule, believe it or not, also adds legitimacy to what you are doing in the eyes of friends and family. They will see that you are taking your business seriously and they will begin to take it seriously as well. Combine these two things with some minor organizational hints and tips and you will be amazed at how much more work you get done in a shorter span of hours.

Time management issues aren’t simply an issue for those of us who work from home, it’s an issue all over. People lose time, waste time, spend time, and treat it as a second-class citizen. Time is the one commodity that can never be regained. When it’s gone it’s gone. I would rather much rather have my time go to pursuits that bring me joy than used improperly while working and as a result having work invade my ‘fun’ time.

TITLE: How to Save Time by Forming a Mastermind

TITLE: How to Save Time by Forming a Mastermind
ALTERNATIVE TITLE: Heres a Quick and Easy Way to Avoid Hitting Roadblocks

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Imagine this

You think up a great idea. Maybe its a business idea that you just know will be profitable. Or perhaps it has something to do with your personal life, such as you coming up with idea of remodeling your bathroom yourself. Either way, you start taking immediate action on your idea.

On the surface, the concept of taking immediate action sounds great. Indeed, productivity experts (and that includes me) suggest that you do take immediate action on ideas.

But heres the thing: You need to take the right kind of action. And ideally, that means you should start by bouncing your ideas around with a trusted individual or group especially if you have a big idea that will take time to implement.

The reason is because if you jump into a big or complex idea without first carefully thinking it through, youre liable to waste a lot of time (and probably a good amount of money, too).

For example, lets suppose you took action on your business idea, but only later discovered that there are plenty of legal roadblocks that could tangle you up and slash your profit. You could waste months and thousands of dollars before realizing you need to abandon the idea.

Or what if you started ripping up the old flooring in your bathroom immediately after conceiving of the re-tiling idea only to discover later that the project is going to be about triple your original estimate. Youd have to just grit your teeth and buy the new flooring since you already ripped up the old flooring.

Those are just two examples but this sort of thing can happen to any of our projects and ideas. Even if we think it through carefully, sometimes were just too close to the idea to see all the potential pitfalls. And sometimes were just too excited about the ideas to hear our own voice of reason coming through.

Thats where a mastermind group comes in. This is your group of trusted friends and advisors that you meet with each week either on a conference call or for a breakfast or lunch meeting. Everyone shares whats going on with their business. And anyone who needs to bounce ideas around will get opinions from the nonbiased members.

Yes, it takes a little more time up front. It may feel like youre using valuable time. But you boost your productivity in the long run. End result? You only pursue ideas that make good sense. And that saves you time, money and a whole lot of frustration!

TITLE: Perfectionism Will Lead You to the Poor House

TITLE: Perfectionism Will Lead You to the Poor House
ALTERNATIVE TITLE: How to Beat Improve Productivity by Beating Perfectionism

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In theory, perfectionism sounds like a good thing. After all, who doesnt want to do a good if not perfect job at work or even at play?

Indeed, its not a surprise if you have a tendency to be perfectionist at times. Ever since you were young, the drumbeat of perfectionism has been beating in rhythm to everything you do. Your parents and teachers probably told you, Always do the best job you can.

And now that youre an adult, you cant quite shake the feelings of guilt when you turn out something thats not perfect. If its not perfect, then you probably didnt do your best.

But heres the thing: Sometimes we need to sacrifice quality just a little in order to gain the enormous advantages that speed brings us. This is especially true in business.

Think about it

If you spend two months perfecting a product and then another month or so perfecting your sales process before you ever release the product, youll fritter away three or four months without making a dime. But if you release the product almost immediately and THEN work on improving it, youll actually make money the entire time!

Now maybe releasing a product first and improving it later doesnt sound right to you. But just observe what big business does, and youll see they do exactly the same thing. For example, car makers roll out new cars quickly, and then later put stronger engines and better features in them. Software companies (like Microsoft) release software and then later fix the bugs with patches and upgrades.

And you know why they do it? Because getting products to market makes them rich. If youre in business, you should be doing the same thing. Indeed, even your personal life can improve by finishing things fast and making improvements later.

Bottom line: People who are successful in business dont necessarily strive to get it right the first time. Indeed, one of the biggest teachers is experience and you can only gain experience when you stop being a perfectionist and start living life and running your business.

Incidentally, that also happens to be one of the quickest ways to getting rich, too. Ask a millionaire if his products and sales pieces are perfect, and I guarantee hell say no at least not at first. But hell tell you that persistence and speed are far more important than perfection.