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Tips For Busy Entrepreneurs – How to Avoid Time Wasters

Tips For Busy Entrepreneurs - How to Avoid Time Wasters

This post was originally published on August 16, 2019. I am republishing it on April 13, 2021, with revisions and updates. This is a subject that every entrepreneur should think about. I hope that my how to avoid time wasters tips and tricks will help you see how I have evolved since 2019 when I was homeless and wrote this article the first time to now, with the edits and YouTube video I embedded. 

I have been an entrepreneur since 2006. I’ve dabbled in bringing my administrative tasks home as a virtual assistant for some, tried my hand at direct sales, managed social media accounts, managed eCommerce sites, and so many other tasks to finally land my heart in the world of writing. Along this path over the years, I’ve learned that one of the most difficult parts of being a work from home entrepreneur is finding ways to avoid time wasters.

You know what I’m talking about.

The family that calls or stops by.

Kids that need food.

People that ask 100 questions and take up an hour of your time only to say “they’ll think about hiring you” and so on and so forth.

As a fellow entrepreneur, I’m sure you have a list of time wasters that you simply aren’t sure how to avoid. That’s why I’m sharing some of the methods I’ve tried to use to get rid of time wasters so that I can focus on being a self-driven, self-motivated, dedicated entrepreneur that my clients can count on.

 

Tips For Busy Entrepreneurs – How to Avoid Time Wasters

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What are your time wasters?

The first part of solving any “problem” is to figure out what the problem is, to begin with. That’s why I highly recommend you create a list of time wasters. I’ll be honest, you won’t think of all these time wasters right away. Grab a little Post-it Brand Note and have it by your work space. Jot down a time waster each time it appears in your workday.

For me, my list of time wasters includes; Facebook Messages, Facebook Newsfeed, Emails, Potential Clients’ Questions, and preteens/teens who “need” something “right now” when they’re perfectly capable of getting said thing on their own. Those are just a few off the top of my head.

Create a Schedule NOW

As a mother of three children, who are now 16, 13, and 10 {updated 2021 to 18,12, and 14}, I know all too well how often kids will mess up that entrepreneur schedule you set in place, but stay with me a second here. Create a schedule that’s more like a block schedule, such as time batching. This is where you designate specific tasks to be done during a specific time block of the day. A good example is shown below in the image:

Tips For Busy Entrepreneurs - How to Avoid Time Wasters

As you can see, I tend to be rather ADHD by nature, so a picture schedule doesn’t work for me. That’s why I sort of use a concept called task batching, rather than time batching, but either method will work. More on those methods another day.

Just jot down a daily list of what you’re going to do, in an order that works for your mind, and go from there. Do not stray from that list, even if it looks sloppy like my example above. 

Shut Off Notifications

It took me a long time to realize that some time wasters were best put on silent. During your entrepreneurial work from home day, shut off all notifications. Listen, clients can wait until your scheduled time to reply to messages or emails. Clients can wait until you respond to them, and prospects can too. If a client or prospect wants your immediate reply, then do you really want to work for them? Being pulled in all directions is part of what’s wasting your time as an entrepreneur.

Be okay with shutting off notifications and only working your day to day tasks based on the schedule you created to work for maximum productivity levels. Good clients and prospects WILL WAIT, they’ll appreciate that you have that dedication and drive to stay focused on the task at hand. If not, then they’re not a good fit for your business, period!

Tips For Busy Entrepreneurs - How to Avoid Time Wasters

I could get into some lengthy ramble about how I use each of these tips in my day to day life, but the reality is I change it up day to day. We’re living on the road right now so a schedule is some foreign concept to me until we find ourselves in a stable location. With that being said, these simple tips to avoid time wasters will help you succeed.

When I wrote this back in2019 I was homeless. This means I was just working at a pace that worked for living from hotel to hotel, campground to campground, and eventually in our vehicles. That is until Fall 2019 when we finally got a home to live in.

Since then, I have aimed to work smarter not harder. I have been able to get my work week down to 4 days a week while earning more revenue than my previous months. Click here to read my 4 day work week explained.

What Do I do Now for Removing Time Wasters?

  • I use Asana to manage my daily tasks and assign a day for each clients’ work.
  • I shut off notifications and don’t check email, FB, or any other social media account frequently. I check them maybe twice during work hours, then whenever I want after work hours.
  • I assigned myself a work time – Monday – Thursday 11 am to 4 or 5 pm.
  • I keep my eye on the clock when afternoon hits so that I know at 3 pm what else I can finish before I have to stop my work day to go cook dinner.
  • I ask for help, currently testing our hitting a team to help me with writing and social media.
  • I stay confident in my goals BUT I also know my goals as they’re written down on my desk to see every day.

I firmly believe that if you watch my time wasters video on YouTube along with my Asana video that you’ll be one step closer to living the life you’ve always dreamed of. The book, The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands, has also significantly improved my life.

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What do you say to a time waster?

If you're looking at removing a time waster that's a human being - well it's best to just explain that you need to stay strict with your work hours. Let them know when they can and cannot contact you. If they don't respect your work hours, then you'll need to just be firm. Many who work from home are often left disrespected about their work hours because family & friends just don't get it.

What are the top 10 time wasters?

The top 10 time wasters are smartphones, notifications, funny animal videos, anything that doesn't help you remain productive during your work at home day. Email, phone calls, and other tasks can be time wasters, too!

What are three common time wasters?

The top three things that are common time wasters included - checking email, social media, and lack of time management skills.

 

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How to Make a Daily Schedule

When my middle child was younger I had to adjust my spontaneous fly by the minute personality to a more stable, routine driven personality. It wasn’t easy to do this at first, but eventually having a daily schedule became my normal. The household had an established schedule with things like taco Tuesday, timeframes for activities, or watching television. There was a strict bedtime with an even stricter bedtime routine. This all helped my middle child after we realized he was on the spectrum and thrived on a routine or at least being prepared with “what comes next”.

We all adapted to what the middle child needed and it worked. We knew that if something was going to change that he had to have advance notice whenever possible. If he wasn’t notified in advance, it could turn into a full-blown meltdown or something worse. You see this is something many parents of children on the autism spectrum understand. Children and adults on the spectrum can have difficulties with changes to their daily routine. We learned. We adapted.

As my middle child got older I started becoming slightly more flexible and then we were homeless for 5 months so I think that helped him become more agreeable to change. When you’re living in a tent at campgrounds, hotel rooms at various hotels, and some weeks in your vehicle, you learn to adapt to your daily life, or at least my son did. I’m not sure if it was the being homeless for 5 months or something else, but my middle child became a teenager and started to be more adaptable.

We can now have a somewhat flexible schedule. He no longer throws tantrums or has a meltdown over a slight schedule change or other things that would have set him off in his younger years. I know I did work hard with him over the years to see if I could get his rigid need for notification of changes reduced because life is unpredictable. I wanted to help him cope with changes that upset him in new ways, and start to learn how to handle life better because eventually he’ll be an adult and realize you cannot control every aspect of every day.

So anyway, that’s my story of why I started having a daily schedule. That was nearly 7 years ago when my spontaneous fly by the moment personality had to tone down and become a daily schedule sort of person.

Now I create a daily schedule for other reasons, such as ensuring I’m making the most of my time I have for work-at-home hours and homeschooling hours. Since I need a change every so often in my life, I make a daily schedule and use it for a bit until it starts to feel wrong for me, and then I adjust it again.

How to Create a Daily Schedule

Today I’m going to share how I make a daily schedule for work-at-home. I wanted to help you become more intentional and mindful with your time as I’ve started to do since the year 2020 rolled into town.

Use the Right App(s) or Website(s)

Some families use the Cozi app to ensure every family member is aware of the daily schedule. This is a great way to know what is on the grocery list or contact your spouse while they’re at work so they can grab something when they’re on their way home or meet you at the kid’s event/game. I use Asana, Trello, and Google Calendar to keep myself on track with a daily routine.

  • Cozi is great for families who have hectic schedules and want to keep everyone in the loop.
  • Asana is wonderful because it lets me drag and drop my daily tasks with ease. This helps me stay efficient in my juggling of multiple freelance writing clients, my websites, and my online courses I’m taking.
  • Trello is something I like using alongside Asana because it helps me brainstorm ideas, share those ideas with my eldest child who assists me, and just have a running list of goals or ideas to work within one space.
  • I love using Google Calendar for tracking client payments, such as jotting down when clients will be paying for their monthly renewals and when bills are due. This helps my other half and I plan our weekly/monthly budget together.
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Write a List of your Daily Tasks

Once you figure out which app(s) or website(s) you’ll use to create a daily schedule, it’s time to morph your daily tasks and workload into a schedule! Write down a list of your daily tasks for both personal and work-at-home stuff. Start putting this data into your app of choice, I like Asana so I put each client into Asana on a specific day of the week so I only focus on ‘x’ client(s) Monday, then another client(s) on Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. with Friday being my day off to start the weekend {usually}.

Over time you’ll start to adjust the schedule a bit, which is why I simply love Asana’s drag and drop feature. It makes it easier for me to move less-priority tasks over to later in the week should something come up in the household side of life or I have writer’s block and need another day to rejuvenate.

Think About Your Work Hours

As you’re working to set a day for each task or client, you’ll want to consider how many hours you aim to work each day. I used to work so much that I rarely took a break and would often miss out on time with my family. That’s a big no-no for me as of 2020. My aim in 2020 was to adjust my work hours to be no more than 5 hours per day focused on online work or revenue streams. This freed me up to homeschool better and live a more intentional life with my family!

I’m not sure what type of work hours you’re looking at with your work-at-home schedule, but you’ll need to think about it. Set a solid daily schedule 9 am to 5 pm or 2 pm to 8 pm. Make sure you have a timeframe so that your workday flows steadily as you work to create your daily routine and stick to a schedule.

I typically work from 12pm or so until 4pm sometimes 11am to 4pm, but I always am offline from work by 4pm to enjoy dinnertime, homeschooling stuff, and so forth with the family.

This was just the basics of creating a daily routine. It’s something to get you started in the right direction! I’m sure you’ll have to adjust it as time goes on, but sit down and do this right now so that you’re able to have some form of a routine in place to be more productive with your time each day. I wish you much success with your mission to create a daily schedule.

Get Cozi - it's free!

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How Apps Can Help with Common Core Education – Don’t Let Math Stump Your Children

One Mom Shares Homeschool Adventure Begins

Many people (especially those who’ve already been in school) think that math never changes. However, the common core school of mathematics involves slightly different techniques that sometimes preclude parents from being able to help their children with math problems. As a math tutor on the side, I was researching to understand the common core techniques a little bit more, and I found a very helpful page full of mobile apps. 

Great Common Core Apps

These apps can help students enjoy learning common core techniques and help parents aid their children’s educational experiences. These apps offer insight into what the common core is, how to locate the information that will be most helpful, and find ways to make learning math more fun. 

Understanding the Common Core

Most adults assume that the common core is a new form of mathematics. But it is actually just a modified standard of mathematics that is purposed to create a higher degree of understanding for students. The whole idea behind the common core is based on the fact that mathematics is a building block subject, meaning that all increasing levels of subject matter are based on the previous level and require that specific skill to be successful. You see, a subject like history isn’t as comprehensive as math. If someone doesn’t understand what happened in Medieval Times, they can probably still successfully understand the Renaissance Period. 

A subject like math, however, builds on itself. If a student doesn’t understand addition and subtraction then they will have a hard time understanding multiplication and division. The student will have an even harder time learning how to simplify fractions and evaluate algebraic formulas. That’s what the common core is designed to do: solidify a student’s core foundation by applying it to a stricter standard than normal mathematics. The creators of the common core wanted students to be more successful when they reached the higher levels of math by establishing a more effective foundation. 

Most Effective Common Core Apps

While most students learn math inside the classroom the most, these mobile apps allow students to enjoy effective exercises and activities outside the classroom as well. There are plenty of apps that can help a student with one math problem or make studying for a test easier, but the best common core math apps will take the knowledge further. 

These apps are the most valuable for students to use. It’s a little bit like the old adage: “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for life.” While there are plenty of these apps that can help with the basic common core homework assignments for students, the most valuable of these apps will help a student attain the deeper knowledge and get a better grasp on the common core. This knowledge will help the student be far more successful in their educational career.

Finding Apps that Make Learning Fun

On top of building a great foundation in math, students also need to build a great foundation in learning. If they consistently feel like learning math is akin to pulling teeth, their enthusiasm for mathematics will dwindle over time. However, if a student can use mobile apps to create a positive relationship with learning, then this enthusiasm will only grow as the subject gets more complicated. 

When mobile apps make learning fun, students might actually start enjoying math. When we enjoy something, we put more effort into it. That’s our human nature, and it’s the opportunity through which mobile apps can draw more effort from students than just a regular old textbook. 

Conclusion

With common core mobile apps at the ready, parents can help students build a stronger math foundation, find more effective resources, and begin to enjoy learning math for the first time in their educational careers. 

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Effective Goal Setting Tips for the Entrepreneur

Effective Goal Setting Tips for the Entrepreneur

When it comes to being your own boss, such as being an entrepreneur, you may be struggling with trying to set goals. Goals are something that can keep you rising up and building success within your online business. When it comes to learning the best ways to set goals, you’ve probably heard a variety of tips and perhaps some worked while other tips didn’t work. That’s why I wanted to create my own list of effective goal setting tips so that you, my friendly entrepreneur can feel more confident and motivated to get up and get to work every day!

Effective Goal Setting Tips for the Entrepreneur

Effective Goal Setting Tips for the Entrepreneur

Be Specific

It doesn’t matter if you’re setting a daily, monthly or annual goal for your entrepreneurial business, the key to setting effective goals is to be very specific. You may have a goal to increase your sales volume by 10% this week. That’s an excellent goal, but how will you work to achieve this goal? Being very specific take your initial goal and put it into a more reliable form, such as “I will share my products or services online in 5 new places this week to increase my sales volume by 10%.” This is just an example, keep in mind the next tip for effective goal setting.

Keep it Achievable

You may not be able to increase your weekly sales by 10%. That may be a gigantic number that doesn’t’ fit under the definition of a realistic goal for the entrepreneur. That’s why I must remind you to make sure your specific goal is something you can actually achieve. Sit down to think about where you want to take your entrepreneurial business, what’s your vision for the business as a whole? How about your vision for the month? Taken into consideration what your ultimate goal is to pin down your short term effective goals.

Define Success

Every entrepreneur has a different definition of success, find what your definition is and use that as part of your goal setting process. It’s important to know what you feel success is. All of the goal setting strategies won’t work if you have no idea what you feel success is for your entrepreneurial business. Figure out if success is going to be defined with a monetary value, another number of marketing response value something else, This will help you set achievable goals for your success.

Make Short & Long Term Goals

Last, but not least, make sure you’re focused on the long term success of your entrepreneurial business as well as the short term. Having effective goals for the short term will keep you motivated as you work towards achieving your long term goals. Both short and long term goals work hand in hand to keep entrepreneurs working more efficiently and being motivated to get up in the morning to hit the business ready to work!

Effective Goal Setting Tips for the Entrepreneur

If you’re an entrepreneur who feels stuck in effective goal setting strategies, then I hope you’ll try my list of tips today. Each of these tips, when combined, will help you realize that goal setting doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Using these effective goal setting tips for the entrepreneur today, will help you achieve success faster!