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BoomerBizTips April 1, 2014 - Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan
April 01, 2014

Remember those four basic business skills? This week we tackle #1 - Scheduling/Planning. Without a plan to guide you, you're just taking shots in the dark and that is no way to run a business. Without scheduling the most important tasks and appointments, you are apt to just try to work things in as you can. Or put off the more difficult and time consuming tasks in favor of the easier ones. That won't work either. So today we get some info on time management, planning, and scheduling to get you started on the right path.

Plus we have a great business resource to share with you - and it's free!

Let's get busy!

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Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan

Planning and scheduling are a vital part of your business. And the first part of the process is actually creating a plan. I know - I tend to harp on the subject of business plans a lot. But they are so important when opening a small business! How do you know what you are going to sell, who you are going to sell it to, and how much you are going to charge if you don't have a plan? Convinced yet? Great! Start by writing your business plan. If you don't know how, check out our guide. The second part of planning and scheduling is the scheduling. Although you may work from home and don't punch a time clock, you still need a schedule to make sure you get the important tasks completed. What hours will you devote to work? If this is your primary source of income then you should devote all the time necessary. Are you a 9-to-5 business? If your business is like mine then that may not be the case. I work a few hours in the morning and then again later in the evening. Does that work for you?

If you are still employed at a regular job while you start your business then you will have to schedule your tasks around that committment. But you still must devote as much time as possible to your business if you want it grow. Can you pencil in an hour or two each night after work? How about a few hours on the weekend?

The hours you work will be dictated by the type of business you have, your family, possibly your employer, and other committments. The important thing is to schedule your business work the same as any other appointment and then make that appointment a non-negotiable committment like all the others.

Get your calendar or planner right now and schedule your appointments. Decide right now what hours you will devote to your business this month and slot the times into your planner or calendar. Use a highlighter or colored sticker to markt the time you have allocated so the blank spaces will jump out at you.

Now you are open for business. All you have to do is decide what you will accomplish this month and then schedule the appropriate tasks in each time slot.

Monitor your planner daily to ensure you are fully booked with things to do. And have a backup list of things to do. If you finish a task sooner than expected or an appointment cancels, use the time to complete a task from your backup list.

Now it's time to share some tried and true time management tips. Why? Becaue the best laid plan is pointless if you don't have time to do it. You're going to work hard for the first couple of years. But after that, if you build your business correctly, you can take time whenever you want to.

Let's use some time management tips to help make the hours necessary to build your business.

1. If you haven't done it yet, set your goals. Be very clear about them. Write them down. Once you know what you really want to achieve (and why) it’s easier to make decisions about what needs to be done, and to plan accordingly.

2. Make your to-do list daily. List your top priorities and focus what time you do have on them. You'll be much more effective!

3. Remember to schedule your day. Literally write an appointment in your work planner to set aside a realistic block of time for your priority actions.

4. Learn to say no to all of those friends and family members who think that you are free to do whatever they need just because you work from home. Don't let them distract you from your business.

5. Get organized. Create systems for filing, management of information and communication.

6. Learn to delegate. Surely your husband can learn to do laundry. Let the kids do the dishes. Can your neighbor take your kids to soccer practice along with hers?

7. Balance your life. All work and no play will burn you out faster than anything. When you are scheduling your day, schedule family time, spouse time, and a little "me" time.

8, When the day is over, let it be over. Finish what you are working on and "go home." Don't be thinking about that important client phone call when you should be focusing on your spouse. No paperwork at the dinner table or notes while watching TV with your family. Relax and you'll be less tense and more focused tomorrow

9. “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.”

That's it for this week! Plan your work, work your plan and use our time management tips to be sure you have time to get it all done!
As always, feel free to share your comments and questions. And we love knowing whether you found this issue useful. Contact us at via email.
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