Nobody has enough time for everything these days. To be honest, I don’t have enough time to write this post. There’s a ton of marketing I should be doing, a series of ebooks to plan and somewhere out there – you can probably hear the wailing – there’s a cat that thinks the food bowl is empty.
It’s not, but you know how cats are.
If you’re struggling to find the time to run a business – because you’re working full-time or have other commitments – here are 9 ways to conjure up extra time in the day and be more productive in that time.
1. Watch less television
It so annoying to hear someone say they never have the time to work on their website when that same person watches three and a half hours of TV a night.
If you’re trying to start a business in your spare time while holding down a regular job, it’s tough. No question about that.
But even if you watch just one hour less of mindless TV every weekday you’ve created what amounts to 20 extra hours a month to building your future life (the one without a boss breathing down your neck).
And with focus, you can get a lot done in 20 hours.
2. Wake up earlier
If you really have no time to spare during the day, create an extra half an hour or hour by getting up that much earlier.
Just don’t make the mistake of Facebooking the time away.
Dedicate your time to the thing you got up early for. If you got up to write the first draft of a blog post, or to look into alternative revenue streams, do it. You’ll really feel like you’re making progress, especially when you see how much you’ve achieved by the weekend.
Bonus: it feels great knowing you can get up and have a chunk of uninterrupted time to work on your online empire. If that doesn’t make you want to haul your ass out of bed a bit earlier, then online entrepreneurship probably isn’t the right thing for you.
3. Know when you’ve read enough How To articles
It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that reading How To articles is one of the most worthwhile things you can do with your time.
What is? Reading How To articles and applying what you’ve learned. One of the most exciting things about being in the internet business is that there are always new things to learn – but unless you try things out for yourself you won’t make any progress.
4. Try the Pomodoro Technique
Invented in the 1980s by Italian student Francesco Cirillo, the idea is that you can get more done by working in short, focused bursts of time that you can by “working” for hours on end with your concentration constantly being zapped by phone calls, the internet and rearranging your desk.
You can read more about the Pomodoro Technique here, but basically you set a timer for 25 minutes and work without interruption on a single task in that time period. You stop for nothing. You shut the door, shut off the cell phone. No Twitter. All focus.
After the 25 minutes, you take a 5 minute break before repeating.
It’s amazing how much you can get done when you really have to, though 45 minute periods work better for me. The concept remains the same – just take one thing you need to do and use a self-imposed deadline to make sure you get it done.
5. Don’t try to complete all of a big project in one go
When time is limited, and you can’t finish the whole thing you’ll feel less satisfied than if you successfully complete a smaller part.
Bite sized chunks work well with the Pomodoro Techique too.
6. Work towards a treat
Nothing sharpens my focus on completing tasks before the end of the workday as that nice glass of Italian wine I treat myself to before turning in.
Setting aside time for working on your web business when everyone else is watching TV is an achievement in itself – and that should be rewarded. Treat yourself.
7. Keep notes
Next time you get caught waiting, think up a few ideas for blog posts, content marketing pieces or promotional ideas. Having an idea file means you’re never starting from scratch and it speeds up your working time.
8. Buy a business related book for the work commute
Instead of reading about Kim Kardashian for the 89th time this week, why not use your journey time to pick up knowledge and inspiration to help you grow your business?
A half hour journey five days a week both ways is five hours reading (and note-taking…) time a week.
9. Wean yourself off displacement activities that stop you getting things done
“This morning I’m going to work out my Twitter marketing strategy – but first I need to polish the light in the kitchen and make sure I have enough pencils for the week.”
Not having cleaned the house isn’t the thing that’s keeping you from marketing your business, fear of failure is.
But once you actually start doing the thing you’re putting off, the progress you see yourself making will let you lose the fear.
Just get started.