Hour By Hour

It’s one thing to decide you’ll maintain a strict schedule in a home office but another to actually keep it. Julie Morgenstern, a time-management expert, recommends scheduling your days hour by hour with a time map.  Here’s how:

Set office hours, say 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you like to jog or eat a leisurely breakfast, wake up early so that you can be ready to hit it by 8.

Divide your day into three parts:

Serving existing clients, marketing for new clients and taking care of administrative tasks. If you feel you have all day to do all things, you’ll be less productive.

Keep a schedule.

For example, devote 8 a.m. to noon to existing customers, 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. to marketing and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. to tasks such as printing invoices and updating your contacts list. Look at it this way: In the morning, you’re working to make money. In the afternoon, you’re selling your business.

Dedicate 10 or 15 minutes at the end of each day

to planning–specifically–what you will do in each of the three parts of the next day. Break projects into small steps: One morning can be devoted to polishing up Project A and getting halfway on Project B.

Create three-day plans.

Once you get used to planning a day ahead, start looking farther down the road and update those plans at the end of each workday.

About the Author: Julie Morgenstern is a time management expert.

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