If you have your own business, whether it be online or a more traditional offline business, then time management is an essential part in making that business successful.  We are all guilty of it sometimes; you have tasks and jobs to complete for your business, only to get sidetracked in the wonderful world of the internet, be it watching a YouTube video, posting on social networking sites, or searching for a recipe for homemade curry.  

Getting sidetracked can often lead to a business that falls behind and can often have a detrimental impact on your business and even your mood (especially when you know you are behind because you have been playing Bejewelled on Facebook against some friends).

Time Management is all about getting a set value of results in a specified timescale.  When you run your own business, it can be hard to divide your time up into manageable chunks, allowing you to complete these tasks.  I heard a conversation recently where the speaker was saying sometimes she wishes she had her manager from her old job looking over her shoulder, demanding tasks to be done in certain timescales, as sometimes she struggles to motivate herself to complete tasks and jobs.  This, she seemed to think, would give her the motivation and the drive back into her daily routine, and would stop her getting sidetracked when she had important jobs to complete.

There are however, a set of simple solutions that are guaranteed to increase your output and productivity (and no, it does not involve your old boss looking over your shoulder!).

Here are 8 Top Tips for improving work output, increasing your productivity, and getting your essential and non essential jobs completed in a timely manner:

Tip 1:  Invest in a Diary.  Diaries are great tools because you can set yourself to-do lists and objectives for the coming days, weeks or months ahead. These diaries are fantastic, because each A4 page shows one day, and gives you more than enough room to set out a To-Do list, and make any other notes that is necessary.  At the start of each day or week, write down exactly what you hope to complete and achieve for the day.  It will give you a greater focus.  When you have completed a job, tick it off your list.  Just doing this simple technique will give you a great sense of satisfaction and achievement.

Tip 2:  If you prefer to keep a diary online, there are plenty of free software programs and sites that let you do just this.  Have a search using Google.

Tip 3:  Schedule yourself no more than single one hour slots for working at any one time, more so if you are sat in front of a computer.  It is a well known fact that productivity, and more importantly, the quality of that productivity decreases the more time you are sat in front of your workstation.  If you can, take time away from the screen, go for a walk, or make a coffee, and give yourself at least 15 minutes.  When you return, you will feel refreshed and ready to go again.

Tip 4:  Turn off your social network instant updates, and Instant Messaging software (if it is not essential to your business).  It is nice to have a chat with an old friend who hasn't been online for a while, but there is a time and a place for these activities.

Tip 5:  Don't wander. Focus on completing one task at a time, don't start another task until the first task is completed, otherwise you run the risk of having a number of incomplete jobs still to do.  Completing a whole task before moving to another task also gives you a great sense of satisfaction, and will motivate you to complete even more tasks, as naturally, you want to reproduce that feel good feeling that you have just experienced.

Tip 6:  Congratulate yourself.  If you have just completed a task, give yourself a 10 minute break (as long as the task you have just completed is not a 5 minute job of course).  A long and laborious task can often have a negative impact on motivation levels and have a knock on effect for follow on tasks.

Tip 7:  Be realistic.  If you are using tips 1 and 2, set your to-do list up realistically.  If you set yourself too much work, and you do not complete it, this again can have a negative impact.

Tip 8:  Schedule certain things for certain times of the day. For instance, only check emails first thing in the morning, and then after lunch.  If you are doing things like constantly getting sidetracked by doing things that are repetitive, bulk process them in one sitting and not reply to them throughout the day.


The Clock is Always Ticking