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.
Emili Vesilind is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles and a contributor to the Daily Beast, the Los Angeles Times and Women's Wear Daily, among others.