Guest post from Carrie of Natural Mom Talk Radio
Every work-at-home-mom wants to maximize her time online. Whether you are a blogger, virtual assistant, writer, or crafter, here are six tips that will help you get more done in less time when you boot up your computer:
1. Define Your Purpose
Before you even open your computer, know exactly what you’re going to accomplish and get right down to business.
I’m reminded of those movie scenes of medieval times when a traveler arrives at the gates of the city. Before he is allowed in, he must state his business. Doing so will help you avoid aimlessly checking email, social media accounts, and the like (who, me!?). Personally, I find it imperative to have a to-do list at my side so I don’t get sidetracked.
What are the steps you regularly take in your business? Are they paying off for you? Are your marketing efforts producing measurable results?
It’s important to track these things so you don’t waste time in unprofitable activities. For example, getting to know your website stats so you can see where your traffic is coming from is vital.
Another area to analyze is your own energy and productivity levels. In her book, 2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love, author Rachel Aaron said that she created a spreadsheet to track how much she wrote at various times of the day. She was shocked to discover that simply by changing her writing schedule a bit, she could produce far more words in the same amount of time.
3. Think Like Henry Ford
Henry Ford didn’t invent the car. He invented the assembly line, which made cars affordable, and that changed everything.
Mass production saves time, money and energy. How can you use the assembly line approach in your work? By batching similar activities together.
If you have a time slot to write an article and get on a roll, write two articles. Don’t check your email all day. Check it once or twice a day, when you’re actually at a computer and can answer emails.
Need to make some changes to your site? Wait until you have several tweaks, and do them all at once.
Brain researchers have told us that each time we have to switch gears mentally, we lose time and focus. So stay in flow. Multitasking doesn’t really work.
Tools like autoresponders, vacation response settings in email, signature lines, e-courses, FAQ pages on your website, scheduling posts in your blog, etc. are all wonderful pieces of technology that allow you to do something once and benefit from it over and over.
For instance, if you are a virtual assistant, you probably find that clients ask you the same questions over and over again. Copy and paste those into an FAQ page on your website to save yourself time. If you’re in direct sales and have a downline, train them all at once using Google Hangout, webinars, teleseminars and such.
5. Identify Your Shiny Objects
In some way, we’re like that dog in the movie Up. (Squirrel! ) We get distracted by shiny objects online. Maybe it’s email, Twitter, visiting message forums, reading too many blogs, Facebook or Pinterest — oh, don’t get me started on Pinterest!
You might just have to eliminate some of your social media accounts if they aren’t anything more than a distraction. Consider using some of the free software available to help you block these, because here’s the honest truth: Anything that doesn’t directly earn you income needs to be done in your free time, after money-making activities.
6. Use a Timer
If you have young kids, you probably know the power of the timer. The timer keeps your preschooler in time out. The timer tells your impatient child “how much longer?!” until something happens. Etc. Why not utilize the mysterious power of the timer on yourself?
If it currently takes you 45 minutes to write a blog post (which you should know from the “analyze” portion), challenge yourself. Set the timer for 35 minutes then hit publish. If you have only an hour to work while hubby plays with the baby, set a timer for 45 minutes and work quickly, then check email and Twitter.
These are a few of the tips that have helped me to stay focused and get more done online… do you have anything else to add to my list?
Carrie, a wife and mom to seven lively kids, writes about homeschooling, practical frugality and natural parenting at Natural Mom Talk Radio. She is the author of the ebook, Slash Your Grocery Budget *and* Eat a Whole Foods Diet with ALDI.