Having a web site and being visible on the net can be really exciting. After years of hard, but interesting work it can reward with a million dollars or simply fall into oblivion. The only way to keeping head above water is continuously provide a value for visitors and investing time to a site from day to day.
For many of us a web site is not a primary work. Sometimes we can spend a lot of time for a website, while other important tasks remain incomplete. But another time we have a lot of other work and can forget about site for weeks or even months. Thus to get everything done we are working other time and can’t bother about anything else. We can’t take a rest, can’t spend more time with the family and friends, we can’t do anything other than work. This leads to stress and unsatisfied life.
But wait. There is a way to make life better. We can find a time for everything we need. Really few time management principles can bring our lives to success and improve site ownership to really profitable and fascinating work.
Set up your goals: long term and short term
To make life better, first of all you need to know what is “better” personally for you. Where do you want to be next week, next quarter, next 2 years, or even next 20 years (if you young enough :-). You must decide for yourself what are you wanting from your life, and why you are still where you are.
Do not lazy planning
Napoleon told what only properly planned things can produce the desired result. Don’t ignore this principle and invest time for planning. Remember, mussing is not planning. I like classic citation: “Sometimes I sit and think and sometimes I just sit”. Usually this phenomenon can eat much of our time. If you found yourself mussing, switch to another work, look at the window or simply relax your eyes.
Update your plans according to reality regularly.
If you can’t plan, just track
Watch for yourself if you can’t plan anything this time, you will be able to comeback to planning later. Just track what you are doing on paper, excel sheet or using task management software. Update at least hourly, not at the end of a day. This will help found common interrupters and recurring tasks, thus you can plan these things in the future.
Look at your time journal and try to find things that don’t really need to be done, things what could be done by someone else, work what can be done more effectively or quickly, actions what wastes others’ time.
You can download a simple time tracking template here.
Reuse others experience or mimic their steps in achieving similar goals
Huge part of promoting and maintaining websites seems very similar for most site owners. It includes search engine optimization, public relations, some sort of paid advertisement, keeping original content and many other things. If we decided seriously engaging in this business we need to pay attention to every detail. It is not possible without proper planning. Why not go on the road what others web masters went? We can reuse experience and “go in their shoes” to success, simply reusing proven plans widely available on the net.
Collect all tasks in a to do list
Sometime we don’t have anything to do, but later we remember a lot of important tasks, which automatically became urgent. To avoid such situations the only way is collecting tasks in the to-do list. Add tasks to a list whenever it comes from your mind or colleague. If you can’t access computer, don’t remember the task, write it down on a scratch or any other media. Transfer it to the main list when possible.
Estimate every task, set deadlines for yourself. This will help you to avoid doing things at the last minute.
Drucker Dictum told: “Doing things right is not as important as doing the right things”. In web development or promoting a site it is possible to spend a lot of time for tasks what produce insufficient value or even do not produce it at all for achieving desired goals. There is no silver bullet what can shoot all prioritization cases, but few tips can help:
- Rate tasks in a matter of distance to achieving most important goals. Reflect on things what you doing at a moment. Is it worth time spent?
- If someone else dependent on specific task then do it first.
- For equal tasks set priorities using task difficulty: routine tasks first.
Delegate when feasible
If you know people around you, who is available to take a part of your work, do not hesitate to delegate it. Give objectives, not procedures, require responsibility, accountability. Describe task clearly. Provide an example of satisfied result.
The following rules can be used to determine delegate specific task or not:
- Will he/she do it better or quickly than you? If yes, no doubt, delegate it.
- Will you commit a task to somebody if you have more important tasks to do? If yes, delegate it.
- Is available person can complete a work without your assistance when you are out of office? If yes, delegate it.
Perfect is not better than good
When writing an article, for example, it is more important to finish in time than worry about perfect words. Get the whole picture done and you can add or improve details later.
Split difficult tasks in bite-sized pieces
People usually avoid difficult tasks. Break them down into small steps. Complete manageable chunks and soon you will notice what problem resolved. Very helpful approach is adding “how to test” to each task. This will setup a micro goal and will allow determining task completion.
Identify your time wasters
Usually we deal with people around us. This can be our colleagues, friends or kin. They are bothering or gladdening you in various ways. They can contact you directly or via phone, instant messaging or email. This leads to interruptions as well as time spending. Interruption of 6 – 9 minutes will take additional 4 – 5 minutes of recovering. Five interruptions will shoot an hour. You must reduce frequency and length of interruptions. But you can’t firewalling yourself or ignore others. For example ignoring wife phone calls will be over really badly for you 😉 The only way to reduce such time spending is investigation of repeatable time wasters. If you know the whole picture you can decide where to save and where you don’t.
Plan times for relaxation and recreation
Keith Frayn, professor of human metabolism at Oxford University, told TV Plus: “Any normal person could survive for up to 60 days without food on just water.” Without sleep people can break much quickly. In 1964 high school student Randy Gardner attempted to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest time awake – 260 hours. Stanley Coren describes the day-by-day impact on Randy in the book Sleep Thieves, as documented by John Ross of the US Navy Medical europsychiatric Research Unit in San Diego. Randy had trouble focusing his eyes on day 2, hallucinations on day 4, and slurred speech and a short attention span by the last day.
Do not expect high productivity if you tired. Sleep recharges our brains and helps us think more clearly. Plan your day adequately, do not save on sleeping.
Web site owners are usually sitting 8 hours a day and more in a work place near computer. This leads to emotional and physical diseases as well. One of our exposed organs is eyes. Looking to the monitor for a long time, even expensive one, will ruin our eyesight. To reduce pernicious influence for our eyes there are many techniques of eyes training. Type “training eyes” in google and find suitable training for you. Schedule it daily, just before a dinner, or to any other convenient time.
We are all expecting a reward or praise for completed work. Lack of reward will kill our desire to work what leads to reduced productivity. This is why we prefer working for others than doing something for ourselves. Promise yourself a reward for completing each task or finishing the total job. For example let yourself watch an interesting movie when you finish developing page or new promotion plan.
This list of time management tips is just a starting point to the new improved life. Leading by these principles from day to day will show a way to successful career, robust health and welfare.
My university teacher always told me, what every detail is important. In most cases if we did not achieve something, this happens due a little, but important thing, what we forgot or skipped. Help yourself reaching your dreams. Avoid chaotic motion, plan and manage your life time.