Etsy Shop Help: Effective Time Management for a Home Based Business

Etsy Shop Help Effective Time Management for a Home Based Business by Beth Hemmila

When you own an Etsy shop and it's your sole business that you work from home, it's up to you to effectively manage your time. Ultimately managing your time will be a key ingredient in  determining how successful you are at your business.

Use a Calendar
In the beginning, I tried using an electronic version of a calendar for Hint Jewelry. I used Google's gmail calendar because I had used Outlook so religiously in my last job; however, for some reason the electronic calendar never worked for me. Instead for the past 6 years, I have used a physical day planner that lets me scribble down notes. I like the physicality of my calendar, and how it feels like a journal where I jot down creative ideas and plans. Whatever you prefer, electronic or paper, make sure it's accessible, and you use it daily to plan ahead for your business.

Set Time Limits on Digital Information
You can waste a lot of valuable work time surfing the Internet or interacting on social media if you don't come up with concrete parameters for how you are going to utilize the Web. Write down a marketing plan for how long you are going to spend reading news, blogging, and connecting on social media. I set daily time limits for 15 -30 minutes so I don't lose track of what's most important in my life. These time limits also encourage me to create genuine and meaningful connections on digital media. If you struggle to stick to these time limitations, use a timer to keep you on track.

Create a Daily Agenda
In your calendar have at least 3 things you want to accomplish for the day and then do them. Make sure they are doable, but also include harder and harder tasks that you have been avoiding so you start creating momentum. I have a "Procrastination List." These are things I don't feel skilled at doing or have know clue where to start. I promise myself I will complete at least one of these tasks from the list per week so I stop avoiding them. By giving myself a week to complete each of these seemingly impossible tasks, I make them less overwhelming.

Create a Daily Routine
If you work from home, you need to set a routine for when to get up in the morning and when you end for the day. In the beginning, it might feel good to have a flexible schedule where you can wake up at 11am and then end the day at 9pm, but this will eventually lead to time being squandered on unnecessary things. Set a schedule for how best you work and then stick to it. This routine will help you stay motivated and focused. Also, by coming up with an end time you will allow yourself rest and recuperation.

Reduce, Eliminate, or Delegate Tasks
Evaluate your business for tasks that are taking up too much of your time. Is there some way you can reduce, eliminate, or delegate tasks? Can you reduce the amount of time it takes to package something? Can you eliminate certain products that aren't working or cost too much money and time? Can you delegate marketing, advertising, or manufacturing to outside sources?

Set Long Range Goals & Work Incrementally
Look ahead 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 1 year with your business. What do you want to be doing? What are your long range goals? What projects do you want to complete? What tasks will be important? What marketing plans need to be put in place? Be sure to look ahead and plan strategically how you will be accomplishing these goals. Work incrementally on these goals so you don't become overwhelmed and continually ask yourself: "What are the next steps?"

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