The Moonlighting Time Crunch and How To Beat It

Jun 4 21:00 2002 Elena Fawkner Print This Article

The ... Time Crunch and How To Beat It © 2002 Elena Fawkner If you're in the paid ... and toying with the idea of starting a home business so that one magic day you can tell your boss w

The Moonlighting Time Crunch and How
To Beat It

© 2002 Elena Fawkner

If you're in the paid workforce and toying with the idea of
starting a home business so that one magic day you can
tell your boss what you REALLY think of him or her,Guest Posting you
have a rough patch to get through first. The time crunch
that comes with running your business on the side in your
already non-existent spare time while you continue working
in your job until the business is generating enough of an
income to allow you to quit.

It's tough being a moonlighter, as many of you reading this
know only too well. Here are some ideas to help you beat
the time crunch.


Before you can begin planning how to make the most
effective use of your time, understand where it goes.

An activity log is a good way of identifying black holes that
can be turned into productive time. Keep a log for a
typical week. Just write down everything you do for that
week. Be sure to include everything: getting ready for work,
eating meals, taking breaks, travelling to and from work,
grocery shopping, telephone calls, faxes, emails, casual
chats, work activities, reading, making meals, watching
TV, whatever.


Your activity log will identify, in excruciating detail, exactly
how much time you are squandering each week ... valuable
time that you could be putting to productive use in a home
business. You may find that you're spending 16 hours a
week watching TV, for example. That's two whole business
days right there.

So identify those time wasters and kill them off. A time
waster is any thing that doesn't make a worthwhile
contribution (proportionate to the time you spend on it) to
your work, your business or your personal wellbeing. If it
doesn't make a contribution to one of these three areas,
dump it or delegate it.


The more efficient you are on the job, the more easily you
will be able to free up work time for business-related activities.
You can't be too obvious about it, of course, but so long as
you're on top of your work responsibilities, you can buy yourself
some time to take care of some of your business-related

Paradoxically, studies have shown that moonlighters who
'cheat' by squeezing in business activities alongside their
work activities are often more effective in their day jobs
because they work harder than they normally would to keep
from getting caught. One word of caution, though. It's
generally a BAD idea to choose for your business something
that competes with your employer's business. Such an
arrangement is rife with conflicts.


If you've followed the above steps, you should by now have
a reasonably good idea of how much time you have available
to you and what activities are going to serve your business,
work and personal needs.

Now it's time to schedule everything you need to accomplish.
You may choose to do this on a daily, weekly or monthly basis,
it's up to you. I recommend though that you start out by
creating daily "to do" lists until you get used to the discipline
of managing your time effectively.

Make a list of everything you would like to accomplish today.
This includes business, work and personal. Now prioritize those
activities in order of necessity, importance and urgency. When
thinking about priorities, make sure that if you run out of time
today, what doesn't get done is something that can wait until

In addition to scheduling your activities, allocate realistic
time periods within which to complete them. By setting a time
limit for these tasks, you will force yourself to lift your pace to
get them done in the time alloted which in turn will force you to
become more productive. It will also help you discipline yourself
not to allow distractions to get in the way.

When scheduling, work with your effectiveness level as much
as you can. Schedule important tasks that require creativity
and clear-thinking for your most alert period of the day.
Routine or mundane tasks can be slotted into low energy/low
concentration periods.

Also, try and maintain and influence your energy levels with
diet and rest. A high carbohydrate breakfast will keep the
brain supplied with sugars for the early part of the day. But
by mid-morning, you may experience a sugar slump so get
into the habit of having a mid-morning snack to avoid this. A
banana will do the trick. Some people swear by protein (such
as an egg) at breakfast to delay the energy dip. Experiment
until you find what works best for you.

Still on the subject of diet, if you want to have a productive
afternoon avoid large lunches because they divert blood from
the brain and to digestion. If you've ever felt like taking a nap
after lunch, that's why. Also, don't drink alcohol at lunchtime
because it's a sedative. All you'll want to do is go to sleep.
Not very conducive to a productive afternoon's work.


Focus on results, not on being busy. You are, I'm sure,
familiar with the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20
rule. The Pareto Principle says that 80% of unfocused effort
generates only 20% of results and the remaining 80% of
results are achieved with only 20% of effort. Focus on the
results you are wanting to achieve and look for ways to work
more efficiently.


No doubt your activity log revealed an amazing amount of
time taken up with distractions. Distractions can take many
forms but let's look at three major ones: email, telephone calls
and casual visitors.

=> Email

Check your non-work (i.e. non-job) email only once or twice
a day and deal with each item only once. That means reading it,
responding to it, filing it for later review or trashing it. Don't
leave it sitting in your inbox once you've opened it or you'll
forget what it is and waste time rereading it probably several
times over.

=> Telephone Calls

Be disciplined with telephone calls. Have an agenda before
dialing and stick to it. Be clear in your own mind the purpose
of your call and the outcome you want. It's also a good idea to
schedule "telephone time" if you can manage it. This is an hour
or so every day when you make and return phone calls.

=> Casual Visitors

Discourage chatty drop-in visitors by getting up from your
desk, continuing to appear busy, not having convenient
visitors' chairs (drape your coat over them or pile them up
with papers) or by saying something like, "Joe can I get back
to you on whatever it is once I'm done here? I'm under the


Get out of the habit of feeling bad about declining requests
from people to take on tasks that will erode even further the
precious little time you have available. Now, if it's your boss
and what you're being asked to do falls within your job
description, you obviously have no choice, but do you really
need to be on yet another committee?


Time spent waiting for an appointment or when you're
travelling can be put to productive use. Use that 15 minutes
you're waiting in the doctor's surgery to sketch out some
article ideas, write some classified ads or answer email. Same
thing when you're travelling. If you're travelling by air, try and
get a seat that will allow you to work. That may mean an
emergency exit or a bulkhead seat, for example. Any seat
that will allow you to work on your laptop comfortably is worth
the effort.


This one is a no-brainer. If you get up just one hour earlier
each day, you effectively create another 365 hours a year.
That's more than 45 working days. You could create a brand
new website in only 10 working days. You could write the
outline of a novel in the same time period. At least think about


Consider learning how to speed read to save time on your
business reading. Alternatively, learning more effective
reading strategies to extract the required information most
efficiently is another time saver.

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about how
you can save time and create time in your day. By putting
these principles to work and constantly testing your activities
against the yardstick "does this make a worthwhile
contribution to my work, business or personal wellbeing?",
you will quickly develop a radar for time wasters and begin to
eliminate them from your life. By simplifying your life in this
way you will be amazed at how much more you are able to
accomplish in the time available to you and your dream of
giving up your day job for your own full-time business will
become a reality much sooner than you would have ever
thought possible.


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Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ...
practical business ideas, opportunities and solutions for the
work-from-home entrepreneur.

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Elena Fawkner
Elena Fawkner

Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ...
practical business ideas, opportunities and solutions for the
work-from-home entrepreneur.

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