Today, we have a post from personal finance blogger Harry Campbell. Harry started blogging about personal finance on his main site Your PF Pro a few years ago and enjoyed it so much that he started a second site dedicated to finding the perfect work-life balance at The Four Hour Work Day. When Harry is not blogging, he works full time as an aerospace engineer and enjoys surfing and playing beach volleyball.
Many of us have big financial goals we’re striving for, like re-paying thousands of dollars worth of debt or gaining financial independence. But there are only so many ways to cut expenses and trim the fat from your budget. In order to come up with a little extra cash to put toward these kinds of goals there are a lot of people pursuing ways to earn more.
Creating multiple income streams is the way to go if you want to fast-track your way to financial success. Theoretically, your earning potential is unlimited – there’s no limit to how much you can earn if you’re capable of leveraging your skills and abilities to generate higher and higher incomes. Another important factor to consider is how you leverage your time.
We all have 24 hours in a day, and yet some of us seem to have an easier time of doing more with those hours than others. Learning how to manage your time effectively in order to stay productive is a huge consideration when it comes to determining how successful your side businesses, hustles, or gigs will be.
With that in mind, here are 5 ways to do more with your day so you can manage your time wisely and stay on top of all the ways you earn a little extra money to fund your financial dreams:
- 1. Step Back. It sounds a little counter-intuitive, but to learn good time management you need to first put on the brakes and look at the big picture. Evaluate how you’re currently spending your time. Does a 30 minute lunch break turn into 2 hours of TV-watching or Internet surfing? Are you losing time because you actually have no clue how long certain things take or how many minutes and hours you spend on everything you’re doing?Treat your time like you would your money. Start tracking it and examine where it goes each and every day. Then, work to eliminate the waste and refocus on what’s actually important and what will get your closer to your goals.
- 2. Schedule Your Days. If you have a hard time keeping track of all that you need to do, or find that you can’t stay focused throughout the day, make a schedule. Use a tool like Google Calendar, viewing your days in the “week” or “4 days” mode. Then, break down tasks by the hour or half-hour and assign yourself something to do in each time slot. For example, if you have a blog post that needs to be written, maybe you’ll add an event to the calendar that says “write blog post” and schedule it for 8am to 9am. That way you know what you need to do and you can stay on track to get it done when you told yourself you would.
- 3. Take Care of the “Non-Negotiables.” If having a detailed schedule is too confining, consider establishing three non-negotiable tasks every day. These tasks have to be completed by the end of the day, no exceptions. This will force you to prioritize what’s important, and will get you motivated to make sure you can cross them off each day’s to-do list.
- 4. Eliminate Distractions. Stop trying to work in front of the TV. Accept that you can’t get serious work done if your spouse is chatting on the phone in the next room and you can’t tune them out. Create a quiet, effective workspace – preferably one that has a door you can shut when you need to seriously focus and concentrate. You’re wasting time by allowing distractions to keep you from being as productive as you need to be. If you feel bad about shutting yourself up away from your family in order to work, consider this: if you’re in a space where you can just work, no distractions, you’re likely to complete necessary tasks much faster, which means you can finish up and then give your family your undivided attention. It’s a win-win for everyone.
- 5. Be Okay with Saying “No.” If there’s a client you hate, a project that is taking up a ton of time and will offer a tiny payout, or a task you can’t stand to do – just say no. Drop these negative, energy-draining commitments as soon as possible (and in a professional manner). Your time is valuable and you’ll regain so much of it if you cut off toxic projects or clients. You’ll also feel happier, more energized, and capable of tackling the stuff you actually enjoy.