By Willie Crawford
If you're like me, good time
management skills and tools
are an absolute necessity. We often
have so many "alligators
snapping out our heels" that we don't
know where to start.
Here's my "extreme time management system." Adopt it as your
own and you'll feel like you've gained several hours a day.
It's how I squeeze 26 hours out of every day.
The system calls for extreme organization and a lot of
discipline. It's NECESSARY for me. This is the system that
allows me to run an affiliate program, manage 22 websites,
publish a weekly ezine, publish 2 daily niche lists, visit
an average of 15 discussion forums a day (3 of which I help
moderate), write 2 new ezine articles per week, process over
800 emails a day, do off-line consulting, fit in a daily
workout, and still find time to spend with my family and
The system has 2 parts - organization and discipline.
First the discipline. The discipline is nothing more than
following a few simple, self-imposed rules. These rules are:
1) Whenever opening any email (or snail mail) process it
right then. That simply means replying to the email or adding
it to your "to-do" list (in a specific place) if it will fit
into your schedule better later. Make notes in your organizer
of any correspondence that may need tracking. Add any new contact
to your contact database if appropriate. If the email contains
a gem for an article or post, make a note in your organizer or
even make an online post. If the email contains any data you
will need to refer to later such as website urls or passwords,
enter them into your cross-referenced database.
Every time that you read an email, you have to decide what
needs to be done with the information. Making and acting on
that decision once is an amazing time-saver! If you don't do
this, then you have to go through the exact same decision
process the next time that you examine the email.
2) Whenever presented with any task, ask if it makes sense
for you to do it or if you're better off hiring someone else to
do it. We have to recognize our skills and get others to do
those things that would cost us too much time and energy.
Some things are better done by professionals we can hire or
even family members we can get to pitch in. Learning to
delegate and "farm out" chores is essential to getting any
significant job done.
3) Identify what are the most important tasks you need to get
done FIRST and then do first things first. Balance is also
necessary here because things like exercise and maintaining
personal relationships must be priorities. I schedule these
right into my day. I print out my to-do list and refer to
it often to avoid getting sidetracked.
4) Learn to say no when appropriate. Realize that with this
system you can do much more in the same time but, there is a
limit to what you should obligate yourself to do. Don't
get into the habit of taking on more obligations than you can
possibly accomplish. As you get known online you will soon
discover yourself being asked to review numerous websites,
ebooks, and pieces of software. Politely decline when you
have all you can currently handle. This allows you to
focus and get more tasks actually completed!
After mastering the discipline required, organization is a
MUST. I have one primary tool that keeps me extremely
organized. It's a piece of software called the Internet
Information Manager. If you have ever spent half an hour
sifting through emails looking for a url or password you'll
find this tool an answer to your prayer. If you have ever
searched frantically for an email so that you could
intelligently respond to another email, you will appreciate
this tool. If you have ever tried to remember the name of an
individual, website, or ezine associated with a particular
project, you'll absolutely love this tool.
What is this Internet Information Manager? It's a piece
of software you install on your computer that allows you
to store all of the information you use frequently in one
place. Everything from projects, to articles, to contacts,
to website urls are stored in a cross-referenced database.
It is my big organization and productivity secret. I've
used it for a while - as I tinkered with the beta version.
It's now such a part of my daily system that I wonder how
I ever got along without it. If my computer is turned on,
this tool is open. You need a similar tool. I use it to: