Multi-tasking is a Myth: Make Quality Time For Your Business

Regardless of why you started your coupon clipping service you’re here because you’ve reached the point where you want your business to grow. But if you want your business to produce an income comparable to what you’d earn with a full-time job – or more – then you need to give it your full-time attention.

Coupon-clipping is a work-at-home business. Let me repeat that so you’ll remember it: Coupon-clipping is a work-at-home business. Now look closely. See these 3 little words: Work? Home? And Business? Yeah. They don’t mix well, do they?

Because you work at home you think you can, and should, also be doing the laundry, the shopping, preparing dinner, running the kids here and there, and getting a little vacuuming done, too. Your family thinks you can babysit and take charge of the holiday meal. Your friends think you can chat over coffee or meet up for lunch.

When you work at home, nobody takes your business seriously – including you.

 

But here’s the thing: If you want your business to be successful, then you have to work. At home. A lot. And you need to focus on your work. At home. A lot.

 

Multitasking is a myth

 

Everyone likes to boast that they’re good at multitasking but it’s simply not true. Yes, you can fold laundry while quizzing your second-grader on his spelling words. Yes, you can call your mother while you’re throwing together a pot of chili. But those tasks don’t require your complete attention and they don’t require much brain power.

When it comes to something that requires your full attention, the human brain is only designed to focus on one task at a time. Go ahead and test it. Turn your TV on, if it isn’t on already. Now, focus on the conversation that’s going on on the television and at the same time read the following sentence:

When you work at home, nobody takes your business seriously – including you.

You can’t do it, can you? Oh, you may get the gist of both, but you couldn’t repeat every word The Nanny was saying to Mr. Sheffield and you probably can’t repeat the sentence above word-for-word without having to read it again.

And therein lies the problem with multitasking – You think you’re saving time by tackling two or more tasks at once but you’re actually wasting time. Why?

  • You miss something important that causes a mistake you have to take time to correct later
  • You have to keep going back to cover ground you’ve already covered

 

Your Task For Today: Carve Out Quality Time for your Business

 

Step One: Separate your Things-To-Do Lists

 

We all have two Things-To-Do Lists – Things we need to do for home and family, and things we need to do for our business. Separate the two.

 

Step Two: Prioritize

 

Without thinking about the time it’s going to take to complete any one task or the energy or focus you’re going to need, prioritize each of your Things-To-Do lists. What are the three things on each list that you most want to accomplish today and what are the three things on each list you could let go if you didn’t have time.

 

Step Three: Allocate your Time Accordingly

 

I get up at 4 AM every day so I can have a solid 3 hours of uninterrupted time to work on the money end of my business. This is the time I use to calculate how much money I need to send to vendors every day, track sales and expenses, answer emails and write newsletters and blog posts. Paying the vendors is always the first thing on my To-Do list and because we’re talking about your money and mine it requires my complete, undivided attention for accuracy.

At 7 AM it’s time to get the kids up for school. There’s breakfast, lunch-packing, teeth-brushing, dog-feeding, throwing in a load of laundry, vacuuming the living room and who knows what else going on and this is no time to be even thinking about trying to get any work done so I just don’t. For the next two hours I focus on home and family-related tasks.

At 9 AM I head to the clipping table and I have 4 solid uninterrupted hours to focus on filling orders. And that’s exactly what I do – I focus on filling orders. Accurately. The first time.

At 1 PM I finish up my business day by answering more emails, closing out orders and getting my To-Do list ready for the next day. If it’s been an exceptionally productive day I reward myself with an hour of General Hospital.

At 3 PM the kids come home from school and it’s back to home and family, some R&R and a cold Miller Lite.

Today I want you to look at your To-Do Lists and plan to use your time wisely. Look at your top three priorities on each list:

  • How much time will it take you to accomplish that task? Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t take as long as you thought it would. Once you stop multitasking and start focusing you’ll find all kinds of time you didn’t know you had.
  • What is the best time to perform that task so you can do it right the first time? Does it require laser-sharp focus or can you stand a few distractions, like kids, dogs or laundry?

If you allocated two hours for uploading new listings, don’t do anything but upload those new listings. Ignore the phone. Don’t look at email. Forget about laundry and dinner and focus. You’ll be amazed at how many listings you can upload in two hours if you’re not trying to do something else at the same time.

 

Let’s have some fun with this!

 

Give yourself 4 tasks to accomplish today, 2 from each list.  For example:

  1. Wash, dry, and put away 1 load of laundry
  2. Make a pot of chili from scratch
  3. Clip 20 orders
  4. Upload 20 new listings

Today, try to accomplish all 4 tasks at the same time.  Throw the laundry in the washing machine and go brown the hamburger.  Stop and clip an order or two and then upload a couple of listings.  Go put the clothes in the dryer, stop by the kitchen and chop your onions and green peppers and stir them into the pot.  Clip a couple more orders and upload 2 listings.

Time yourself to see how long it takes you to complete all 4 tasks and then take a close look at each completed project to see how well you performed.

Tomorrow, do the same thing over again but focus on one task at a time, from start to finish.  How much time did it take you, in total, to complete all four tasks and how much better was your performance?

Now, share your surprising results in the comments below!