Managing Your Time

Matt Mickiewicz

Your most valuable asset is your time. Managing it correctly can literally mean the difference between online success or failure.

Because there are so many things to do on the Internet, it’s very easy to get distracted, and lose track of the original task that you set out to accomplish. Just while writing this tutorial I received four ICQ messages and five emails, all from different people. The Internet is an excellent resource, and efficient method of communication, but it can also become one huge distraction that’ll zap away your time.

Follow these tips to make the most out of every minute:

1.) Deal with Email, Quickly

Learning to mange your email is one of the first things that you will have to learn to do in order to make the most out of your time. By using templates, filters, and spam killers you can greatly reduce the amount of time you have to spend slugging through your email. Get an advanced email program like Eudora Pro and learn to use all of its features. Although it may take some time initially, the payoff in the long run is tremendous.

Learn everything that you need to know by reading Managing Your Email.

2.) Remain Focused

Don’t get distracted from your goal. Write yourself a Post-It note that reads "Is this helping my website?" and stick it onto your monitor. Whenever you’re reading a website, answering an email, or doing anything else on the computer, ask yourself that question. If the task at hand isn’t increasing traffic, improving your website, or growing your business/revenue in another way, then it’s probably not worth doing.

Of course you should also set aside some time to do some fun stuff.

3.) Set a Schedule

Buy yourself a notebook (the non-electronic type — remember paper?), and use it keep a list of all the tasks that you need to do, and a rough due date. Number the tasks in order of importance and start tackling them.

In my notebook, in addition to keeping a list of things that need to be done, I keep lists of things that I want to review, and general ideas about what I could do to improve the site.

Note: It’s important to give yourself a short break every hour or so. Studies show that you’re most alert, and most productive in the first half an hour after a short break. Therefore, you’ll get more done if you schedule short breaks into your working hours, than if you simply keep working.

4.) Automation

The great thing about computers is that they can work all day and all night doing boring, repetitive tasks. On the Internet, automation is achieved through CGI Scripts. A great source for scripts is CGI-Resources.com . I recommend that you browse through the index on that site occasionally, looking for scripts that would make your life easier and save you time. You might even consider learning to program in PERL yourself, so that you can write your own time-saving scripts. A great tutorial for the non-programmer can be found at CGI101.com . If you constantly find yourself doing the same task, ask yourself if there’s a way that you can automate it.

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