Time Management Tips - Developing Good Email HabitsTime is your most precious resource when you work from home on the Internet. If your Internet connection goes down or your computer blows up, the situation can be remedied but if you waste time, it is gone forever. If you fail to develop effective time management techniques you will all too often find that the hours you had intended to use productively have evaporated without trace. Time, although free, is valuable and it is irreplaceable: every second is unique and should be treated as an important asset. You will only manage to save time if you plan and employ your own personal time management strategy. We all have different demands being made upon our time, so managing to save time will be achieved in different ways by each of us. There is, however, one sure way anyone working at home online can manage to save time and that is by modifying the way we treat our email.
The trouble with working online is that your email is always just a click or two away at any time during your working day. If you were running an offline business from home, your day would be centered away from your computer and you would have to make a conscious decision about when and how often to check your email. When you are already sitting at your pc and connected to the Internet, it is just too easy to forget all about time management techniques and develop bad email habits. If you use the following time management strategy, you will maintain control of your working hours and find that you can easily get more done in less time.
1. Set an email schedule for yourself. Make it a rule only to check your inbox two or three times a day and set a strict time limit (ten or fifteen minutes per session is about right) on how long you spend dealing with email.
2. Don''t check your email as soon as you power up your computer at the start of any work session. You will be at your most alert and creative during the first hour of work. Use this time to complete more complicated or difficult tasks.
3. Don''t have your email alert permanently on to notify you as soon as an email hits your mailbox. This will serve to distract you while you are working and tempt you to abandon the schedule you have planned.
4. Deal with each email as soon as you read it. Flagging an email and going back to it to send your reply makes double the work. The only time you should permit yourself to do this is if you need to do some research before you reply.
5. Use your bookmark function. You are bound to get emails that contain a link to a website. Maybe you have subscribed to interesting online news letters or they could be offers of useful ebooks or tools. The time you have allocated to your email session should be used solely for reading and replying to emails. Bookmark any of the sites that appear worthy of further investigation and schedule time for a visit. This is the most dangerous part of dealing with emails: all commercial emails will have a "hook" with which to catch you, drag you into a black hole and make your time disappear. You must be alert to this so that you can unhook yourself and visit these websites at a time you decide is best for your schedule.
Developing good time management techniques is not difficult. You do, however, need to be constantly on your guard against temptations which might make you forget your time management strategy. Developing good habits and curing bad ones is the foundation of effective time management techniques.
Elaine Currie is an author and the owner of the Best Free Work At Home Directory for work at home ideas.