If you are trying to build an Internet business in your spare time while holding down a full time job, the only way to keep up momentum will be to adopt good time-management practices and develop a micro-planning strategy so that you know what you have to do at any given time of the day and can mentally prepare for it.
To make good use of any dead time in your day, look at how much time you’ll have available to work on your business and how energetic – or not – you are likely to be. Then allocate the most suitable task to that slot in your schedule.
With micro-planning, it is neither advisable nor feasible to plan more than 48 hours ahead. That is not to say that you should abandon making weekly and monthly macro-plans. Micro-planning is all about filling in the gaps in your day with appropriate tasks in order to keep your sideline Internet business (or whatever) moving forward in spite of your main commitments. To do that successfully you need to be able to predict with reasonable accuracy how you are likely to feel and how likely your
schedule is to change.
To squeeze full value out of micro-planning, draw up a set of lists of the various kinds of job that can be done in different time frames and on different energy levels. For example, tasks that use up a lot of creative energy should be reserved for those days when you have generous periods of free time and are likely to have sufficient energy to get them done. Personally, I recommend early mornings for those kinds of tasks – things like writing articles, creating sales letters, designing websites and so on. Jobs like that should be placed on the “high energy/plenty of time” list.
On the other hand, low input jobs that don’t require much time or energy to complete should be placed on a second “low energy/quick and easy” list. Tasks such as social networking, posting comments on forums and blogs, responding to e-mail, surfing traffic exchanges for credits, posting classified ads and so forth are ideally suited for those short, low energy time slots.
The photo of a page from my schedule earlier this month illustrates my micro-planning technique in action. I am a freelance English language teacher and teach various types of classes in various locations around town. Between the gaps in my teaching day I added various tasks that I thought I could realistically get done, and have checked them off as I did them. Okay, I admit I photographed one of my more successful weeks when I was able to maintain high energy and motivation levels for several days in a row.
Things do not always go so well, but even so, micro-planning makes it much more likely that you will do more to maintain momentum for your side-business during a busy week at the office, in the classroom, shop, factory, or coalface.