Tracking Your Personal Time
Sue was a web designer who worked from home. She found herself very distracted and didn’t feel she was as productive as she could be. At a friend’s urging, Sue began using a time tracker to track her personal time. She was amazed to see how much time she was filling with minor tasks (like checking Facebook on her phone and surfing Pinterest). Tracking personal time is really essential if you plan on having a successful business.
If you haven’t done it before, you should try tracking your time, too. The results can be surprising and like Sue, you may discover you could be far more productive…
Tracking Personal Time Takes About 2 Weeks
Think of time tracking like a budget. Your hours are your dollars. By tracking them you can see where your money (in this case your time) is really going. Then you can make adjustments to your schedule depending on what you learn.
Plan to spend at least two weeks tracking your time. If you only track your time for a day or two, you’re not going to get a complete picture of what your habits and routines really look like. This can lead you to under-estimate the time you need to do certain tasks (like finish a big project).
Do Quick Check-Ins
Tracking your personal time doesn’t have to be all-consuming. Instead, you can check-in with yourself 3-4 times a day to make a note of what you’ve been doing. A good idea is to plan to check-in after every meal. This gives you a chance to think about what you’ve done and what you plan to do in the coming hours.
Record everything no matter what. You wouldn’t splurge on a huge purchase then not budget for it, would you? This could lead to financial errors and other problems. It’s the same concept with your time. Acknowledge how you’ve spent it, even if you’re not proud of it.
Use a Physical Notebook
There are dozens of time trackers online. These can be useful when you have to track time for client projects. But it’s not so great when you’re tracking your personal time. If you go to record your time and find yourself distracted by social media or emails, you could definitely benefit from using a physical notebook instead.
Make It Fun For Yourself
So, when Sue started time tracking her personal time, she asked her friend to join her. Together they both began tracking their time. But instead of sharing their logs, they’d take selfies and send them to each other every hour. Cool huh?
It made the experience more enjoyable and kept both of them focused on being productive. You can do the same thing—send a quick selfie to a private Instagram account every hour for a visual record of how you’ve spent your time.
Look over Your Log
After you’re done with tracking your time, plan to have a review session the next day. Look over your logs and make notes about what you’d like to change now. Do you want to spend more time playing with your kids? Would you prefer to cut out Facebook and use that hour to work on eating healthier meals?
Time tracking can be a great way to see where you’re spending it well and where you can make some improvements. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself becoming more intentional with how you spend your hours!
Can’t seem to stay on track? Discover how to stay organized and save time when you download your free workbook!
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Stay on Track: Scheduling & Planning
One of the best ways to stay organized and keep on track with your projects is to create a monthly plan. Your monthly plan can be filled with notes about when to do your various tasks so you can smooth out your workflow (no more rushing to write that blog post at the last minute!).
Here are a few pointers to get you started…
Make a List of Recurring Tasks
Take some time to think about what recurring tasks you have to do for your clients each week. Do you log in to their WordPress blog and delete spam comments? Do you schedule their social media content including videos and pictures?
There may also be tasks you only do once a month for clients—like backing up their website or assigning work to other team members. Add these tasks to your list, too so you won’t forget them.
Schedule Recurring Tasks
Now that you know what you have to do each week or month, make space for it on your calendar. You can use a physical or digital calendar, depending on what you prefer. Digital calendars do give you a slight advantage since you can set reminder alerts so you never forget an important task again.
As you fill up your calendar, think about how long each task will take and build in some buffer time. For example, if you think you can write a blog post in twenty minutes, give yourself sixty instead.
Now, you have extra time if you realize you need to research a fact or interview a source.
Create a Checklist
Some recurring tasks may be big and complex. Maybe you’re a virtual assistant who uploads products to her client’s website. There’s a whole list of things you have to do to make this happen. You need to upload the product to Amazon S3, add it to aMember, set up a form in aMember, create a pickup page in WordPress, add the official sales page to the website, create an autoresponder series, etc.
With all of these tasks, it’s hard to know where to start. Use a checklist to help you stay organized. The next time you’re doing this task, note down every step you have to take along the way.
Now, doing this task in the future will be easy since you just have to open your checklist and get to work.
When you schedule recurring tasks on your calendar, you’ll be more likely to remember them and impress your clients. You’ll also feel less stress since you know exactly what to do to stay on track each month.
Learn how to boost your time management skills when you download your free workbook!
Contact me below if you need help with managing your time. I would love to help you with your time management.
Time Tracking for Your Clients
Casey was a virtual assistant who specialized in social media. She enjoyed working for clients but she was hired for a month or two then let go time after time. After noticing this pattern, Casey reached out to a friend in the virtual assistant industry who had spent years serving clients.
Dana, Casey’s friend, explained that often it’s hard for clients to understand exactly what their service provider is doing. “So, they paid you for ten hours of social media help but they don’t know what they purchased unless you tell them. At the end of the month, it’s hard to validate the money they’re paying since they aren’t sure what happened with it.”
Dana went on to recommend Casey do a few key things to improve her time tracking for clients.
Start with a Regular Report
Every week, send a brief email to your client and let them know what you did. Don’t say something vague like, “I spent three hours on your social media.” That doesn’t give the client an idea of what you were doing.
Instead, provide relevant details. You could say, “I spent one-hour uploading 15 posts to your social media scheduler. Then I researched popular Pinterest group boards. I followed the rules of each board then pinned your latest blog post so you can get more Pinterest traffic. I also updated the branding for your Facebook fan page with the new logo we discussed.”
After you share what you did, include any metrics that might be helpful. For example, you wrote a new blog post that resulted in two big sales for your client. Be sure to mention that in your week’s report.
Keep in mind that the results you measure should match the client’s goal. If the client’s goal is to become a social media influencer, then mention that their new video tweet got 103 RTs and 1.5K views on Instagram. If you’re not clear on what your client’s goal is, you need to talk with them. Figure out what it is they’re looking for and develop a strategy to help them achieve it.
Schedule a Review
As a service provider, you want to make sure that you’re spending your time on projects that matter to your client. It’s smart to request a 15-minute call every month. You and your client can use this time to review what you’ve been doing.
This monthly review ensures that you and your client are working toward the same goal. Your client might see what you’re working on and say, “Yes, do more of that please!” or she might say, “No, I want to change direction on this project.”
Tracking Your Time is Good
It’s not just clients who benefit from your time tracking—you do, too! Even if you’re doing an unpaid internship or bartering with someone, track your time.
Plotting how long it took you to complete a task can be helpful so you know how much time to budget for future projects. For example, tracking your time might reveal it takes you an hour to write a blog post but you always thought you could do it in 30 minutes. Now that you have this information, you can block off a full 60 minutes to write without feeling rushed or frazzled.
Casey took Dana’s advice. She started emailing her clients a weekly report and began getting more repeat jobs. This enabled her to spend less time marketing her business and more time doing what she loved—serving her clients.
Discover the best tools for tracking your time when you download your free workbook!
Need help? Check out my new Group Mentoring Program. It will help you in making decisions that will help you in your business.
The Best Tools for Time Tracking
Time tracking is a great way to ensure that projects stay on track while giving your clients peace of mind. But manually tracking it yourself can be difficult. It’s hard to remember to do it every time you start working on a project leading to inaccurate time estimates.
The solution is simple: stop tracking your time yourself. Instead, use a tool that monitors your time use for you. Then you can simply review it at the end of each day and make sure it’s accurate.
Here are a few of the best apps and software for your time tracking needs…
Account Sight allows you to track time for 5 clients and 5 projects. The great thing about this site is that it integrates with PayPal and QuickBooks. This means that you can easily track your time, invoice your clients, and update your earnings with just a few clicks. There’s both a free version and a paid upgrade that unlocks additional features that you may want to use.
Toggl makes it easy to see where your time is going at a glance. You can color code clients and projects, which turn into colorful charts and graphs. It also integrates with other productivity tools like Asana, Trello, Basecamp, and more.
Toggl has a free version that you can use for as long as you want. If you choose to upgrade, you’ll probably do it for access to the accounting features so you easily invoice clients and track your profits.
And a couple more:
Rescue Time is another app for your time tracking. It works differently than most tools. With Rescue Time, the program tracks what websites and apps you use throughout the day. It then gives you a productivity score each evening.
The cool thing about Rescue Time is that you can set specific activities to be categorized as “productive” or “distracting”. This can be helpful if you’re frequently on Facebook to update a client’s group or page. You can simply set Facebook to “productive” so your daily score is accurate. The app has both a free and a premium option if you want more in-depth tracking.
Trigger is an app that combines the power of time tracking with project management, resulting in robust software that lets you see at a glance what you need to do each day to stay on track with your projects.
Along with time sheets, you can use Trigger for online reports and automated invoices. It also integrates with Freshbooks, Zapier, Basecamp, Slack and more. You can get started with a free account but it’s limited to just 5 projects, so you may need to upgrade to a premium account later on.
Don’t get discouraged if the first app or software doesn’t seem to fit your needs. It can take a few weeks of testing out different apps until you find the one that works best for you and your business.
Find out how to track your time easily when you download your free workbook!
If you’re looking for help, just contact me using the form below:
Evaluating How You Use Your Time
Tracking your time for clients is a good practice for service providers. But don’t stop by just tracking it for clients. You should also be evaluating and tracking time for your own personal use, too. When you do this, you’ll discover important insights about your business that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
Here are a few questions you’ll want to ask after you’ve been tracking your time for a week or two…
Where Is My Time Really Going?
You’ve been working on launching your e-course for two months and you’re still nowhere near ready. But when you open up your time tracking app, you can quickly see that you spent 14 hours on Facebook or 9 hours tweaking the design of your website.
It’s easy to procrastinate when you don’t have any form of accountability. But a time tracker forces you to look at how you’ve been spending your time. This isn’t about shaming yourself. It’s about evaluating how you’re spending your time.
Instead, focus on being positive. You might say, “I spent ten hours on Facebook last week. What projects would I like to invest those ten hours into this week?”
Are These Tasks Giving Me a BIG Return?
You had a business coach tell you to make 10 Instagram posts each day and you’ve been following that advice faithfully. But when you stop and look at how you’ve spent this time, ask yourself, “Is this task giving me a BIG return?”
If you aren’t getting a good return on the time you’re investing, consider moving your attention to a project that will grow your business, like launching a course or hosting a webinar.
Do These Tasks Have to Be Done by Me?
Some digital business owners get bogged down in doing non-essential tasks that keep them from their important work. For example, if you’re a best-selling author then your most important work is writing that next book. But instead, you’re spending hours every week managing your Facebook group.
But what if you could outsource your community management? You could still pop in daily to stay connected to the group but you could focus all of your energy on that one thing you do well—writing your book. This is the right way you should be evaluating your time.
Is This Task Draining Me?
As you’re reviewing your time tracking, think about how you feel after you’ve completed each task. Did you feel energized and motivated after filming that Facebook Live broadcast? Did you feel frustrated and drained after working on your sales copy?
Pay special attention to tasks that take your energy. Try to find a way to avoid doing them. For example, you could hire a copywriter to handle your sales page or if your budget is tight, consider bartering with another service provider. Then you’ll both get to work in areas where you shine!
If you want to create more of what you want in your business and your life, tracking your time is important. The more you track your time, the better you’ll be able to manage it.
Find out which tools are the best for tracking your time when you download your free workbook!
Stay tuned for “The Best Tool for Time Tracking” on the next blog post.
Need help with Time Tracking? Contact me below for some FREE TIPS:
Do you Need a Mentor?
Are you feeling stuck in YOUR business? That’s ok, I think everyone feels stuck at some point. I’ve also felt stuck before in my business growth journey and I can tell you that there were one of the following things involved. Feelings are real, they affect your business because they affect YOU! Read up about what a feeling really is all about in this definition.
Not enough information
If I was inspired to do something, and I didn’t know where to get started, it was an easy way to feel stuck. The good thing is that this didn’t keep me stuck long once I learned to be resourceful – to find answers/solutions. You know that GOOGLE is MY best friend and it should be yours too!
This one is pretty easy to resolve considering there is so much information available at your fingertips, right?
The only challenge is…
Too much information…wha…wha…yes, you heard that right!
Early on in my business journey, I received some great advice from a mentor. She said; “Free information is great to solve simple problems”. “But if you want to really have a transformation – it means investing in a FULL solution/system with someone who already has solved what you want to solve”. Hummhumm…
And to take it a step further – find ONE mentor in that area to avoid the overwhelm of too much advice in the same area. It’s like asking directions from a bunch of different people. You only need one path/blueprint and begin taking action to get there. Don’t let your own personal feelings get in the way of making sound business decisions.
The only thing that will stop you here is…
Fear – yup – it’s a feeling!
Everyone has felt fear at some point, but the only difference is what do you do with it at that moment? You either can shrink to listen to the “False, Evidence, Appearing, Real” or you can face it using tools and techniques. This way the fear is transformed into something helpful or exciting. Imagining the best case scenario (as opposed to imagining the worst-case scenario, which is usually what the fear brings up). Whatever you do, don’t catastrophize because this is the worst thing you can do. There’s nothing worse than beginning with the “fear” and ending with “I quit because I’ll never make it! STOP ALREADY WITH THAT!
If you feel any fear or just plain stuck in your business, I’d like to invite you to help you transform your “stuckness” with me. I offer group mentoring as well as individual mentoring to other Virtual Service Providers (VSP’s). Yup, that is my magical super-power!
Let me help…contact me and let’s set up a chat so you can move forward with your business and get out of being stuck.
Top Tips to Cultivate a Positive Attitude
In life, there is a time and place for both negative and positive thoughts. A negative thought process will become a habit or begin to have adverse effects on you.
Believe me when I tell you that is NOT a good thing to have in your life.
You know what? It’s time for you to make an attitude change and cultivate a positive mindset.
Here are the top tips to help you cultivate a positive attitude:
1. Do NOT complain. Complaining is a very negative response to any situation that drains you of energy.
2. Express gratitude every day, even for the small things. Eventually, you will become grateful for everything.
3. Keep a list of things you have accomplished.
4. Let go of the people around you who are negative, critical, and abusive of you. They drain your energy, surround yourself with supportive, positive people.
5. Help others. You can become a volunteer occasionally.
6. Learn to meditate daily. Even a 10-minute meditation first thing in the morning will help you start your day on in the right direction.
7. Let go of envy. Envy is a very negative emotion. It eats at you, pointing to the faults we see in ourselves.
8. Be kind and smile at others.
9. Choose to be happy. Happiness is a choice. If a negative thought enters your mind, push it out quickly. Substitute a happy thought.
10. Have faith in yourself. Believe the Universe will help you.
11. Read inspiring stories and watch inspirational movies or television shows.
12. Repeat inspiring and motivating affirmations.
13. Practice mastering your thoughts. Access your subconscious mind.
Visualize what you want to happen. Release the thoughts you don’t want to happen. Cultivating a positive outlook takes conscious thought.
Be aware of your thoughts and the attitudes of those around you.
Become aware of the negative thoughts in your environment, and you’ll be able to counteract them more quickly.
Contact me if you need help with more ideas to create a positive attitude in your life.
5 Ways to Go Deeper
Now that you’ve learned how to rid yourself of the negative thoughts and build a positive outlook, you are ready to go deeper into the subconscious mind. Sounds a little like sci-fi doesn’t it?
The subconscious mind is the storehouse that holds your memories, past experiences, your deepest beliefs, and everything that has ever happened to you. It’s where automatic functions take place, like driving a car and carrying on a conversation at the same time.
You instinctively know how to drive so you can focus on your conversation.
The subconscious mind:
- Is much more powerful than your conscious mind. It makes everything you say and do a part of your self-concept. That’s why it’s important what goes into it.
- To change your outlook you have to go deeper than your conscious thoughts.
- The good news is that the subconscious mind learns through repetition. Just like learning your ABC’s when you were a child.
There are several ways you can go deeper into your subconscious.
Here are 5 different ways you can do this:
Repeat your new beliefs or thought patterns every day. Repeat inspiring words. Choose affirmations like, “I love and respect myself.” or “I attract good things into my life.” Feed your subconscious mind only with what you desire.
Meditate. Meditation allows you to go deeper into your consciousness, slowing the brain pattern down to release stress, anger, anxiety, and even alertness. With practice, you can become an observer of your thoughts. Simply allow your thoughts to flow, not reacting to any of them in any way.
Let your creative side loose. Get creative and take up some form of artistic expression like painting or drawing, sculpture or decorating. Nurturing your creativity helps you to become more authentic and tune in to your subconscious self.
Trust your instincts. Your intuition is your connection to your subconscious mind. This is your gut feeling. Positive people have a strong sense of intuition.
Reprogram your subconscious mind using hypnosis. Hypnosis is the process of relaxing your brain waves so you are open to suggestions or reprogramming. Hypnosis can help you release negative thoughts that may have been instilled into your subconscious by society, yourself or your upbringing.
Let ME get into your mind:
There are other ways to access your subconscious mind as well such as energy psychology and brainwave entrainment.
In the end, I hope you have come to the realization that despite your own efforts at changing your thoughts, you might need to access your subconscious mind and take steps to dig deeper into those negative thoughts holding you back.
So, what is holding YOU back? Are you ready to take action?
I’d be happy to help you figure out how you can stop the negativity that happens in your business so you can move forward.
Just fill out the form below and let’s set up a call so you can get off the roller coaster and move on.
How to Rid Yourself of Negative Thoughts
A positive attitude is one of the stepping-stones to success. Yes, everyone has a negative thought occasionally and you may be able to counteract it with a positive one. I use this concept all the time.
When a negative thought fills your mind, it may be time to change your mindset.
What is a Thought Process?
a thought process in which ideas (words or images) suggest other ideas in a sequence. construction, mental synthesis. the creation of a construct; the process of combining ideas into a congruous object of thought. abstract thought, logical thinking, reasoning. thinking that is coherent and logical.
But, how do you do change your negative thoughts?
Become aware of your thoughts. The trick is to take control of your thinking. Frequently ask yourself, “What am I thinking right now?” Learn to recognize your negative thinking patterns and replace them with realistic, positive alternatives.
When something negative enters your mind, immediately replace it with a positive one.
Here’s an example: “I can’t believe that jerk cut in front of me! Positive thought change: “I’m not rushed and in a hurry like that guy. He must be extremely stressed.”
Or this, negative example: “I can’t believe the poor service at this restaurant today!” “The waitress must be having a bad day because the service is usually great here.”
Read inspirational, positive quotes and articles. Read about the lives of successful and happy people.
Do the things you love. Try to do at least one thing every day that you enjoy doing.
Visualize your life, as you want it to be. Create a visual map. As negative thoughts intrude, look at your map to remind you of what you want.
Check out this fascinating article here.
In the end, everyone has a negative thought occasionally. The trick is to recognize and replace them with positive thoughts immediately so you don’t dwell on them.
Will you let me help to change your mindset? Contact me below and let’s set up a call. I’d love to help you figure out how you can change your thought process, from negative to positive.
Stop Your Negative Self-Talk
How often do you find yourself talking down or negatively to yourself? Are you even aware that you’re doing it? Many people aren’t even aware that the things they say to themselves mentally or the things they mutter under their breath are negative and actually sabotaging their progress and success. Yes, this really happens to most business owners, especially when they are first starting their business.
The first thing you need to do is to become aware that you are doing it and pay attention to when you are doing it. If you mutter things to yourself when something goes wrong, start listening to yourself. And please, don’t think your nuts just because you talk to yourself. EVERYBODY does!
It’s likely that you’re being negative. If you use phrases like, “Well, I knew that would happen,” or “Well, that’s how things go for me,” or “Why should I expect anything to be different,” or “That’s just my luck.” Then you are engaging in negative self-talk.
Things will go wrong. Of course, they will and you know they will.
Everything isn’t perfect. Well, nothing is perfect in this world, you just learn how to deal with it.
When these situations happen or arise it’s best to just move on and not even acknowledge them, especially if you can’t be positive about them. I know, it’s hard to be positive when everything seems to be going wrong. However, if you notice when one thing goes wrong, if you react negatively it will create a domino or snowball effect and the rest of the day will be the same.
If you just walk away, so to speak and not let it bother you, chances are things will start to go smoothly again.
More often than not, it’s one little minor instance that gets the ball rolling
When you mutter or think negatively about it you give power to the negative and it escalates. Instead, try having a positive thought.
Here are a couple things you can do:
- Think of something you’re grateful for. This will not only change your mood and outlook but it will change your vibration as well. When you get into a positive vibration it helps to repel the negative.
- Go for a walk, get out in nature and breathe some fresh air. This will clear your mind and help you to think better.
- Call a friend and just catch-up with their news. It will help you to forget about your problems and help you to focus on something else for a change.
Over time, negative self-talk can lead to low self-esteem, low quality of life, a bad outlook on life and everything else and can lead to health problems. It’s very rare that you see positive people suffer from the same maladies as negative people. Negative people tend to always have something wrong with them, even if it’s just minor things, and many of them spend a good deal of time going to the doctor to find out what’s wrong with them.
You hear them say things like, “Of course I’m getting a cold. I always get sick.” “There’s always something wrong with me.”
That’s not saying that positive people never get sick or have ailments, but they generally heal or recover faster, and often without going to a doctor for medication.
Start practicing positive affirmations
This won’t be easy in the beginning if you’ve been a negative thinker for any length of time, but you can start practicing when you are in a good mood. By doing this you will prepare yourself to use them when you start thinking negative or start talking down to yourself.
Pay attention to the things that make you think and feel negative. There’s often a pattern to these events. If you can start to catch these events and use your affirmations, you can ward off a full-blown negative melt-down. It may even feel unnatural at first, but once you start practicing this it will get easier.
Don’t be a Negative Nelly
You don’t have to go through life being negative. You can change this behavior. Just like any changes in behavior you make, this one will take time and can be very challenging. It is worth it in the long run.
Try it and see if you don’t start to feel better, see if people don’t respond to you better. No one wants to hang around a negative person.
If you want to be someone people consider friendly, start practicing having a better attitude and stop the negative self-talk.
Do you need help with your negative thought process? A good mentor could help you with that issue. Sign up for my Group Mentor Program and let me help you figure out how you can stop being a Negative Nelly.
Not interested in mentoring? I would still love to hear from you. Fill out the form below and I’ll be in touch.