The principle of preparation focuses on organization.  When it comes to managing your resources, there are two things to consider; how you organize your physical environment, and how you organize yourself.  First, let’s examine how you can better organize your environment.

 Organize your Environment

Do any of these questions sound familiar to you?

  • Do you spend time looking for something you just filed?
  • Do you wonder which document is the latest revision?
  • Have you ever wasted time searching for a misplaced receipt?
  • Do you wonder how others do this process?
  • Do you wonder what your priorities are?

A Lean Thinking tool called 5S focuses on making sure there is a place for everything and everything is in place.  The 5S’s stand for:

  1. SORT – Keep what is needed and remove everything else.
  2. SHINE – Clean and organize your workspace.
  3. STORE – Map your workspace and create location indicators for each item.
  4. STANDARDIZE – Ensure you follow standard procedures for organization of your workspace.
  5. SUSTAIN – follow a schedule for cleaning and organizing of your workspace.

While these principles may sound simple, they are extremely powerful.  They will greatly help you improve your efficiency by reducing the amount of time you spend in your workspace.  And let’s face it, it’s always nicer working in a clean and organized office.  It just feels good.

 Organize Yourself

Now that you have your office in order, the other part of the resource management equation is how you manage your time.

Time for us work-at-home entrepreneurs is our single most valuable asset. Nothing can replace our valuable and precious time!

No matter how rich or poor you are, no matter how many things are on your ‘to-do’ list, you still just get the regulation twenty-four hours each day. Sometimes I could use another twenty-four but that isn’t going to happen. I’ll bet that you could use more hours in your work day, as well.

The thing about those twenty-four allotted hours per day is that we can’t spend all of them working. We have to sleep some of them. We have to take time to eat and there is the occasional shower, too. J

Our families and our friends require some of our time. Relationships must be nurtured. So… we can allow ourselves just so many work hours each day. Since our working time is limited that means that we must make the very most of the hours that we work. We can’t waste time on unimportant details or on tasks that others can do.

As home entrepreneurs, we all need to have structure in how we manage our time and resources.  Creating boundaries is a good way to prepare how we execute our work and help determine how successful we will be in running our business.  Here are a few suggestions on creating structure around managing your time.

  • Set up time tables to help you prioritize your work day: A scheduled work day is an efficient work day. You will get a lot more done in a lot less time if you know in advance and can see at a glance what task is next on your list. I like visual aids. A time table is a visual aid. It can help you allot your time efficiently and productively!
  • Focus on result producing activities: When you make your work day schedule, you need to be certain that the tasks that you schedule are the ones that will in fact make your business grow and thrive. Don’t waste your time, effort and energy on tasks that can be done by others (more on this later).
  • Email account efficiency: We all have various email accounts. We use one account for this and another account for that. Checking each and every email account more than once a day can be a time consuming task that you very easily make less time consuming by having all of the email that comes to all of your various email account to come into one gmail account. One email account takes a lot less time than several and you can still maintain all of your various email addresses.

Additionally, you don’t need to spend a lot of time reading and answering emails that are not going to add to your bottom line.

Email comes in several varieties. There are emails that are business related, emails that are important but not business related and emails that are simply frivolous and time wasting. If an email has been forwarded several times, don’t waste your time.

If an email is addressed to a great many people, don’t waste any time on it either. Email can consume a lot of time. You need to filter the important from the irrelevant and only spend time on those emails that are related to your business.

  • Shave time off of counter-productive activities: Like I said, your friends and families do required some of your time but you can also waste a whole ton of time on such unproductive activities as watching TV or surfing the net.

You will be really surprised at how much of your day that you waste if you keep a record of your time expenditures over the course of several days’ time.

Now don’t misunderstand me. We all need down time. We all must relax our minds as well as our bodies. We can’t be all business all the time but we can limit our unproductive or counterproductive activities.

Time is precious and time is limited. We need to make the very best use of every minute of every day that we possibly can.