What could you do with one more hour a day?

Summer’s over, so it’s back to school for the kids and back to business for the rest of us. As you take a look at what lies ahead, it’s easy to come to the conclusion there simply isn’t enough time to get everything you want accomplished. You can’t squeeze one more day out of the week or one more week out of the year, but you can find an extra hour each day without much trouble at all.

How to find that extra hour.

The truth is, people spend much more time than they realize watching TV, entertaining themselves on the web, and sleeping more than they really need to. If you just try to cut down on the amount of time you spend on the couch or in bed, you can easily find yourself with an hour of time a day available to grow your business.

All it takes is for you to rethink your schedule a little, making simple changes to your usual patterns. Instead of hitting the snooze button, try getting up earlier. This lets you get a pile of work done before the phone starts ringing and the emails begin piling up. Early rising also lets you work with clients and contacts in time zones to the east of you, while it’s still early in the day for them. Instead of watching TV, use that time to answer emails, rather than letting emails take up valuable work time during the day.

An extra hour a day for your business gives you an extra 20 hours of work each month, which adds up to 240 hours per year. That’s 10 whole days, or two full work weeks. Just think of the value of that in dollars per hour!

What to do with that extra hour.

Read and learn how to do your job better and how to market yourself better. Dive into relevant information from trade associations. Take a look at what types of marketing your competition is doing. Find out more about how to use all the online and off-line ways to deliver your message. Look at your own marketing efforts, discard what isn’t working, and try something you haven’t done before.

Do the kind of serious strategic planning that will set up your growth for the future. Where is your business going? What kind of services should you add? Who else should you be targeting? Can you expand geographically? Where do you want to be in your business — and in your life 5 years from now? — 10 years from now?

Then start executing. Write an article to submit to local newspapers and industry websites. Update the content on your own website and add a new feature, such as a blog. Submit comments to other people’s blogs that talk to your audience. Put together an email campaign that links to your blog or website. Come up with a tag line and put it on new business cards. Develop a direct mail list and think of a compelling offer you can send out on an inexpensive post card.

You’ll be surprised at how much more you can get accomplished with just a few changes to your work habits and just a touch more discipline. Jump ahead of your competitors while they’re still asleep…and make a lot more money with a lot less stress. Try it. And have a great month!