If you’re an entrepreneur, you understand how important it is to manage your time well. No matter what business you’re in, you have so many hours in the day and if you’re not spending that time turning over a profit, your business will fail.
Entrepreneurship takes a lot of hard work and dedication, you have to be on your game all day, every day, always making that next sale. It can be really, really hard, particularly if you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day anyway.
This is why it is so essential for entrepreneurs of all stripes to manage their time more effectively and efficiently. If you’re an entrepreneur, there are enough hours in the day, you just have to make better use of them. Here are a few tips on how to do just that.
1. Stick to your schedule
One of the best things you can do for yourself as an entrepreneur is to ensure that you have a schedule. Know what hours of the day you’re going to work and know what you’ll be doing during the course of the day.
Block off time to meet with team members (if you have a team), block off time to do things like marketing, paying particular attention to your social media. Even one solid hour of marketing can go an awful long way. Scheduling out your day is a really good way to manage your time and will make you more productive.
You don’t have to just apply this to your work life either. Your home would be better served if it were scheduled more rigidly, I’m sure. Part of effective time management at work is that it correlates to better time management at home.
2. Delegate, delegate, delegate
Let’s say you own a small massage therapy clinic. As you are a trained massage therapist, there really isn’t enough time in an eight-hour workday to do your paperwork as well and answer personal emails from clients.
One of the things you’ll likely want to do is to hire, if you haven’t already, one other person to be your receptionist. Take the phone calls, answer the generic emails and do all of the paperwork related to your business.
It’s too much for one person to take on, but as an entrepreneur who hires people, it’s your job to give them the work you can’t handle and focus on doing what you do best: running your business.
3. Manage your time
Seriously. One of the biggest pitfalls of entrepreneurship is feeling like you have no time to manage your time. Well, carve out that time, boss. Give yourself half an hour, or fifteen minutes each day at the start of your day to do some time managing.
Get to the office ahead of everyone else (which should be happening anyway) and spend some time sitting at your desk just asking yourself some critical daily questions:
- What do I want to achieve today?
- What time-wasting activities can I avoid today?
- Can I do things differently today so that this all-important task gets done?
Then, at the end of the day, sit down and reflect on whether or not you accomplished those objectives. If so, great! If not, figure out where you went wrong and how you can improve going forward. Successful time management means making time to learn how to better manage your time.
4. Divide and conquer
One of the biggest aspects of time management is dividing and conquering. Not unlike delegating, this task of divide-and-conquer will allow you to split up your time into different priority categories.
- Must do’s.
- Should do’s.
- Could do’s.
Do this once per week, perhaps. Prioritize your work by dividing it up into doable tasks that are less scary when completed individually.
Regardless of how you choose to manage your time, your business will succeed, and you will be happier and feel more in control of your life if you can manage your time better and you’ll produce more, feel less stressed and in turn, your business will boom.
5. Mitigate overwhelm
Being an entrepreneur is more than a full-time job–it is a lifestyle of tasks upon tasks. If you do not prevent them from overwhelming you, you may find yourself amidst an avalanche of work that you simply don’t feel equipped to complete.
Techniques such as delegating are a great way to curb overwhelm from setting in, but there are other ways you might be able to prevent it.
One of the most common ways you might become overwhelmed is information overload. Tasks have a tendency to compile, building on top of one another in interdependence or branching off into new tasks. Throw time and teamwork into the mix, and you have the perfect recipe for mental overload.
According to the experts at Braincat, a web tool designed to unburden the brain, “The first priority is to calm our response to the data mass in front of us, to reduce our level of anxiety”. Finding calmness in the face of chaos can be a difficult thing to do, but one of the first steps is to acknowledge that the situation is not prescribed. You are in control. Take a few moments away from the project. Look out a window. Rest your mind and eyes and dive back in when you’ve found a neutral mindset.
By contributing writer: Luke Fitzpatrick – freelance business journalist (published in Forbes, Entrepreneur & Tech In Asia) & guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in cross-cultural management and the pre-MBA program.