By Gemma Reeves
Being an entrepreneur might give you a bit of flexibility because at some level, you are basically considered your own boss. Despite the flexibility, being the boss also means that you are responsible for everything that is going on in your business - and that may not leave you much time for yourself without effective time management.
As an entrepreneur, effectively managing your time means efficiency. Efficiency in managing the business, creating solutions and fast-tracking processes as a whole. Without time management, it will be difficult for you to discern which tasks should you prioritize, and which tasks should you delegate to another.
The result is, you will waste your time on unimportant things and band-aid solutions in the process. To avoid that from happening, here are a few time management hacks for you:
1. Set Your Priorities
Effective time management starts with a to-do list and an estimated time slot that you need to allot for each task. If you are not sure which of your usual tasks should be put at a top priority, list down everything that you need to do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. After you have listed down all your possible tasks and projects, start ticking away the least important ones and start plotting a timeline for the bigger and most urgent ones.
2. Learn to Delegate
As an entrepreneur, you might already have several people working under you now - but make sure you do hire the right people, because you need them to take over tasks that may be the least important ones from your list, but are still crucial for the business.
This could include tasks such as appointment-setting, team supervision, quality control of products/services and customer engagement. By delegating such tasks to your trusted employees, you can clear up a huge chunk of your daily schedule and focus your energy on your priority tasks.
3. Take Things One Step at a Time
You can’t always do everything at once. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, or you might get burnt out in the process. For long-term plans, plot out 2 to 4 hours each day to work on it so you can still have time to check out how your company is going on a day-to-day basis.
For example, if you are planning to launch a new line of products, but you also want to expand the business at the same time, just choose which one of those should you do first. It should be quality over quantity - don’t work on more than one project that will eventually end up half-baked.
Related resource: Save time understanding the legal framework of startup investment funding. Download our free guide to Term Sheets now!
4. Get a Planner
It is easier to remember tasks and schedules when you write them down. You also get to track your to-dos more effectively when you can plot them down in a planner. We strongly recommend finding an online, team-based planning and organisational software, that will allow you and your team to collaborate easily and keep track of who needs help, where, and when!
5. Wake Up Early
Waking up early and having a good breakfast is a good way to start your day. You end up more productive, and more likely to follow-through on your schedule for the rest of the day. In fact, most CEOs (Apple’s Tim Cook starts his day at 5 AM) get an early head start - not because they want to work early, but because of morning rituals that help them gear up towards a more productive day ahead. This includes doing routinary exercises, reading and meditating.
6. Allow Yourself to Indulge in Breaks
Aside from the usual tasks and plans you have in your daily/weekly schedule, don’t forget to add personal breaks and relaxation time. Plot a day-off, and allot around 1 and a half hour each day for a break (though you should divide this into short 20 to 30 minute breaks). Some time-off will allow you to recharge and keep you conditioned for bigger tasks that are ahead of you.
7. Rethink Your Processes From Time to Time
As plainly, and beautifully stated by Bill Gates:
"We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve."
Sometimes, you might get lost in the daily grind that you forget to think about ways on how to improve and maximize your schedule in order to do more things efficiently. So on some days during breaks and day-offs, try to rethink your own strategies and processes when it comes to task completion and planning.
Ask yourself things such as, are there more tasks that should be delegated? Is there a way to lessen the costs you incur whenever you are doing a particular task? Are there any other options to do this project more effectively, and other questions similar to that.
Most of all, time management is not something you do once - it should be applied everyday so that you can settle into a routine. Another rule you should remember is to keep yourself calm - don’t be overwhelmed whenever a huge task comes your way. Take your time, think, and come up with a scheduled plan.
About the author:
Gemma Reeves is a seasoned writer who enjoys creating helpful articles and interesting stories. She has worked with several clients across different industries such as advertising, online marketing, technology, healthcare, family matters, and more. She is also an aspiring entrepreneur who is engaged in assisting other aspiring entrepreneurs in finding the best office space for their business.