I don’t think I’ve ever met a business owner who wasn’t busy. Managing your time is one of the hardest things you’ll need to do as an entrepreneur. There’s always too much to do, so you’ll need to manage your time well in order to get everything done. Here are my top time management tips:
1. Find out what you’re doing with your time.
One of the first things to do is to actually find out what you are doing with your time. Try monitoring your time for a week and see what’s going on. Use colour coding if it makes things easier i.e. yellow for administrative tasks; blue for marketing; green for client work and so on. At the end of the week, you’ll be able to see what you’re spending too much time on and adjust your time accordingly.
2. Get organised
The more organised you get yourself, the more you’ll be able to handle all the tasks you need to do. Tidy your desk; set up filing systems; and have procedures to deal with the work that comes in. I know it’s hard, but try to deal with each thing only once so that you get it out of the way.
3. Practise the “Do it now” philosophy
As soon as a new task comes in, try to “do it now”. You’ll be amazed at how many tasks you can get rid of. Things very rarely take as long as you think they will once you get cracking.
4. Do things in short bursts
If you’re really not looking forward to doing a task, make yourself do it for 5 minutes only. If you know you’re only going to be doing it for 5 minutes, it doesn’t look as daunting. And once you’ve got started on the task, you’ll probably find you’ll continue on it once the 5 minutes is up.
5. Ask yourself “what’s stopping you?”
Lack of time is often used as an excuse for not doing something. If you find yourself putting something off because you “don’t have the time”, ask yourself what’s going on. Questioning what’s stopping you completing tasks can often really help you decide whether or not to do them.
6. Don’t be afraid to drop a task
Look, if you haven’t completed a task; you’ve asked yourself “what’s stopping you”; and you’ve reached the conclusion that you really don’t want to do it, don’t be afraid to drop the task altogether. We often agree to things that don’t actually benefit us and if a task falls into this category, make the decision that you have the choice to drop the task.
7. You have a choice
As entrepreneurs, we start each day with a blank piece of paper and choose how to fill our time. You don’t have to agree to everything unless you want to do it or it helps you to achieve your goals.
8. Set goals
Setting goals will help keep you motivated and focused. Decide on three personal goals that you’d love to complete over the next year and three business ones. The goals must be things that you really want to do. Your time should then be spent on tasks and activities that help you complete these goals.
9. Accept that it’s impossible to get everything done
There’s only so much time in a day. Even if you’re the most efficient person ever, if you have too many tasks you won’t get them all completed. Accept this and don’t feel too guilty if you miss out on a few.
10. Have fun
Finally, remember as an entrepreneur to have some fun. Running a business isn’t all about working – take some time off too. If you develop a hobby or an interest that takes your mind off the business, you’ll be much more productive as a result.
There’s no one solution to managing your time. The trick is to find things that work for you, Try different things, have fun and do the things that help you to achieve your goals for what you want from your business.