Being an entrepreneur is exciting, but equally demanding. Entrepreneurs have to jump between tasks, hop on calls, attend events, and be extra careful with each and every decision for their business endeavour. Therefore, as an entrepreneur, you have to manage your resources accordingly. And one of the most important resources that we often neglect is time. The ability to use time wisely is one of the most valuable skills an entrepreneur can have in their productivity arsenal. Better time management isn’t just about working harder, it’s about working smarter. Time management is what helps entrepreneurs remain sane amidst grand chaos, improves productivity and keeps the psychological costs of entrepreneurship low. Here’s a list of highly effective time management tips for every busy entrepreneur like you:
- Schedule your tasks: When we break them down into a series of small, manageable tasks, we realize the challenge we have before us isn’t nearly as difficult as we originally thought. Write down your tasks and number them as per the priorities. You can either be more traditional by keeping a pocket notebook that you can always carry around or keep an online calendar. There are plenty of time management and scheduling calendar services online.
- Delegate: Delegation is transferring non-priority tasks to the more appropriate individuals. Get a great assistant or a virtual assistant who you can delegate scheduling and other routine activities to. This person can be one of your biggest productivity boosters and stress reducers. You could even hire freelancers at the click of a button to do some of those tasks for you.
- Use technology to save time and organize: You can set up auto bill payments, use mobile applications like appointment reminder and time tracking apps. These apps help you streamline your work and be more productive.
- Ivy Lee’s Method of Productivity Hacking: Before you pack up for a day, find some time (probably your self-appointment is the best time to do so) to write down 6 things you need to get done the next day. Arrange these 6 things in their priority order. Next day, start with the first task, and complete it before you jump to the next task. Keep on completing tasks in this manner, till it’s time to write that 6-task list again at the end of the day.
- Avoid distractions: Shut off unnecessary alerts each morning until your most important tasks are complete. Unless you are using social media for business, it is best if you avoid them during working hours. If you are busy, it is important you learn how to say no to people who want your attention. Once you have completed important tasks, you can address their concerns.
- De-clutter your work desk: If you have too many papers, or any stuff lying on your desk, you will be distracted to read what’s in them while you are at your task. File and keep them in a shelf or drawer for future reading.
- Use the Pomodoro Time Management Technique: The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. After about four pomodoros, you take a longer break of about 15 to 20 minutes. The idea behind the technique is that the timer instills a sense of urgency.
- Try waking up early: By waking before the rest of the world, you have time to plan your day in advance and get a head start on some tasks that may be looming over your head before others are awake to interrupt you.
- Take time to rest and think: Go out and take a walk, get some fresh air and relax for a moment – this would also bring some creative ideas which you can implement in your work. Rest is a great enabler for more productivity. Short naps can improve your productivity; it’s scientifically proven to help you perform better.
- The Eisenhower Method: The Eisenhower Method involves organizing tasks into one of four quadrants and then taking action to address them accordingly.
• Important/Urgent Quadrant – Tasks are done immediately and personally
• Important/Not Urgent Quadrant – Tasks get an end date and are done personally
• Unimportant/Urgent Quadrant – Tasks are delegated
• Unimportant/Not Urgent Quadrant – Tasks are dropped
Running your task list through this matrix will certainly help you spot the tasks that simply don’t need to be done right now.