In this modern era, every businessperson has to deal with unique challenges. The goal of an entrepreneur is to look for profit-making opportunities. But anyone can struggle to manage time—no matter how smart or efficient you are, you don’t get more than 24 hours in a day.
Time management is basically a trick of not letting time control you. It includes:
- Planning and organizing
- Setting goals and objectives
- Delegation of responsibilities
- Setting deadlines
- Prioritizing activities as per their importance
- Right allocation of time to the right task
Practicing good time management helps you perform better. Things will become easier for you and you’ll benefit in terms of:
- Improved productivity and efficiency
- A better professional reputation
- Less amount of stress
- Increased opportunities for advancement
- Greater chances to reach the pinnacle of success
However, it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a thorough process that you have to learn day by day.
Here’s a comprehensive guide that will show you EXACTLY how to manage your time effectively for your business.
Have a positive approach
Can you remain positive even when faced with a time challenge?
Well, as an entrepreneur, you can come across a huge workload on any given day. In such situations, think how to cope up with the work pressure and proceed accordingly.
Here are some time management tips and tricks that may intensify your approach –
- Simplify the way you work and believe in yourself.
- Focus on making good decisions.
- Look on the bright side of your business plans.
- Don’t ponder over the things that you can’t control.
- Don’t worry about failing.
- Find a method that works for you.
If you are guided by a purpose, then you’ll surely find the right ways to execute your plans.
No one can be a Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg overnight. These men also have faced several challenges but never got daunted by those. Take your failures as the biggest lessons.
The more positive you remain, the more you can get your work done within the stipulated time period.
Maybe you are working REALLY hard. Yet it seems that all the efforts are in vain. Have you ever wondered why so?
Often, there remains a BIG GAP between what you DREAM and what happens in REALITY!
Relax! there is a solution for you…
Knowing what’s required for success is essential. For this, you need to set realistic goals for your business growth.
The process of setting goals provides a framework within which you need to work. Goal setting is the best way to transform lofty resolutions into achievable results.
The initial exercise of knowing exactly what you want is very essential. You need to devise a plan to achieve your goals. Each goal must be defined by the following criteria:
- S– Specific
- M– Measurable
- A– Achievable
- R– Realistic
- T– Timely
Frame your goals in such a way so that the progress can be measured periodically. For this, it is important to have long-term as well as short-term targets. Breaking it down into small chunks helps you track the progress easily.
“Creativity thrives on chaos!”
When you get too many plans regarding your business, they can often get cluttered. Keep calm and ask yourself:
- Am I keeping the important documents at the right place?
- Is my important contact information getting stored in one place?
- Do I sort necessary stuffs periodically?
- What are my weekly goals?
- How can those be worthwhile on the long-term basis?
If you arrange everything systematically, things will be easy for you. And when the time comes, everything will be easily available within your reach. This can save you valuable time.
However, being organized is not a one-time effort—you need to review your plans frequently and see what needs changing along the way.
And once it becomes a habit, things will get done smoothly. Then you’ll be able to enjoy the advantages of being organized.
Want to be more functional and get more things done? Stop juggling all the balls in the air at once.
CAPTURE your ideas on paper… all of them!
Scheduling is how you decide when these plans will be materialized. Schedule a specific time of the day to work on specific things. This strategy will keep you from getting a step “half done”. Eventually, everything that was planned for that day will be done.
To reduce your cognitive load, scheduling can:
- Remind you of everything to be accomplished
- Provide ideas for your to-do list regularly
- Manage your business calendar
- Notify you about important phone calls, meetings and events
Additionally, you may use various apps like Schedule Once, Checkmark, Streaks, and Google Calendar, which can help you digitally on schedule.
With these, you can utilize your time for thinking, not remembering.
Prioritize your tasks
Ok, let’s say you’ve got a ‘to-do’ list now. That’s cool, but an entrepreneur’s workload is enormous. What if it gets too heavy to be handled properly?
Don’t get stressed about how to get through it. Know your personal and professional requirements and plan accordingly. Prioritizing is the key to staying focused.
When you’re clear on your goals, it is much simpler to choose the things on the basis of their urgency.
Ask yourself: “Is this taking me closer to my goals?” If the answer is ‘No’, you know that you can postpone that task for later.
Focus on the task at hand
The idea of multitasking may seem enticing. We often marvel at the person who is adept at juggling many balls in the air.
But if you try to take on too much, there’s a greater chance of a serious blunder.
To avoid this, it’s better to:
- Allocate time separately for each task
- Avoid switching between multiple tasks
- Begin a new task after accomplishing the one in hand
- Set up individual boundaries
Once you know what matters most, you can focus on getting those important things done. Create a ‘focus mantra’ and pair your time management initiatives with a laser-like focus.
With these effective time-management tips, you’re guaranteed to execute the tasks more accurately and hit all your deadlines.
Delegate to the experts
Before adding any task to your own schedule, ask yourself: ‘Do I need to perform this on my own?’ If the answer is “NO,” feel free to delegate it.
When it comes to utilizing your time and energy, you need to learn the art of delegating. A proficient assistant can help you with:
- Routine busywork
- Organizing business files
- Making business calls
- Drafting messages
- Scheduling appointments
If you have the right person working with you, you’ve nothing to worry about. This person can be the biggest productivity booster—and stress reducer—for you.
Perform a time audit
When you’re super busy, every spare minute counts. You may think everything is getting done within the specified time, but it’s important to document how your time is actually getting used.
Too often, business owners spin their wheels randomly and end up wasting their precious time without any positive result. Be aware of it.
A time audit can give you a better idea of how to manage your time effectively for each task. Although it has the term ‘audit’ in its name, it’s not as difficult as it may seem. And if necessary, use time tracking software for a better understanding of how and where you can modify your procedures.
An audit helps you streamline your process by shining a light on time consumption. Make time audits an integral part of how you approach time management.
Analyze processes more closely
The BIG PICTURE is always there for you. But first, examine your processes thoroughly. It’ll provide you with further insights required for business growth.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are my business strategies creative enough?
- Do I have access to the capital I’ll need to succeed?
- Are there holes in my marketing strategy?
- How can I get an edge over my competitors?
- Is this the right time for me to expand my business?
- What structure would best suit my business?
- What do I need to start doing, keep doing, and stop doing?
Subsequently, develop a well-thought-out process to refine your strategies. This process will serve you time and time again, as well.
In a nutshell, closely look at the various steps in your marketing funnel and run tests to determine how you can grow faster than your competitors.
Face difficult tasks when you’re at your peak
It’s good to do the hardest thing first. When we postpone tough tasks, we often get more stressed about them—and keep postponing them.
You worry about how you might become frustrated, angry or demotivated. Acknowledging these feelings is the first step in developing your emotional strength.
If you perform the hardest task at your peak energy level, you can engage your mind to the fullest—and clear it for other productive tasks later.
If it helps, break down the task into several parts. This way, it’ll be more manageable—and maybe even enjoyable.
Reconnect with your “why”
Often, you tend to put your head down and focus with too much intensity. You forget about everything that is going on around you. And in the end, you discover that you’re way off track.
Don’t get jumbled. In these moments, reconnect with your “why.”
Successful business leaders revisit the core ideas—the foundational reason behind why they do what they do. It can help keep you on the right track on a long-term basis.
So when you’re wondering whether a certain task is worth your time, ask yourself whether it goes with your “why.”
Make better initial decisions
When thinking about the best ways to save time, one of the most important ways is to make better initial decisions.
When you start a project, it’s doesn’t get extensive instantly. And this is why it’s the best time to apply a tactical advantage.
For this, you need to have a proper understanding of the entire process. And you can also utilize previously learned lessons for smarter improvisation.
If you can reduce confusion on your initial decisions, you’d be able to save more time later.
Get an early start
“The early bird gets the worm.”
It’s not just a saying. According to the experts, most people are at their optimum performance level in the morning. Studies have shown that those who wake up early are more productive.
Start your day earlier than everyone else. By hitting the ground running before the rest of the world, you get more time to plan your day in advance.
Entrepreneurs are naturally ambitious people. They try to make the most of their day. But they are also human beings, and can get distracted unintentionally.
So how can you cut out distractions and supercharge your focus? Try the following:
- Select a time for meditation
- Manage time to exercise
- Avoid unnecessary presence on social media
- Keep the phone away during important works
You also need to be aware of excess stress. Without proper stress management, you can lose your focus and get distracted and frustrated.
Successful people know how to cope up with the workload. When the pressure is on, they take time to regain control over everything.
Take control over your ability to concentrate and work well. Don’t let distractions dictate your day.
Employ the 80/20 rule—focus on the few things that will generate the most significant results. Try to understand the attributes of the 20 percent of your customers that make up the majority of your revenues.
Getting caught up in the non-essentials causes failure. Save time by eliminating less important activities. Try to be constructive without being too busy.
Make sure all of your communications are to the point and concise. Before scheduling any meetings, think twice whether it’s relevant to what you need to accomplish now.
Take time to pause and think
As an entrepreneur, you tend to move rapidly from one thing to the next, without even a pause to breathe. But you need some free time to think about the right ways of doing things.
The key is to be productive—it takes forethought and planning. For this, build unstructured time into your weekly schedule. Within this period, do nothing beyond learning, exploring, and thinking.
This can also help in maximizing your brain’s bandwidth, (i.e., de-clutter your brain.)
It’s all about mind management
So, you’ve gone through several time management tips and tricks—but do you want to know the best part? Here’s the KICKER!
Stop thinking of it as “time management.”
Time management is really mind management. Once you start to take control, everything seems easier to do.
In most cases, it’s not our time that needs better managing—it’s us.
Things get interesting when you start looking at everything on your task list as a series of choices. And eventually, you’ll realize that the potential was in you all along.
As an entrepreneur, you can’t buy or borrow time from anyone.
So, what’s the bottom line?
The key is to have the ability to organize workflow and manage time accordingly. With the above-mentioned time management tips, you’re all set to meet your goals!
A version of this article originally appeared on the MyTasker site; reprinted with permission.