5 time management tips & tricks for entrepreneurs
Have you ever felt 24 hours a day is not enough to do everything you planned?
Not having enough time to accomplish all tasks at hand is one of top 3 challenges for entrepreneurs. Here are some of the effects poor time management have on entrepreneurs: missed deadlines and appointments, working late, burnout syndrome, stress, poor quality of work and financial loss because Time is Money.
If you ever wished you could freeze time so you can get everything done in one day, this article is for you.
5 time management tips & tricks for entrepreneurs:
1. Write down your tasks for the day
Before beginning your workday, in the morning, when you drink your coffee, find a place and five minutes of undisturbed silence to write down your activities or objectives for that day.
You can use a notebook or your smartphone calendar. Assign each task on your list a specific timetable and make sure that all activities in one day add up to eight hours of work.
Our recommendation is to write down your checklist on paper, not in your smartphone. Why? Because the action of checking off your tasks with a pen on paper feels so good! The reason it feels so good is that checking items off of a checklist releases small amounts of dopamine that then fuel us to keep checking off more items and that’s how you get more done!
“The satisfaction of ticking off a small task is linked with a flood of dopamine. Each time your brain gets a whiff of this rewarding neurotransmitter, it will want you to repeat the associated behaviour.” (source: psychologytoday.com)
Key takeaway: turn writing down your tasks into a daily habit.
2. Set and stick to a fixed schedule
If you are managing a team and meeting with important clients, set your schedule for the week and make it available to every member of your team.
Set specific period of time to answer your emails and schedule meetings with your team. Set rules for every activity like “when I’m in the meeting with the 5 o’clock client, I won’t answer phone calls” so your team will call you once the meeting is over.
Key takeaway: fix your schedule, make it available for every member of your team and set rules.
3. Prioritise, focus, delegate
What is your main goal as an entrepreneur? It is building your business, not paying bills or solving conflicts between team members.
Be clear on your priorities and focus on activities that help you reach your business goals.
It is equally important that every member of your team undergoes the same process of establishing priorities and goals. Go even further and establish which particular task or activity each team member never does. Such as: the sales agents never answer the office phone.
Delegation is an important part of the entrepreneur’s daily activity, yet so many entrepreneurs and managers fail to delegate. Why?
We asked time-management expert, Octavian Pantis this question and here is what he told us:
Most entrepreneurs don’t delegate as much as they should for four main reasons:
- Past bad experiences, when they spent time to explain, to follow-up, they got angry for the job not getting done properly and then they had to spend even more time to fix the issue and get it moving again;
- They’re busy and stressed today (and almost everyday) and they feel it will cost them less, both emotionally and time-wise, to get the job done themselves;
- It’s their business and they think they know best how to do things, including the small details and the particular approach that will bring the best results;
- Because of all of the above, they are not growing people enough so they can delegate responsibilities and relieve themselves of some of the duties.
If you want great people, you need to grow them. And you need to invest time now in order to save time later. You can’t just “import” someone and hand over a chunk of your responsibilities, no matter who is the “senior” person you’re thinking about bringing onboard.
Key takeaway: make sure everyone on your team is aware of his or her priorities and objectives and learn how to delegate properly.
4. Tame the inbox & social media temptations
Many entrepreneurs spend too much time each day reading and answering emails instead of focusing on more important tasks for their business. It feels like a never-ending nightmare! But there is a solution: checking your inbox should be like any other task.
Set designated times for checking your emails and leave them completely alone when you’re doing another task. Do the same for your social media activity: treat checking your social media accounts like a task and assign an hour or two a day.
Key takeaway: turn your email and social media notifications off and treat them as tasks.
5. Time management or attention management?
The digital revolution changed the way information is generated and shared. Nowadays every company and organisation are fighting for our attention.
“Allocating time to something no longer means that it will receive your attention, and without attention, your time is somewhat irrelevant. Attention creates action, produces quality and facilitates productivity. Attention also has a dramatic impact on your life. What you give your attention to, is what determines your experiences.” (source: attentionmanagement.com)
Productivity experts have found that besides time management, entrepreneurs need to develop a new skill: attention management. Attention management means acquiring the ability to control distractions, single-task for higher-quality results, and engage in sustained (focused) attention when necessary, which should be a part of almost every day.