Time Management Advice For Busy Entrepreneurs
No matter who you are or how successful you have been in life, it often seems as if there are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done. You might think that as an entrepreneur, you will find it easier to manage your time. After all, you do not have a lot of the usual responsibilities that are so hard to juggle.
In fact, many entrepreneurs find time management even more challenging. Without the external structure of a 9-to-5 job, you are responsible for your own schedule. It is all too easy to become overwhelmed and find yourself wasting time on unimportant details while the big picture spirals out of control.
Expect The Unexpected
Effective time management is not a matter of scheduling every minute of every day. While a schedule is important, you also need to be flexible. Life never goes according to plan and this is doubly true when you are trying to start your own business or to make your own way in the world.
Leave time in your schedule for the unexpected and the unanticipated. If you cannot deal with interruptions or emergencies, your chances of success will be slim. You must leave enough wiggle room in your schedule so that a sudden crisis or minor interruption does not throw everything off.
Learn How To Delegate
If you have other employees that work for you, you don't have to do everything yourself. If you are on your own, you should learn how to outsource so that you can stop doing the tasks that don't need you to be directly involved. If there are any menial tasks that could be handed over to another person, you can find temporary help on sites such as, Upwork or Freelancer.
Make Appointments, Not To-Do Lists
Instead of making a to-do list, try making appointments instead. A to-do list can quickly become longer and longer as you think of more and more things that need to be done. Before long, you have 100 items on your list and none of them have been taken care of.
Instead, for everything that needs to be done, pick a time and make an appointment with yourself. In the morning, check your appointment book to see what your schedule is like for the day. When it is time for a particular duty, focus on only on that one task, even if there are other things that need to be done. You need to develop the discipline to work on one thing at a time.
Start Your Day With Scheduling
When you get up in the morning, the first thing that you should do is not get right to work. You need to give yourself at least 20 to 30 minutes to go over your plan for the day. If you never allow yourself time to prepare for the next 24 hours, you will quickly discover that time is slipping away from you.
During this period, look back over the previous day and see what you accomplished. Take a look at your appointment book to see what plans you have made. Make any needed adjustments at this stage so that you can dive right into work as soon as the scheduling period has ended.
Block Out Distractions
In today's always-on world, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that everything requires immediate attention. Just because you get a phone call or an e-mail, this does not mean that you have to drop everything else and respond to it right away. At times, you have to be able to tune out the rest of the world and focus on what is in front of you.
As an entrepreneur, you need to be able to devote enough time and energy to your new business. This means that everyone else in your life needs to respect your need for this time. When you are hard at work, make it clear to people that you are not to be interrupted. Putting up a "Do Not Disturb" sign or the electronic equivalent, can really help.
Starting a new business takes a lot of energy, so you need to work on your time management skills. You only have 24 hours in the day, after all, so you need to make the most out of each and every one.
Jonathan Leger is a member of the Garden Writer's Association and a gardening enthusiast. He is also a successful software developer and has created a number of software and service applications. He recently created a website where you can ask questions and receive answers from expert authors and researchers at AnswerThis.Co.