This article is called 5 Time (Management) Strategies for Entrepreneurs with ‘Management’ in parentheses because sometimes it’s more like time flying by, with you just trying to keep up, instead of something that can be managed! Can you relate?
When there’s so much happening, so much opportunity, and so many things to do, how do you keep your time under control? From my experience, it takes a lot of practice. And it’s something that you can always improve upon!
I am sharing 5 strategies to practice the art of time (management) that have helped me as I grow my business, raise kids, have a happy marriage, and have a bit of a social life. We all want to ‘do it all,’ but it’s just not possible. However, these strategies will help you at least do more!
1. Narrow your focus
It’s time to admit that there is not enough time to do everything you want to! So that means you need to do some prioritizing. I have found within my business that I need to narrow down exactly what I want to do and who I want to do it for. Sure, I have a lot of skills I could offer to potential clients, but what are the one or two things that I 1) like to do the most; 2) can offer at the right price; and 3) will serve the customer that I want to work with.
You can do this exercise with non-business related things, as well. What are the one or two things I must get done today? Who are the people in my life I must make time for? Narrowing your focus will help you be more productive on the most important things, and you’ll start to see more success in those areas.
2. Time block the most important tasks
When you have your focus locked in, it’s time to identify the most important tasks that will help you reach your goals. Come up with your list of non-negotiables that you must do to accomplish what you need to. And then take time to schedule it into your calendar. I’m serious! Take out your phone, and block off an hour for making those sales calls or writing your social media content. Whatever you identified as the tasks that will help you get to the next level, it must be scheduled in – and don’t let yourself schedule anything over it!
3. Set timers
As you sit down to do those most important tasks, you may have a chunk of time blocked for a few different things. Let’s say you want to get 3 social posts done in your 30 minute block. One way to keep yourself on task is to set a timer for 10 minutes per post. That’s all the time you’ve got to get this done, and then you must move on!
Use this for your longer work throughout the day as well. Set yourself a timer for 1 hour to work on this client, and then you must move onto the next. It’s amazing what you can get done if you know you are trying to beat the clock.
As you start to grow, begin to identify the tasks that you are repeatedly doing that may not be your ‘most important’ business-building tasks, but that have to be done. Maybe there is something you do every day (managing emails, social media, financial tracking, etc.) that you just hate doing! Look into ways of outsourcing those tasks to free you up for more important ones. It may be some sort of automation, software, or tool that could free up your time. Or it may be hiring someone that can handle those tasks. It is scary to take on extra expenses in order to outsource, but weigh the cost with the benefits of having that extra time and how you could turn that time into more profit. If your potential profit with that time is higher than the cost of the software or employee, then give it a try for 30 days and see how it affects your schedule and your finances.
5. Review, celebrate, and adjust
Lastly, after you try some of these suggestions, don’t forget to reflect on how they have worked or how they may need to be tweaked. I try to take some reflection time every evening before bed. What went well today? What is still an area that needs improvement? Celebrate the accomplishments and plan for the improvements. It is all trial and error, so don’t get too hung up if something is not working. You can always try again!
I hope this gives you some ideas about how to make the most of your time as an entrepreneur. Let me know how it goes!