One of the most important business aspects that every entrepreneur needs to figure out is how to manage their time properly.
While teams may have the benefit of being able to share responsibilities, an entrepreneur has to wear many hats in the company. This includes attending client meetings, executing business strategies, answering emails and phone calls, dealing with various technical issues, communicating with different departments, etc. On top of it all, they need to find a proper work-life balance and find the time to spend with their family and friends.
There’s only so much time during the workday that one has to take care of everything, and it’s impossible to maintain the same level of productivity through it all. Working hard to get as much done as possible isn’t going to cut it—you need to incorporate the best time management strategies into your daily workflow.
If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve compiled a list of the best management tips for successful entrepreneurs to help you out. This includes:
- Set up ground rules
- Outsource and delegate
- Prioritize tasks
- Avoid multitasking
- Evaluate meetings
- Use the “Brain Dump” method
- Take breaks
- Keep improving your strategy
Set Up Ground Rules
The workday of an entrepreneur is often unpredictable. You never know when an unexpected call, unplanned request for a meeting, or an employee-related problem that requires your attention might come up. The best way to get on top of the uncertainty is to set up ground rules on how much each activity can take from your time.
You should decide how much time you’re willing to spend on each unplanned activity. This way, you’ll be able to cut down time wasters and stick to your daily schedule. You should also build a culture where all your employees do their best to waste as little time as possible—both yours and theirs.
Outsource and Delegate
Every company’s workflow includes a variety of time-consuming responsibilities that are far from the top of your list of priorities and don’t affect the company’s growth and profits. These non-core tasks are commonly administrative duties that you can outsource to other organizations. Doing so, you’ll be able to focus more time on crucial matters.
When it comes to the workflow in the office, you should determine which tasks will generate optimal results when you perform them, and delegate other assignments to your team members.
Prioritization is one of the most effective time management practices. You need to determine the most important tasks and perform them during the peak hours of your productivity.
The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, claims that 20% of what you do accounts for 80% of your successful results. The rest of the activities you perform are more likely to be a waste of time. This is why you should focus on crucial tasks and either delegate others or leave them for later.
One of the simplest yet most effective techniques for being more productive and saving time is called the Ivy Lee Method. It consists of ending each workday by coming up with a list of no more than six tasks that you’re going to perform tomorrow. You should arrange the tasks you’ve jotted down in line with their priority. Tomorrow, you should start from the most important task and move to others as you progress. If you don’t finish some of the tasks, add them to your list for the following day.
This way, you’ll get rid of the decision fatigue, perform crucial tasks when you’re most productive, and form a continuous workflow that will make getting the job done easier.
Plenty of people take on multiple tasks at once, thinking that it can help them save time. In practice, multitasking commonly creates the opposite effect.
It’s harder to focus your attention if you keep switching it between different tasks constantly. Instead of giving each activity the attention it deserves, you’re likely to compromise the quality of the work because you keep resetting your focus. Plenty of great ideas get lost along the way because you keep switching to tasks that require a different mindset.
The more successful your company is, the more people will reach out to you. When you get invited to meetings, you should ask for an agenda. This way, you can evaluate each meeting and determine whether it suits your business goals. If you realize that it won’t benefit either side, you need to know how to say “No”. In case the meeting could prove to be valuable, but you feel like you’re not prepared for it, schedule it for later so that you don’t waste your time.
You should also organize and determine the priorities for each meeting before holding it. This way, you’ll be able to make the most of the meeting during the time you’ve dedicated to it.
Use the “Brain Dump” Method
According to the famous productivity consultant David Allen, writing down all that you need to do and taking on small tasks right away will stop your mind from getting overwhelmed with too many ideas. This is what he calls the “Brain Dump”.
When you’ve got a lot of ideas, tasks, and projects that you need to assess, organize, and prioritize, take a piece of paper or open a to-do list app and jot them down. This way, you’ll be able to approach them with a clear head and spend less time working on them.
While it may sound contradictory to the concept of saving time, taking breaks is crucial for maintaining a productive workflow. If you spend hours working without taking the time to rest your mind, it’ll most often lead to burnout. When that happens, you’ll have to take a break anyway because you won’t be able to focus on the task at hand.
You should take scheduled breaks proactively. Step out of the office and go out for a walk. Walking boosts the blood flow to your brain and helps you to collect your thoughts. This way, you’ll be able to reflect on the task you’ve been doing and come up with fresh ideas when you get back to it. You can also take some time to socialize with your team and improve your motivation.
Keep Improving Your Strategy
An entrepreneur should always be open to learning and improvement. If you’ve got an efficient time management strategy in place, you should keep improving it whenever there is an opportunity. One of the best approaches is to perform regular audits of your time and determine which tasks take you too long to finish or require your attention frequently. Find ways to simplify these tasks or perform them more efficiently.
If you’re interested in reading more articles about various work-related situations and dilemmas, check out:
- How To Relieve Work-Related Stress
- 5 Professional Tips for Negotiating Like Steve Jobs
- 4 Essential Steps for Excelling at Your Career
- How to Handle a Career Setback
- 4 Ways To Beat Spring Fever in the Workplace
- 6 Ways to Show Your Gratitude to Your Employees
- 7 Ways To Celebrate National Boss Day
- How To Adapt Your Career to Big Life Changes