Time management is one of the biggest obstacles we face in life, but that skill is even more critical when you run your own business. This is one of the biggest obstacles that many entrepreneurs face and if not properly managed can increase your stress level and decrease your productivity level and ultimately your income. Below are some tips to help you better manage your most precious resource: Time. Here are some tips that have been helpful to me.
Finding Time. The first step in good time management is finding time. Time is a finite resource and it has to come from somewhere. Try to find time in your lunch break, your daily commute, early in the morning before everyone wakes up or late at night. For example, when I first started this podcast, I had to find a way to work it into my schedule. So, for the first 4 months, I woke up every morning at 5:00 a.m. (I usually wake up at 7:00 a.m. to get my son ready to drop him off to day care) and dedicated those two hours to nothing but developing the podcast. So it was easy for me to manage everything else I was doing because it wasn’t really taking any time from my daily schedule.
Use your weekends. Use your weekends to build your company and your wealth! I know, I know, after a long week at work, you just want to decompress. But when you’re running a business, that’s not what the ENTIRE weekend is for. Sure you can take an hour or two to rejuvenate, but you should plan on spending the bulk of your time planning for the week, doing administrative work, networking, and building your brand. Also, when you stay in and focus on a project or a task, you don’t spend money! So not only are you using your weekend to build your company, you’re building wealth by saving money.
Planning. Planning, Planning, Planning. When you don’t plan your time, OTHERS DICTATE YOUR SCHEDULE. There are two problems with that (1) you are always reacting (on the defensive instead of offensive) to what work drops in your lap and (2) you don’t shape how you want your day to look. I made this mistake a few times and would have weeks where I felt like all I was doing was putting out fires. These are some planning tips I implemented:
Plan for the week and month. Make monthly to-do list and a weekly one. This way you know everything you NEED to complete by the end of the week. Use a daily planner to plan every single hour of each day a week in advance. This way, you can see where you can fit in new work that comes up.
Do your toughest tasks first thing in the morning. This tip changed my life! According to a study, humans have the most will power in the morning. So, do your toughest, most tedious task firsts. Furthermore, take advantage of that time before everybody starts blowing up social media, or clients are emailing or calling you.
Keep track of your time. This is difficult to do when you have no one to answer to. But keeping track of your time is KEY to time management. First, it lets you know HOW you’re spending your time and how long each task is taking you. The other reason to keep track of your time is so that you can see what type of tasks (i.e., administrative, running errands, writing content, making graphics, client work, networking, etc.) you are spending most of your time on. The reason this is important is because everything you do doesn’t make you money. While administrative work is necessary (unless you are sending out bills), it doesn’t bring in income; client work does. Keeping track of your time will force you to add more client work to your schedule.
You’ll always have a tension between too much to do and not enough time, but these tips will help you get a better handle on your time management and increase your productivity.