Published March 18th, 2016 by

Time Management Tips for Entrepreneurs That Actually Work

So, you are a fresh entrepreneur or you are planning on becoming one. Being a business owner requires many different skills so that a person can run an organization smoothly. It’s not an easy job and you will have to put in a lot of effort in adapting and educating yourself thoroughly to prepare for the many challenges that await in the future.

Time-Management_1As an entrepreneur, you will have to do multiple tasks during your every work day and learn to be the jack of all trades. You will have to do most of the things by yourself, at least at the beginning when you don’t have the resources to hire managers and other employees that can help run your business.

Apart from learning to do all of these things, one other essential skill you will need to acquire is time management. Why is time management so important? Well, simply because it’s that one skill that ties all of your other skills together. If you don’t know how to manage your time, you won’t get the chance to finish all of your daily tasks and, like I’ve said before, most of the work will be on your back, and nobody else’s.

Effective time management is not as easy as you think

At some point in your life, you might have taken management classes, read books about it, or were involved in organizing and scheduling some activities. No matter how successful you were in doing these things, they still won’t be enough for getting everything done as a business entrepreneur. The reason why these things won’t be helpful is quite simple, most of the things you learned about time management don’t actually work and you probably wasted your time.

As an entrepreneur, you can spend your time in three different ways: conversations, thinking and doing. No matter what kind of business you run or plan on running, these are the three components that will conduct your workflow. When you are a business owner, you can get interrupted or pulled away from your work frequently.

Although, in most cases, you won’t be able to stop those interruptions, you can decide how much time to spend on them and how much of your time will be used for thinking, acting and talking with your team. Here are some tips that can help you manage your time as an entrepreneur.

Create lists and use them

This is actually one of the points that most time management books or courses cover. Using and creating lists is highly efficient. It’s simply impossible to carry all the information in your head, especially when you have to know a lot of different things. You can even have multiple lists; but don’t overdo it, as it will just put more pressure on you, having an overall negative effect. Here are four lists that I’ve found very effective when organizing my time:

–    Schedule: a list of things you schedule during every day, organize and neatly place on a clear timeline;
–    A to do list: this is a simple to do list and you can organize it by day, week, or month. How you organize it depends mostly on the nature of your business;
–    Call list: the third list in my book is a call list which highlights the people I have to get in contact with during the day. I organize it alphabetically;
–    A reminder list: this list contains the names of people with whom you communicate frequently during the day, and you can write short lines next to people’s names, as a reminder of what you wanted to talk about with them, any conclusions you’ve come up with, etc.

It will take some time before you develop a system for making effective lists, and during that time, you will also find out what type of list suits your business the best. You might think you don’t need them, but believe me, you are just losing out by not creating them.

There is also a catch when you use lists. For example, you can try carrying your schedule list for a while and record the things you think about, the activities you’ve done and the conversations you had with other people.

By doing this, you will gain valuable information that can help you realize just how many things you do during the day and where your most important time is being spent. You will be able to determine how much of your time is spent on making results and how much of it is simply wasted on unproductive activities.

Segment your time

There are a lot of people whose schedules consist only of set-in-stone appointments with other people. A large part of my every workday is predetermined a couple of months in advance. For example, I always try to push all my essential over-the-phone appointments for a certain month in one day.

Time-Management_2Month after month, I schedule many different kinds of appointments: coaching meetings, presentations and other similar activities. The point is to dedicate these blocks of time to related activities, so that you can get in the zone and focus on the given tasks, without having to break your flow by doing something unrelated in between.

You should also look to leave as little unassigned time as possible. If you open your calendar a month earlier and pre-organize your obligations as much as you can, you will lose a minimum amount of time and your schedule will be complete.

If you reserve your time for important, high-value meetings, you will automatically let others know that you can’t reschedule for less important meetings and they will look to adjust their time to yours, rather than the other way around.

Make the most out of your each moment

Today, all things are portable. Through online devices you can listen to a seminar, read any book you like, find out information you’re interested in, etc. You can find these things anywhere, anytime, by simply connecting to the web via Laptop, mobile, or iPad. My point is that it’s much easier to get the desired information today, and this is why you can’t afford to waste time doing nothing when you can always do something that benefits your work.

Time-Management_4Our devices are always with us, and it’s easy to whip out your mobile phone while at the airport, when in public transportation, or when you are riding in a cab and looking for something important. For example, if you are running a club, you can find a lot of excellent club management software that can help you get the job done while away on a business meeting or vacation.

Don’t let people steal away your time

The more successful you get as an entrepreneur, the less time you will have and it will be more and more valuable to you. This is why you will have to learn to say no and stop. You will be amazed how quickly you will lose your time, which you wanted to spend on something important.

The biggest threats for loosing time are the so called time-thieves. This is why you have to make the most out of technology and resources, to save that valuable time you have so little of. Like I’ve said earlier, technology can give you access to important things, but on the other hand, it can also distract you in many ways, with games, apps, social networks, etc.

Organize yourself so that there is a predetermined time for business and so that you have some free time for yourself, as well. You can let your business time rule over your free time, but never the other way around.

Never let people distract you with irrelevant things while you are doing business. Even if someone wants to talk to you about business-related subjects, let them know that they have to be quick and concise, without beating around the bush.

Think of your health

In the end, it’s good to be selfish and think about yourself above everything and everyone else. Your mental and physical well-being is highly important, and nothing is worth jeopardizing these two. Sometimes, unexpected things happen because you get overwhelmed, no matter how much enthusiasm you have and how well-organized you might be.

Time-Management_3When you feel overwhelmed and stressed out, take a break and work less. Sometimes, it’s better to take a long needed break so that you can get back and on your feet more effectively, rather than overextending yourself.

If you are disciplined about your time, you will gain an edge over the competition, and probably become a successful entrepreneur. Just remember that sometimes it’s not possible to get everything done, so you must be realistic. After all, you are only human and we all have limitations. Hopefully, over time, you will become more efficient in organizing yourself and making the most out of it.


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