Juggling (\Júg-lig\, n.): the act of manipulating one object or many objects at the same time, using one or both hands. What word could better describe the role of an entrepreneur?
Planning for the future, while taking care of everyday admin responsibilities, is just another day in the life. Entrepreneurs are faced with frequent interruptions and are pulled in a million directions. They often sacrifice sleep and personal fulfillment to get to the top. While you cannot simply erase these distractions, you can take control of how much time you need to spend on them without ‘dropping the ball’.
If you’re running a business and are ready to take on the world, the most cherished resource at your disposal is time. Implementing a few smart time management strategies can help keep things from getting out of hand. After all, no matter how smart or hard-working you may be, at the end of the day there are no more hours to spare. If you feel as though you’re out of breath from a continuous marathon, consider these top tips to manage your time more efficiently.
1. Live by lists
Get all of those tasks out of your head and onto paper… A tried and true staple for successful entrepreneurs is maintaining a daily to-do list. By simply jotting down all your thoughts and things that need to be done and prioritizing them, you can make sure that you are on top of everything. Creating a list helps to avoid distractions and less relevant tasks.
At the beginning of your day, spend at least thirty minutes making a clear plan of action including how much time you want to spend on each task. If you struggle with time limits, try using an online timing tool to keep you on track. Make sure to scratch off the completed items, as this will help you assess your progress and accomplishments at the end of the day. A little list can go a long way, as your time will be used more efficiently and you’ll be able to weigh which tasks are more important.
2. Schedule everything
It sounds like a no-brainer, but many neglect to plan the week with a diary or a calendar. After making your list, you should set out when each task will take place, to ensure you don’t miss out on anything important. Schedules help to avoid wasting time and keep a balanced life.
You hesitate at the thought of making the effort to schedule all their obligations. But that’s where modern technology comes to save the day. Digital calendars such as a Google Calendar or BusyCal are a painless way to guide your days. Most digital calendars can do everything from coordinating meetings with associates to pointing out when there’s no more time to spare.
3. Tackle new technology
On the topic of digital calendars, thanks to continuing innovations in internet and mobile technology, entrepreneurs can organize their fast-paced lives whether travelling or working from home. The savvy entrepreneur can utilize technology to reduce tasks that can absorb all the hours of the day.
There are so many options, from automated banking systems to social media platforms that schedule your marketing posts ahead of time, cell phone apps that remind you of appointments and so on. You can automatically trace how you spend your time, eliminate all those distractions, and keep your eye on the prize.
4. Delegate work
If you’re lucky enough to have a team around you that you trust and understand the business, then make use of them. It’s much easier to manage your own time and be a great leader when you have the ability to delegate. Think about a football game: the quarterback cannot throw the game-winning pass without a teammate or two ready in the distance. Even if you feel that you’re the only one to get the job done properly, in order to take pressure off yourself, you must take advantage of your staff. Here are a few steps to help you get started.
5. Draw the line
Meetings are so very important, but so very time-consuming. While they are essential, scheduling too many or spending too much time in them can throw you off track. Try to not make back-to-back meetings, as it leaves too little time to fully absorb what’s been said. Time is valuable, so whether you’re sitting with a client or on a phone call, set clear limits and deadlines to call a close when it’s due.
6. Lessen distractions
I cannot finish this article without mentioning these sneaky devils. Distractions come in the form of social media, emails and phone calls, even if these tools generate business. Plan a set amount of time each day to focus on these things, so that you’re not tempted to check them throughout the day.
Did we forget one of your time management tips?