It seems like there’s never enough time in a day to finish all the tasks you must complete. This is especially true if you’re a busy entrepreneur trying to get your company off the ground. But every day holds the same amount of time. The only thing that differs from one day to the next is how you use the time you have. And this is why time management is extremely important. Would you be surprised to learn that you could be managing yours better? Would you be surprised that you could, in fact, get everything done and have time to spare? When you manage your time appropriately, you can do just that. Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Learn to say no. I see you shaking your head in disbelief. Didn’t I just say you could get everything done? I did. The problem is that you’re wasting time on stuff you don’t actually need to do. I can almost hear your thoughts: “I need to do it ALL!” This simply isn’t true. What you need to do is learn to delegate the tasks that others can do, as well as say no to unnecessary obligations. You absolutely do not have to do everything on your own – this is a fallacy you’ve constructed in your own mind because you don’t want to relinquish control. When you finally realize that others are capable of handling the tasks you set them, you’ll suddenly find that you have a lot more time to work with. And when you say no to the things that actually aren’t that important, you can put more time and energy into the things that are.
- Keep a schedule. It will take time to learn the delicate art of delegation. In the meantime, you need to stop overbooking. If you’re a bit haphazard about keeping a datebook, now is the time to get organized and start writing down everything. Don’t forget to schedule down time. You’re going to need to eat, sleep, use the restroom, and check your email and social media accounts, at the very least, and all of these things take time. If being on time is important, stop booking back-to-back meetings and then showing up late because you forgot to factor in down time.
- Plan and follow up. Before you do anything else, plan out each and every day. Look over your schedule, add in new items as needed, and get your plan set on paper and in your mind before you make any phone calls or take any meetings. At the end of the day, follow up with notes about what you completed and what needs to be pushed off until tomorrow or another day.
- Prioritize. What are the most important and productive activities you perform as an entrepreneur? List them. Now figure out how much of your time is spent on these activities and how much is spent on less valuable pursuits. Find ways to cut back on the unimportant stuff so that you can devote more of your valuable time to the most valuable efforts.
- Take care of your health. Your Magnum Clock can tell you how late you are for a meeting or how far past your bedtime it is, but it cannot tell you the toll this stress and sleeplessness are taking on your health. When you’re tired and burned out, tasks will take longer, you’re bound to procrastinate, and you’ll start to hate your life. In other words, you’ll end up being useless. So make sure your time management involves taking time to care for yourself. Your business depends on it.