35 Time Management Tips for Entrepreneurs
If you manage a team or run a business, you’re most probably racing against the clock. As time marches on without a pause, you watch yourself chasing after it. Huffing and puffing, red in the face, a sharp stitch in your side…
Nice image? Not!
We understand you’re pressed for time even now. We most definitely won’t take more of it than we should. In this blog, we offer some quick pro tips to help you make your time count. Read on and learn how you can manage your hours to run your team and business effectively.
1. Start Your Day Earlier
You know how the saying goes, “Early bird gets the worm”? Well, it applies to entrepreneurs more than anyone else. Begin your day earlier than you do. If you wake up at 7 in the morning, start waking up at 5. Those two extra hours will prove to be more precious than anything.
This is your undisturbed slot of the day. Spend time with yourself instead of on business tasks. Watch the sunrise, take a quiet stroll, inhale the fresh morning air, and make yourself a great breakfast – it’s the most important meal of the day, after all. As a plus, you can neatly sidestep problems like running to dress, skipping breakfast, jumping out the door only to get stuck in the rush hour traffic.
Tim Cook, Oprah Winfrey, Indira Nooyi, and Barack Obama start their day with the dawn. It’s no surprise. Most successful people of the world report getting a head start every day. That’s why the 5 A.M. Club exists! “The secret of getting ahead is getting started,” as Mark Twain rightly said – we’ll only tag “early” to the end of that sentence. Join the elite club and experience the unparalleled advantages of being an early riser (trust us, it totally makes you wiser).
2. Sleep on Time
As a kid, you might have hated bedtime. As an adult, you might find yourself delaying sleep by having frequent late nights out. But if you’re an entrepreneur, this simply won’t do.
For better or worse, you have to scale back on pointless fun and prioritize your meaningful success. And one of the crucial factors behind success that you might be overlooking is good sleep. Getting insufficient and poor-quality sleep are significant factors that decrease your productivity levels during the day.
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If you spend late nights out frequently, you’re unlikely to sleep on time. And if you don’t sleep on time, it’s doubtful you’ll get a head start on the day. Do you see how fixing your schedule is crucial?
3. Notice What You Eat
If you think your eating pattern doesn’t impact your activity and performance levels, think again.
Modern science proves the exponential impact of your food intake on your productivity. If you skip your breakfast, you might find yourself battling hunger pangs in the middle of a busy morning. On the other hand, if you eat too much for lunch, you might feel sluggish for the remainder of the workday.
Make sure you eat healthy. Assess whether your diet is nutritious or not. Are you consuming enough calories? Are you eating enough vegetables and fruits? If you take too many carbohydrates, for instance, you risk wrecking your performance levels. Don’t take our word for it; there are several studies that prove the same.
It’s time to start eating healthy. Add wholesome food to your diet, eat at regular intervals, and don’t skip meals! Follow this tip, and you’ll find your energy levels rising, making you capable of conquering mountains.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Sounds like a snooze? We promise you; it’s not.
Studies prove the countless benefits of mindfulness. People who incorporate mindfulness techniques into their daily routines report improved focus, better memory, and greater ability to work under pressure. It also helps them stay grounded, more present, and make better decisions.
Yoga is one of the most effective mindfulness techniques that make you fully conscious and lead to greater self-awareness. There are other forms of meditation you can take up, such as deep breathing, mountain meditation, the raisin exercise, or something as simple as intentional action. It might appear easy, but it has a tremendous impact on your performance.
5. Work Out or Play a Sport in the Morning
Yeah, exercise or a sport in the morning. We know a lot of you will be saying meh…really.
But let’s hear it from the king of entrepreneurs who owns 400+ companies (Woah!). I’m talking about Sir Richard Branson.
When asked how you manage 400+ companies, thousands of employees, and gazillions of things, he simply said: “I definitely can achieve twice as much by keeping fit, as it keeps the brain functioning well.”
The billionaire mogul wakes up at 5 A.M. every morning to start his day with some kitesurfing and tennis (and breakfast) before he gets to the business.
And it makes perfect sense that a healthier body achieves more in less time and with better efficiency.
6. Set a Time Limit for Everything
Keeping a proper check and balance on schedules is extremely important to utilize your time effectively. Consider calendar blocking to manage your time effectively.
This means you sit down and pre-plan your entire workday or workweek. Carve your time into slots, and allot those slots to specific tasks. This will give you clarity and control over your schedule like never before.
Set a specific time for all your meetings and try your best to get them done on time. Outline all your tasks and determine the time you will dedicate to them. Then try your best to stick to your planned schedule.
Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, uses a relatively simple yet effective technique to maximize time and evaluate meetings.
He calls it the “Two Pizza Rule.”
He will not go to any meeting if two pizzas are not enough for the members of that meeting.
7. Use Laziness to Your Advantage
Lazy people are generally called out for being unproductive. They consume a lot of time in getting tasks done and level up, even with just-productive people.
On the flip side, they tend to be more efficient as well.
Let’s hear it from the Chief Experience Officer of Microsoft. In her interview with Fast Company, Julia Larson-Green said:
“I’m a huge procrastinator and a fairly lazy person. Being lazy makes me more efficient because I try to find ways that I can do the best work in the most minimal amount of time. I also know that I need pressure to perform, and procrastination is one of the levers for creating that pressure.”
If being an unproductive and lazy person can’t stop you from getting a C-Level job at the world’s largest tech firm, then there is no way it can stop you from being a successful and time-efficient entrepreneur.
8. Give Up Procrastinating
Laziness is different from procrastination, though the two are often confused and used interchangeably. You might not be lazy, but you can still be a master procrastinator.
Procrastinators are people who put off and postpone tasks. They get their work done alright, but often at the eleventh hour. This leads to their workload piling up, their stress levels climbing, and sometimes, even compromised work quality. They know they can do a much better job, but they just don’t. Not because they can’t, but because they no longer have the time for it since they wasted so much of it…you guessed it…procrastinating!
Quit procrastinating today. Not tomorrow or the day after or the day after that. If you want to achieve great things as an entrepreneur, you have to exercise some self-discipline. There are some proven tips and tricks to overcoming procrastination – apply them and see the benefits for yourself. You can markedly enhance your personal as well as professional life by working ahead, instead of behind, your schedule.
9. Implement Ivy Lee’s Time Efficiency Hacking Technique
Ivy Lee, a productivity consultant at Bethlehem Steel Corporation. Lee presents a powerful method to manage your time. It’s called the Time Efficiency Hacking Technique:
- Before planning your day, list down six things you’d like to get done the next day.
- Set all these six things according to priority
- While starting your day, focus on the first task until it gets done. After that, proceed the same way until you reach the end.
- Keep going the same way until you finish all six tasks and write them again when the day ends.
- Include Predictable Outcomes with Activities
10. Boost Your Productivity
“Focus on being productive instead of busy,” says Tim Ferriss, an American entrepreneur. Ferris is also the author of such books as The Tools of Titans and The 4-Hour Workweek, so you can trust him to know what he’s talking about.
You’d be shocked by the number of people who report being busy all day but who never get anything done. The missing factor? They don’t know how to be productive.
So, while they invest their time and energy into doing things, they surprisingly achieve very little. You want to avoid making this mistake. And how can you do that? Well, by boosting your productivity!
Things you ignore but engage in daily can decrease your productivity levels. This includes habits like focusing on failures, engaging in unnecessary conflicts, and not taking time out to relax. Conversely, small daily acts such as talking to your employees, the way you dress, and something as simple as good ventilation can enhance your productivity.
If you want to explore the subject deeper, we have compiled a list of books that can help you bolster your productivity. This is one surefire way of doing better and achieving more every single day!
11. Productivity or Efficiency?
Productivity and efficiency form another pair of words people use interchangeably. While considered synonymous by many, the two concepts are, in fact, quite distinct.
Productivity is the quantity of your output. In simple words, it is the amount of work you get done. In comparison, efficiency is all about the resources you put into the work process.
Suppose you have two teams. Team A has five workers to do Task 1 in 10 hours. Team B has three workers to do the same Task 1 in the same number of hours. In this case, while the productivity level of both teams is the same (they finish Task 1), Team B is clearly more efficient.
In order to be a successful entrepreneur or manager, you need to be productive as well as efficient. After all, the quantity of your work matters, but it’s the quality and standards you maintain that set you apart from the rest.
Once you have clarity of thought and purpose, you can set your goals accordingly and determine the proper process to achieve them. This is how you can make the most of your time and leave your mark on the world. As Arthur Schopenhauer says, “Ordinary people think merely of spending time, great people think of using it.”
12. Say No
When you start a business or even own a small/midsize business, the chances are that you have to do a lot of meetings and be part of a lot of small huddles and interruptions.
But this doesn’t mean you have to greet them with open arms every time. In fact, you should show your back as many times as you can.
That’s what the world’s 2nd richest person is doing.
Warren Buffett’s approach to time management is straightforward.
Just Say “No.”
In an interview with Entrepreneur, Buffet said;
“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.”
But this doesn’t mean saying “no” randomly to everything. Rather, it means to purposefully and intentionally say no to non-essentials, time-wasters, and even letting go of potential opportunities sometimes.
13. Take Advantage of the Pareto Principle (80/20 Rule) to Prioritize
An Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, put forward this principle.
According to this rule, 80% of your results will come from 20% of the efforts.
This came as no surprise. Remember we mentioned earlier that nearly 5 hours from an 8 hours workday are just dust and smoke?
From a time-management perspective, you should prioritize and channel all your concentration towards 20% of those significant tasks that will produce 80% of the results.
Pro Tip: Task prioritization was the core idea behind creating Week Plan as it lets you prioritize tasks and become more efficient at completing tasks. Rather than grinding and chunking on all tasks that come your way, Week Plan enables you to focus only on the most important tasks.
14. Get Rid of Interruptions
Unnecessary phone calls, pointless social media scrolling, a barrage of useless emails to sift through – things like these vie for your attention every day. If you’re not aware, you will end up losing your focus and spend your precious time on trivial tasks. You’re especially at risk if you are a work-at-home entrepreneur.
You must get rid of interruptions if you want to make the most of your time. A study conducted by Leadership IQ on 6,000 professionals revealed that as many as 71% of people suffer from interruptions at work frequently.
Imagine you are in the middle of something and highly focused on completing a task. But an interruption in the form of calls, staff coming in, or your family needs your attention.
Dealing with that interruption can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes of your time, and you might probably need another 30 minutes to get back into your focus groove.
That’s how devastating interruptions could be.
Moreover, only 44% of those who get interrupted feel that their day was productive, whereas 67% consider their day productive when they block their interruptions.
The best way to deal with interruptions is to set a specific time for work and handle all non-essential items later.
15. Surpass Initial Sluggishness with the 2-Minute Rule
Sometimes your pace is slow due to the complexity of the task or your lack of interest.
It is usually tricky to deal with initial inertia. It can often lead to a lot of wasted time.
This can be solved using the 2-minute rule of time management.
The 2 Minute Rule is not about finishing your task in just 2 minutes; it’s about encouraging you to start the work instead of thinking about when to start.
If you start a task and spend your first two minutes doing it, then you will automatically get yourself involved around it, and you will notice that you end up finishing it quickly too.
16. Prioritize Time using Stephen Covey’s Four Quadrant System
The four-quadrant system of Stephen Covey is beneficial to manage your time by filtering your tasks in terms of priority and urgency level.
1st Quadrant: List all your tasks that are important and urgent as well.
2nd Quadrant: List all your tasks that are important but not too urgent.
3rd Quadrant: List all the tasks that are urgent but not important.
4th Quadrant: List of tasks that are neither important nor urgent.
If you want to dive deeper into this subject, we have you covered.
17. Focus on Just-In-Time Knowledge
As an entrepreneur, you have to learn many new things to understand all your business operations and dynamics.
It requires a specific time to get all the critical data, and you have to search different platforms for it, like blogs, studies, videos, and more.
In this scenario, Just-In-Time learning is the best solution to handle things appropriately.
Originated from the manufacturing industry and, more specifically by Toyota, just in time approach calls for working on a task, research anything, only when required.
For doing that correctly, you have to ensure that you don’t waste your time on unnecessary research. Instead, focus your effort on research that is essential and only when it’s required.
18. Delegate Your Tasks to Save Time
As an entrepreneur, you have many ends of your business to take care of. It’s certainly not easy to manage everything by yourself. This is where delegating comes in handy. Delegating tasks to a staff member can help you save tons of time and make room for more critical tasks.
A study on task delegation revealed that 53 percent of business owners believe that they can grow their business by more than 20 percent if they delegate 10 percent of their workload to someone else.
Delegating tasks not only helps you save time but also increases your work efficiency as well as the overall business. For example, if you are a tech founder, delegating marketing tasks to a specialized marketer not only improves your business’s marketing efforts but also gives you more time to focus on essential tasks.
19. Automate Your Repetitive Tasks
There are some tasks that need to be done repeatedly.
Generally, these are the basic tasks you perform daily, but they still consume a considerable chunk of your time.
You can filter out all these tasks and use services such as IFTTT or Zapier to automate them. This way, you won’t have to waste your time involving these tasks again and again.
Here are some IFTTT recipes to automate business processes for small businesses and save many hours every time.
Pro Tip: You can use our Week Plan to get reminded about or delegate repetitive tasks to your team.
20. Get Benefit from the Pomodoro Technique of Time Management
The Pomodoro Technique is a great way to concentrate on a specific task for a short period and try to get that task done within that time slot.
Typically, the Pomodoro Timer works on a maximum of 25-30 minutes for each task. Work dedicatedly on that task in that time slot.
Developed by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Time Management Technique works like this;
- Decide on the task to be completed.
- Set the Pomodoro timer (traditionally to 25 minutes).
- Work on the task, end work when the timer rings and put a checkmark on paper.
- If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 2.
- After four pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1.
This technique is popular among software development projects and other incremental development projects.
Pro Tip: Week Plan has a built-in Pomodoro Timer, which you can start on any task you like.
21. Take Regular Breaks
You might be wondering, how does taking a break from work help you with saving time on work?
The answer is pretty simple. Taking some time out from the busy schedule is quite helpful for entrepreneurs to get back on the tasks with more energy.
A. Physical activity or Exercise: This helps you increase blood flow and improves focus and attention.
B. Improve Skills: Learning something new will help boost motivation.
C. Help a colleague: Looking out for a colleague at work enlightens your inner self and gives you a comforting and positive feeling.
D. Setup a Goal: Take time to think about and set up a new goal for work or personal life.
So rather than being depleted of energy and motivation and ultimately spending more time on a task, taking time off from work helps you recharge your mind. This not only helps you with completing a task in less time but also with more efficiency.
Taking regular short breaks will refresh your mind. It also will help you to find other creative ideas to implement a better strategy towards work.
When you continuously get involved in your tasks without relaxing and resting, you risk over-exhaustion and burnout. This is a professional hazard that’s completely avoidable. Stay on your guard, take regular breaks, and increase your longevity.
22. Do a Time Audit
A time audit is an excellent way to get a complete picture of everything you spend your time on.
You can quickly identify where you are spending most of your time or which tasks are consuming your time unnecessarily. This insight will enable you to plan a better strategy and make a positive change to deal with impeding factors.
You can quickly make the necessary adjustments in your task planner and revise your strategy to get things back on track. These essential changes enable you to meet your time requirements and achieve your business goals.
To identify where you are spending most of your time, you can utilize apps like RescueTime, which will help you understand your daily habits and where you spend your time, so you can focus and be more productive.
23. Filter out Your Three Essential Tasks
Time management has a strong relation with mind management. You have to first focus on mind management before having a strategy for time management.
Mind management is all about planning all your important tasks for the next day and keeping them on your priority list for a specific period. It will ensure that you keep a perfect balance between your main tasks and ordinary tasks.
From your weekly task calendar, you should separate three main tasks of the day, which are extremely necessary to be done. It will help you accomplish all the key tasks of the day without wasting time on unessential tasks.
This can be achieved through Eisenhower’s Urgency Matrix.
Eisenhower’s Urgency-Importance Matrix is all about thinking appropriately before finalizing your task calendar. It will help you prioritize your tasks, and you will be more efficient in managing your time.
24. Assign Suitable Time for Tasks
Allocating a realistic time for your tasks will assist you in completing them on time. Otherwise, you might find yourself adjusting your schedule over and over, leading to more wasted time.
Doing a time audit like mentioned above will unveil how much time you spend on tasks, including tasks that you frequently do.
In turn, this will help you identify how much time you will need for tasks and allocate the best amount of time to them. It will also save the time and energy you currently spend re-adjusting your schedule over and over.
25. Get Simple Tasks Done First
Start your day by doing simple tasks first. They are easy to do, and you can finish them quickly, so it’s great if you get them out of the way. It will boost your confidence in complicated tasks, and you will approach them with greater energy and rigor.
If you are the type that needs to relax early in the day, completing small and easier tasks will release some of your stress. These tasks aren’t time-consuming or complex. So, you can just get them done and get in the groove of working without the added pressure of completing them quickly.
At the same time, you automatically build the right momentum for the rest of the workday to achieve more important goals.
26. Make Better Initial Judgments
Having better initial judgments can help you with time management issues.
If you make a wrong time calendar of your daily tasks by filling it with all the unnecessary tasks on top of the list, you will have to spend several hours just trying to undo the damage.
Give yourself some good time to plan an effective initial decision about scheduling your tasks.
For all non-essential tasks that you need to do but not urgently, you can take the help of a solution like “Boards” in Week Plan, which serves as the Parking Lot for all such tasks.
27. Avoid Multitasking
Though multitasking is said to save your time on tasks, in truth, multitasking can obstruct your workflow and impede progress.
Research shows that multitasking can waste time and efficiency as you continuously switch between tasks and lose focus.
To counter this, you can take help from Attention Management.
Attention management means concentrating on a single task at a time instead of thinking about multiple tasks. If you get involved with various tasks at the same time, your productivity will take a hit. You are also more likely to waste time and compromise the quality of your work.
28. Break Your Time-Consuming Tasks Into Chunks
Breaking all your tasks that require massive time to complete into small subtasks is a perfect way to handle them successfully.
This helps you effectively manage your time and complete a project or task via smaller and manageable subtasks.
It will enable you to create a step-by-step approach to achieve milestones. It will also keep you updated with the total time spent on a task so you can track the exact time and measure your productivity.
29. Follow the Find out, Decide, or Do Pattern to manage time effectively
When you don’t have a clear picture of the tasks you have to complete, you’re likely to get lost in a haze of confusion. Getting clarity is one of the primary steps of getting things done. As you begin a workweek and several deadlines loom on the horizon, just try to focus on three things first:
- Find specific information regarding it so that you can understand it properly
- Decide whether you can do it now or it’s better to finish it later and
- Move further with other tasks.
These quick steps enable you to take the right direction. Equipped with sound knowledge, you can start working while managing your time effectively.
This is where a priority management system will assist you in prioritizing your tasks. This tool provides you with a systemic approach to deal with all your tasks. It helps you devise a roadmap that will lead you to project completion in gradual steps.
Envision the result before you begin. With the added clarity and transparency, you can work effectively towards accomplishing the tasks. Week Plan’s task management software helps you prioritize tasks and effectively use your time on tasks that matter.
30. Realize Quickly When Something Is Not Working
Like with everything in life, your time management strategy can work, or it can fail. Be prepared in either case. If you don’t see results, rethink our approach, realize what isn’t working, and shift gears accordingly.
If you see your current time management tactics backfiring instead of benefiting you, be proactive in coming up with a new time management plan and implementing it pronto in your daily routine.
Your plans always need some alterations. So be open to the idea of change. Accurately identify the weak areas in your time management plans and tweak them sooner rather than later. A winning mindset catches mistakes and fixes them before further damage is done.
31. Learn to Hack Your Time
We’ve already gone over multiple successful time management strategies by this point. While the methods we’ve described above are effective, don’t overlook the simpler options. Making a schedule, allotting time slots, taking time to relax, and task prioritization are small acts that go a long way in your time management endeavor.
You can effortlessly incorporate these easy-to-do and well-known tricks into your routines. They’ll help you save your time – ah, that precious, irreplaceable commodity. Learn more on how you can make the most of these straightforward tips here and here.
32. Take Advantage of your Sweet Productive Spot
Everybody has some preferred productivity time at which they are at their peak performance.
For some people, morning is the ideal productive time. For others, their productivity and creativity might peak at night-time.
Finding your best productivity time and keeping all the complex tasks for that time is a great way to get more done in less time.
A time audit will help you find your most productive time slot and helps you shift your important tasks to that window.
33. Color Code Your Time Calendar
Applying color codes to your time calendar is a handy time management tactic.
You can easily do this by setting different colors around your tasks like marking your appointment with red, emails with blue, marketing activity list with green, and so on. This will work as a self-reporting tool for you. It will also assist you in tracking your time spent on each activity.
34. Review Your Time Weekly
You might be working all week, happily checking off tasks on your to-do list. However, in the process, you might lose sight of the bigger picture.
Days, weeks, months, and years tally up without us realizing where we started, where we went from there, and where we eventually ended up. Looking back, you might rethink or, worse, regret some of your decisions and choices.
This is why it’s important to review your time, at least on a weekly basis. Sit down with yourself, and recap all you did in the week. Quantify the completed tasks, calculate the success rate, and decide what was fruitful and what was futile. Set future goals and upcoming plans accordingly.
This is a reflective activity that will make you highly aware of your current status in life. Consequently, you can better decide how to steer or re-route your path. This small act will also revive your creativity and sharpen your intuition by unblocking your thought pattern.
Armed with such valuable insights, you can proactively dedicate your time to meaningful tasks that bring you closer to your objectives every single day.
35. Gear Your Mindset Toward Success
Ever heard of the term ‘the entrepreneurial mind’? It’s legit! Just look around, and you’ll see how entrepreneurs think about time differently. With a flexible mind and solid self-belief, they get down to the work that needs to be done. This is why you won’t find entrepreneurs wasting their time or anyone else’s time, for that matter.
Is this a time-management trick? It absolutely is. When you gear your mind toward success, you remove the inessential from your day. You begin to focus, plan, and prioritize – all the ingredients that help you achieve success in good time.
Are these innate skills that can’t be cultivated? No! You, too, can become an unforgettable entrepreneur if you develop these crucial qualities in yourself.
As Roy Ash says, “An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.” This is the gist of being an entrepreneur. It’s not the hours you put in, the money you make, or the image you craft. Rather, it is the way you value your time. Your mind is a powerful tool. Leverage it to your advantage.
Creating a balance between work and life is no mean feat. Many distractions will come up to detract you from your purpose, but the way you react to them is what it matters the most.
Time management is undoubtedly challenging for a leader and entrepreneur. But you can do it easily if you follow the tried and tested time management tips we have just shared with you. These tips will help you track your time effectively. They will also boost your productivity and efficiency.
Now that we’ve prepped you up to achieve maximum results in minimum time, do you have any good time management tips you’d like to add to our list? Feel free to share them with us!
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