Managing your time as an entrepreneur is no easy feat. Managing it well is even harder. However, getting better at managing your time is so important for busy entrepreneurs to ensure you’re getting the most out of the day.
With that in mind, here are some simple time management and productivity tips.
1. Step away from technology
In many ways technology has made our lives easier and our businesses more efficient. The flipside is that technology can disrupt us, lead to poor sleep, less concentration and more procrastination.
All you have to do is say “I’ll spend 10 mins max on social media” and soon enough an hour has gone, leaving you with nothing to show for it.
Try to step away from tech as much as you can. For example, if you’ve got something you need 100% concentration on, turn your phone off and put it out of sight so you won’t be tempted.
2. Eat the frog
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” This saying from Mark Twain suggests that by doing the worst tasks first, the rest of the day will be easier. We have a tendency to put off the tasks we least like doing until the next day and the day after that until they become bigger issues that are harder to resolve.
3. Find your best working time
We’ve all read those articles about leading entrepreneurs waking up at 4am or getting barely any sleep like Elon Musk. You might have even tried 4am wake-up times yourself thinking it’s the secret.
However, there’s no one size fits all. No one’s writing headlines about entrepreneurs waking up at 7am even though plenty do.
Some people are night owls, others work best at 5am. Find what works for you and schedule the most difficult tasks that require more concentration at these peak hours to get the most out of a day.
4. Make use of dead time
Dead time refers to those little snippets of time throughout the day where nothing is really happening or you’re waiting for something. For example, waiting for food to cook, sitting in a doctor’s office or waiting for the train.
Most people fill this time with listening to music or browsing social media. But what if you could use this dead time more productively? Rather than browsing social media, use this time to schedule social media posts for your business. You could use this time to sort your email inbox on the train or plan your day out before you even get into the office.
5. Meal prep
When you’re busy, ready meals and takeaway are your new best friend but they can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and bloated – not ideal for busy people with a lot of responsibilities.
Cooking every night is a big time drain for any one so some people find meal prepping helpful in saving time. They will set aside some time usually on a Sunday to plan, prepare and cook meals for the week ahead. That way you’ll have a supply of quick and healthy meals throughout the week that you’ll only need to heat up.
6. Always use a to-do list
A to-do list can keep you on track and help you complete all the things you need to each day. There’s always something satisfying about crossing lots of things off your list. Try the Todoist app for a simple to-do list you can use on your phone and PC.
7. Learn to delegate
It’s a common enough problem for entrepreneurs, not knowing when to give up certain responsibilities. Most people start by trying to do everything all at once which may be fine when business is quiet but as you grow it becomes impossible to do everything well.
Learn to delegate to your staff members or outsource to freelancers in busy periods. It’ll be a huge weight off your shoulders and frees you up to concentrate on managing your business and thinking up new ways to grow.
Do you always lose paperwork or files on your computer? Take a look at your desk and filing system, could they be reorganised in a more efficient way? Next take a look at your computer. Are files or emails easy to find? Can you reorganise your folders in a way that’s simpler? If you’ve got a desktop full of random documents and folders, have a tidy up and you’ll waste less time trying to find everything in the future.
9. Have a finish time
You’ll end up spending way too much time working if you don’t have a formal finishing time. A lot of entrepreneurs do this thinking it’s a good thing but all it’s going to do is increase your stress levels and lead to burnout.
10. Have regular breaks
Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to get everything done before the end of the day, you need breaks. Everyone does. Would you expect your staff to work 24/7?
If you’re worried about getting distracted during these breaks, set a timer to remind you when to get back to work.
11. Choose you apps wisely
Apps are like digital clutter. You accumulate them over years and look back one day and think – why did I download that, I’ve never used it?
All they do is take up space and time spent updating them all the time. You’ll be able to find the apps you actually need when your phone is more organised. You may find it useful to have folders for each type of app, e.g. travel or finance.
12. Use the cloud
Cloud storage make it easier than ever to create documents you can view on multiple devices and share to others. It also protects you from losing documents due to fire or theft as you’ll just be able to load them up elsewhere.
Cloud accounting is also growing in popularity for business owners. With cloud accounting you’ll be able to view your records in real-time from wherever you are. It makes updating your records simpler than ever because you can do it as and when from your smartphone. Interested in learning more? Try free bookkeeping software, Pandle.
How do you manage your time? Do you have any productivity apps you’d like to recommend? Please share your thoughts below.