Entrepreneurship is a mindset that demands both professional and personal abilities. Launching, executing, growing and scaling your startup is a mental exercise involving business strategy, networking, research, planning, marketing, and numerous other related activities. Managing time effectively often becomes a challenge when your daily schedule is fully booked with meetings and events.
Working 80 hours a week with little to no progress is a clear sign of poor time management abilities.
Truth be told, time is life’s greatest equalizer. You have the same amount of time as the world’s most wealthiest and most successful CEO. The thing is, it doesn’t really matter how much time you have, but how you can make the most of every minute in a 24-hour interval. In order to attain goals, you have to set some ground rules. While some entrepreneurs can’t avoid distractions, others immerse themselves in working a lot but with little to no productivity.
The trick to managing time more effectively? Settle on a time management system and customize it. If you don’t want to be included in the 92% statistic of entrepreneurs who fail, learn to make the most of the precious time you have available.
Efficient time management goes beyond being “on time”
Time management has little to do with being “on time”. It’s more about having a direction and doing your best to solve emerging issues in an organized and systemized way. If the only person in charge in your startup is you, the founder, time management should revolve around the idea of what you can achieve on your own, including the amount of time required to do it.
On the other hand, if you have a team, your time management techniques should focus on delegating tasks. Stagnancy is a main precursor to failure, particularly if your startup is in its early stages. Before getting started, you should be completely honest throughout the process. Be aware of the things you can and can’t do: assess your habits (the good and the bad), acknowledge your team’s strengths, and settle on attainable deliverable in a specified timeframe.
The better you know your habits, the better chances you have to improve efficiency. You may like to work in the evening, or you’re used to completing critical tasks early in the morning - the secret is to maximize the time you have available and focus on the time of day you feel the most productive. It’s equally important to be honest as far as your capabilities are concerned. If you feel like it’s in the best interest of your business to outsource tasks, then you shouldn’t overthink it.
It’s always a good idea to learn new skills and push yourself to do more. However, since time is of the utmost importance, putting the skills you already have to good use is better than trying to perform a new task that needs extra learning. Targets that are unreasonable for you and your team will undermine your startup. Being overly optimistic or miscalculating can severely impact your daily schedule if situations become tense. Both ambition and optimisms are fundamental to driving persistence and performance. But you need to have realistic goals and be honest about what the things that can and can’t be done in a working day.
The inherent perks of a weekly agenda
Your business should adhere to a weekly plan that outlines major commercial objectives. But, you also need a weekly battle plan to streamline workflows. It pays to have a revised agenda every 7 days in order to map out short-term problems your company may be facing. An excellent tactic is to reserve 1 hour every Friday evening and go over the tasks that need to be completed the following week.
Why do I need a 7-day agenda if I already my objectives clearly laid out? Because weekly planning is more specific; it is aimed at the tasks that must be completed, therefore bringing your company a step closer to attaining an end goal (the big picture). Whether you’re trying to make your product market-fit, test the waters with a new demographic, or simply launch a service/product, your 7-day agenda should emphasize on the bigger picture. To make goals more manageable, break up tasks and duties so that you can navigate the process more efficiently.
Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize…
There’s literally no point in having a weekly agenda if you can’t get organized. When attempting to complete more tasks than you can handle, the end result is slower progress due to a lack of focus. How do you prioritize your weekly agenda to make the most of the time you have available? FIrst, you should rank tasks and obligations in order of importance. For example: before seeking funding for your startup, a more important objective is to have a logo and website first.
Time management goes beyond organization. It’s all about identification because it’s up to you to figure out what works within your company, what doesn’t work, and what hinders progress. How much time do you spend on social media, engaging with potential investors and customers? Can you streamline the process, or is your staff incapable of finishing tasks fast because of your outdated software?
In extreme situations you may realize that your company’s entire workday needs modifications. No matter what activities or events steal most of the available time from your agenda, prioritization is key. To identify “time killers” make sure to keep a log with daily activities on a weekly basis; analyze the amount of time spent on each task. If one of the tasks seems to be taking too much time, reevaluate to see where you can improve.
Get back in control. Automate tasks!
When it comes to managing time effectively, entrepreneurs should live by one word: automation. Craft a detailed list with activities and tasks that take too much of your time. If you have many weekly appointments but you keep running late, an online scheduling software is a brilliant time-saver. The most common of them all: Google Calendar. Use it to set up meetings, invite clients to events, organize brainstorming sessions with the team, and more. It is an excellent approach to reducing administrative time, therefore making more room to the things that truly need all your attention.
Another tool that will help you get back in control of your time is Scoro. The time management app packs all the features you may need to handle tasks more efficiently on a daily basis. From tracking time and work reporting all the way to billing, project and task management, Scoro is one of the best automation tools out there. Its most interesting feature is that it combines project management with time tracking and CRM, boosting collaboration and streamlining business processes.
Save as much energy as possible
Time management is not always about saving time. Sure, it matters to be organized and prioritize tasks that get you closer to your end goal. But it’s just as important to save energy. Allow yourself 30 minutes of meditation a day; or just take a break from your activities to go for a run. In order to have a clear mind, you need your physical strength. The startup environment is challenging, fast-paced, and filled with unexpected events that pop out of the blue. To cope with the hassle and stay productive, you need to value your energy. Practice the art of focusing on priorities, and learn to steer clear of distractions that might affect your performance.
Don’t forget to be flexible when evaluating what’s happening within your company, and make adjustments of both present and future responsibilities and roles. A recent report issued by Flux highlighted that 91% of HR directors will recruit people based on their ability to cope with uncertainty and change. 60% claim that the most important characteristics of a potential employees are resilience and wellness.
The world of entrepreneurship seems all fun and interesting to newbie startup founders. But here comes the bad news: youth doesn’t last forever. Many of you don’t realize the time made available to transform a business idea into full-blown business is limited.
Time management is not just a tool or an instrument. It’s a well-thought strategy that helps you plan, organize, and execute. Rather than dream about days longer than 24 hours, you should get things done by prioritizing tasks and assignments. Although the bad news is that time flies. The good news is that you’re the pilot, which means you’re in control.
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