Entrepreneurs have to wear a lot of hats while juggling various tasks, but if you’re not careful with your time management, it’s easy to head straight to burnout. Once you enter this slippery slope, you’ll notice a decrease in productivity and a drop in business efficiency while your schedule gets fuller and fuller.
So, how do other people do it? Why does everyone else seem to have a lot more time in the day than you, and where does all this business efficiency come from?
The answer is simple – they mastered their time and energy management skills and now make the most of it. The good news is that, with a bit of guidance and patience, anyone can do it. To help you get started, we compiled a few time management techniques and tips, so keep reading!
Learn to Prioritize (and Design To-Do Lists)
Let’s say you have 15 tasks on your to-do list for today. For most people, this is quite a load, so it’s safe to assume you won’t be able to accomplish all of them by the end of the day. When this happens, you end up feeling defeated, useless, and frustrated.
To-do lists that are too long open the door to procrastination because you’re feeling overwhelmed. The solution to a long list of things to do is a very short list of things to do. More exactly, a one-thing to-do list.
This is called prioritization. Have a look at your current list and choose a task you must accomplish by the end of the day. Write down on a separate list, and forget about the rest. It’s a simple trick, but by switching lists, your brain will get into gear and start working.
Once the task is complete, cross it off the big list and repeat the process with the following must-do task. Also, don’t treat your long to-do list as something you must accomplish in one day. Instead, turn it into a memory list so you won’t forget important things you need to do.
Use Time-Saving Tools
How many hours do you spend looking for documents, checking appointments, and doing repetitive tasks each day? It may not seem like much (because it’s fragmented), but when you draw the line, you often learn that around half of your day is spent with administrative tasks.
Luckily, nowadays, you can delegate some of these tasks to apps and tools that can keep track of events and meetings and perform repetitive tasks without your supervision or input. For instance, by using an invoice generator, you won’t have to set aside a few days at the end of the month for paperwork anymore.
Also, you can use calendars to keep track of events, project management software to monitor progress and design tasks for the team, and note-taking apps to catch all those sparks of inspiration. Just like corporations use Business Intelligence platforms to understand their internal flow, you can use less-intimidating tools to make sense of your time management.
Find & Block Distractions
Phone calls, texts, emails, social media, the news, friends and business collaborators dropping by unannounced – all these can be summarized in one word: distractions.
Of course, the list is way longer and changes from one individual to another. We all have moments when we can’t focus, but if you work from home or you’re not used to keeping yourself accountable, it’s increasingly easy to get distracted.
So, to learn how to improve your focus, you first need to identify your main distractions. Where does your focus go the moment you get into a flow zone? Do you find yourself reaching for the phone or checking your email five times within the timespan of an hour?
If so, you need to remove those distractions from your reach by either leaving devices in a different room or cutting off internet access when you don’t need it. Be diligent about it and honest with yourself, and in time, business efficiency will improve.
We all have 24 hours a day, and successful entrepreneurs value sleep. But the difference between them and the wannabes is that they’ve learned how to prioritize tasks, remove distractions, and make full use of the tools at their disposal.