10 Time Management Tips for Entrepreneurs
1. Use Time Tracking Software
Time-tracking software is a great tool that can help entrepreneurs better manage their own time, as well as the time of their employees, teams, etc. There are a lot of benefits of time-tracking apps, but the most important can be boiled down to:
- Increased productivity – time-tracking tools can help you collect all the information about how exactly you spend your time during the workday. With time-tracking software, it’s super easy to pinpoint what work areas are not fully optimized and make improvements to increase productivity.
- Optimize resources – Work is infinite, but resources are not. In most cases, they are limited. Time-tracking apps can help you with resource management by giving you a detailed overview of how exactly certain types of resources are used. Which tasks require the most attention, which can be delegated, and which ones can be streamlined or, in rare cases, postponed or dropped?
- Managing projects – Entrepreneurs, more often than not, have to wear multiple hats and work on multiple projects at the same time. We’re sure that, as one yourself, you're fully aware of this fact. But, what you maybe didn't know is the extent to which time-tracking tools can help you keep tabs on all tasks, deadlines, overall progress on different projects, and more.
- Control costs and optimize budgets – With time-tracking apps, you can manage labor costs more easily by directly monitoring the amount of time that's being allocated to each individual task and project. This can prevent over or underutilization of specific resources but can also allow for the creation of more optimized project budgets and budget estimates.
2. Learn How to Prioritize Tasks
There are a lot of different techniques and strategies that can help entrepreneurs better prioritize tasks and improve their overall time management. From the Eisenhower Method and Time Blocking to setting SMART goals, you have tons of options. In fact, too many to mention in a single article.
That’s why we’ve written two articles covering this in detail — the importance of time management and time management strategies. They are a valuable resource if you need help deciding what task prioritization or time tracking method is the best for you.
No one can do everything alone, not even an entrepreneur — your time will be much better managed if you delegate.
Pick out the tasks that your team members or employees can perform. One of the ways you can do this is by following the Eisenhower Matrix. This is a popular method of task prioritization that involves creating a specific category of tasks that you can delegate to others (amongst other things).
If the Matrix method is not your thing, you could try the following before delegating a specific task:
- Identify the task that you wish to delegate.
- Evaluate its complexity and importance.
- Search for the right person whose skillset matches the task’s difficulty levels, nature, etc.
- Set clear objectives for the task and provide all the information, resources, and tools required for completing the task to the person you’re delegating it to.
- Once the task is handed over, be sure to check in with your team once in a while And remember – trust, but verify.
- Lastly, when the task is complete, be sure to give credit to the person who completed it.
And, if you are a solopreneur and don’t have a team to delegate tasks to, don’t worry. You can hire freelancers or contractors to perform them. That way you can free up a lot of time to focus on other, more urgent tasks, growing your business, optimizing workflows, and more.
4. Stop Procrastinating
Procrastination is a huge time-waster and can have a negative impact on the way entrepreneurs, and people in general, manage their time. It can increase avoidance (behavior associated with procrastination in which a subject is more likely to postpone work obligations), stress, and sometimes your overall well-being and health.
But try not to worry too much about this as it may push you further into procrastinating. What you should do instead is:
- Set smaller goals – Sometimes just the idea of finishing a complicated task can push us into procrastination. To avoid this, try breaking down large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones. You’ll not only get to feel the sense of accomplishment after each smaller task, but you will also make it easier for yourself to follow task progress.
- Organize tasks – If your daily task list is what causes a lot of anxiety around your workload, try organizing it. You could do this by grouping similar tasks together and then working on the tasks within each group until they are done. This will not only give you a sense of direction, but it will also prevent you from jumping between tasks of different types, a practice that can
- Work on your time management – According to numerous studies, the best cure for procrastination is, in fact, time management. To lower the chances of procrastinating, entrepreneurs should work on their time-management skills, have set work schedules, and routines that they keep, use a time-management app, etc.
5. Get a Virtual Assistant
As an entrepreneur, you probably spend a lot of their time on various time-consuming tasks. These could be answering emails, posting or commenting on social media to increase your brand awareness and digital visibility, figuring out calendars, scheduling meetings, travel plans, etc.
Hiring a virtual assistant can alleviate this burden and allow you to spend more time growing your business, managing current client relationships, communicating, acquiring new clients, and more.
Here are some tasks that you might consider hiring a virtual assistant for:
- Scheduling meetings;
- Setting up travel arrangements;
- Creating expense reports;
- Secretary work, managing phone calls, emails, etc.;
- Posting on social media;
- Creating blog posts and posting them;
- Invoicing clients and processing payments;
- Dealing with shopping lists;
6. Take Regular Breaks
Effective time management will always be about optimizing work schedules. But, it’s impossible to do that if you don’t allocate enough time to recouping and recharging your batteries. By including breaks in your daily work schedule, you can be more productive for longer periods of time. Breaks can also help you avoid burnout and many other negative effects associated with working long hours.
7. Start Early
The early bird gets the worm, or so the saying goes. Whether this really works or not is still up for debate, but according to a survey from INC, around 60% of high-profile and successful entrepreneurs start their day before 6 a.m.
There’ve been studies that show there are some clear benefits connected to getting an early start, such as lower levels of depression and stress. Also, waking up early along with having healthy sleeping habits, can have a positive effect on productivity and overall work performance.
8. Use Technology
From time-tracking and project management software to various marketing and CRM tools, modern technology is an entrepreneur’s best friend, or at least it should be. Why? Let’s take a look:
- Time-tracking apps can help you accurately track work hours and spot inefficiencies in your daily process, further helping you optimize your workflow.
- Project management software will allow you to track tasks and manage projects, teams, and resources.
- Work messaging apps, such as Slack, will help you streamline the entire communication process, making it less strenuous to get in touch with your team.
- CRM tools can help you follow the entirety of a customer’s journey and measure performance each step of the way. They will allow you to collect information about who is spending time on your website, and how much of it they're spending, who is receiving and who is reading your emails, etc.
9. Exercise and Eat Healthy
Exercise allows your body to produce what's popularly called “feel-good” hormones, such as endorphins and serotonin. When released into your body, these natural substances can help reduce pain and stress levels, while also having a positive impact on your mood.
According to many studies, regular exercise and a healthy diet can help you:
- Improve productivity;
- Better process and manage stressful situations;
- Improve your overall well-being;
- Increase energy levels;
- Reduce various health risk factors.
10. Manage Distractions
There are many different approaches to distraction management but what all of them have in common is their first step, which is to identify the distractions that are the most disruptive to your work. The most common types of work distractions include:
- Emails and email notifications;
- Social media;
- Long and poorly organized meetings;
- Noisy office environments.
After you’ve identified which distractions are responsible for disrupting your workflow, it’s time to deal with them.
For example, if you’re having problems with phone notifications and you find yourself constantly drifting from work because of them, you could try turning them off for the duration of your work hours. If you find that the noise in your office space is distracting you from being productive, you could try setting up a work station in a quieter place.
And remember: you don’t have to deal with all of the distractions at once. Just removing a couple of them will do wonders for your productivity and will help you significantly improve your overall time management.