Time management is one of the most important parts of being an entrepreneur. Coming second only to financial management, it’s a valuable resource that can support - or put strain on - your business.
Learning how best to manage your time is incredibly important, but it does take a while. A conventional work day used to last from 9am to 5pm - but even that is changing. More than ever, we are expected to be working longer hours and being even more successful.
In order to maximise your time, and find a style that suits you, we’ve put this guide together (just in time for Entrepreneurs’ Day, too!)
1. Plan your day every morning
Just like most business teams, starting your day with a planning session will set you on the right track. While you may or may not have a team to manage, knowing what you want to get out of the day or delegate to others in your team is important, and it will help you to avoid any distractions.
2. Actively jot down your thoughts
Just like your morning plan, we recommend starting your day by jotting down anything floating around your head. This can continue throughout the day, so you can focus on the tasks at hand and pick up anything else you thought of at a later date.
3. Assign a time to key activities
Forward planning is the best way to make sure you’re productive during working hours. The key activities that need attention should not only be noted down, they should be assigned a time and put into your schedule.
Over time, you’ll learn how long it takes you to work on projects, and ensure that you meet deadlines by sticking to your daily schedule of activities.
4. Make everyone aware of your office hours
When you work for yourself, it can be tempting to work all hours of the day. This is not only unproductive, but it could cause burnout and put your business at risk.
One of the easiest ways to work reasonable hours that will keep you in a better state of mind is to set office hours. You can put these in your email signature, on out of office notifications, and let your clients know when it’s appropriate - or inappropriate - to contact you.
5. Schedule in “buffer” time
In addition to setting your own office hours, it’s important you give yourself a small amount of time each day that’s purely for you. We can tell you, it’s unproductive to completely fill your schedule - you’ll find yourself missing small tasks and that you’ve never quite reached your full potential.
Give yourself buffer time - i.e. time spent on interruptions, breaks, late transportation - so you can reduce your stress levels and feel like you’ve met your expectations that day, rather than failed to squeeze in that extra half-an-hour or hour.
6. Give yourself time to plan
While paid work may be important, time spent steering your ship is just as valuable. We recommend reserving at least one day per week (or that amount of time, split however you prefer) to monitor your business and plan for the future.
If you need support in this, we recommend coming along to our next Personal Potential Workshop, where you’ll learn how to pinpoint your values, learn how to align your business purpose and personal purpose, and flourish at both.
7. Realise that instant-attention is a premium product
In any big business, you’ll find it practically impossible to get through to a director. This is because they have strict schedules - usually maintained by a personal assistant - and they know their instant-attention is precious.
Prioritise your clients by listing them as VIPs in your email client, and also saving them to your phonebook. Anyone else - they can wait.
And don’t fret - if they really wanted to speak to you urgently, they’ll try again later.