Are you planning on becoming an entrepreneur or have you recently started? No matter what the case is, it is important that you understand how many different skills you will have to acquire if you are going to become a business leader who enables his organization to run smoothly. However, this is not an easy thing to do. You will have to learn a lot and learn how to adapt quickly in order to prepare yourself properly for what’s coming.
When you are an entrepreneur, you soon realize that there are dozens of different things you have to do on a daily basis. In a way, you will have to become the jack of all trades. Most of the work will fall on your back in the beginning, as you won’t have the necessary resources for hiring assistants, managers and some other employees that might make your job easier.
Besides the fact that there are dozens of tasks and aspects of your business you must always keep track off and work on, you will also have to acquire yet another essential set of skills good entrepreneurs have – time management skills.
So, why is time management so essential for entrepreneurs? Simply because this is the skill that will allow you to sharpen and utilize all of your other skills; without it, you won’t be able to organize yourself to do your job properly. Without time management knowledge you will always fall behind with your work. So here are is what you need to know in order to manage your time efficiently.
It’s not so easy to manage your time efficiently
At a certain period of your life you might have come in contact with some management education, read something about it online, or had the opportunity to organize some activities. It doesn’t matter how well you absorbed the information or were able to perform managerial tasks, these experiences you’ve had will probably not be enough to take care of your obligations as an entrepreneur. There are simple reasons why these things won’t be too helpful; they are probably wrong and don’t really work when it comes to time management in business.
The first thing we should explain is how entrepreneurs spend their time. There are three ways they do this: time spent in thinking, conversations and doing things. I doesn’t matter what business you plan on running or are already working on, these are the three ways you will be spending your time and conducting your business. As a business owner it’s so easy to get interrupted and distracted from your important work, but these three things cannot suffer because of these interruptions.
The reality is you probably will never be able to stop being interrupted, however it is good to learn how to handle distractions and control how much time they take away from you and how much you will save for working, thinking and talking about important business issues. Now let’s get to the comprehensive tips that can help you become a time-saving machine.
Make lists and rely on them
Lists are actually one of the essential points of each management course or book you can possibly find. They might seem like a simple thing, but they are quite efficient. It is impossible to remember all the important information and carry it around in your head. This is especially true when you are in the startup period of your business and there are so many things you must take care of each day.
It is also good to create and use multiple lists, but still, try not to complicate things and just pressure yourself even further, the point is to make things simpler and not confusing. These are the four lists I used to organize my time with success:
1. To do lists
This list should include all of the things you must get done in a certain period of time. You can organize them by days, weeks, or even months. You should look to organize them to fit your schedule and your type of business.
2. Schedule list
The to do list should outline things you should finish for a certain period of time while the schedule list should outline how you should do those things and in which order. Create a neat plan and organize a clear timeline.
3. Call list
The third essential list in my opinion is a list of people I have to call each day. I didn’t actually use a list but instead I found some of the best voice broadcasting software that can even make automatic calls for me. You can easily organize the order alphabetically or even set automatic calls.
4. Reminder list
This list should include all the important things you wanted to pay special attention during a certain day, or do something in a specific way. Basically, whenever you have a good idea for doing something, but you don’t have the time right away, you should write it down in this list so that you don’t forget about it and focus on it when you have time on your hands.
It may take some time before you create a good system for using lists. During this process you will also learn what kind of lists suit you the most and how to organize them. I also thought that lists are useless, but trust me, only after I started using them properly did I find out how useful they actually are.
Segmenting your time
Many people create schedules that include only appointments which are set in stone and they only make sure to meet with the people on their list. I like to predetermine most of my workdays a month in advance. For example, all of my essential appointments I have to do over the phone are scheduled on the same day each week of a certain month.
The following month I schedule various appointments including presentations, coaching, meetings and all other similar activities in close time blocks next to each other. I do this because these blocks that consist out of similar activities allow me to get focused and perform these tasks exceptionally without the risk of interrupting my workflow by doing things which are completely unrelated to them.
Don’t allow others to take away your precious time
The more successful you are, the more people will need and want your time. It’s really a double edged sword – if there are no people dragging you by your shoulder each day, it means that you are not doing your job right. This means that you will have to practice saying “no” and “stop” to people.
If you don’t do this, and try to give everyone your attention you will soon realize that you don’t have any time for accomplishing the things you planned for that period of time. Even when someone wants to talk to you about work, but it’s not urgent, you should tell them no and schedule an appointment for when you have the time.
These people that steal away your time are the biggest threat to you time management, meaning you will have to use everything you have in your arsenal, including technology, employees and other resources to save your valuable time and use it on something important. I mentioned earlier that technology can help you in many ways, but it can also be misused as social networks, apps, and games might take away valuable time from you without you even noticing.
Discipline yourself and organize your time so that you know when you should be focusing on business and when you are on free time you can use to relax. If you are serious about becoming a successful entrepreneur you should adopt this rule – your free time can be interrupted with work, but your work time cannot be interrupted with doing nothing.
Make the most out of each minute
Most of the modern technology we all have available nowadays is portable. With these portable devices you can access the web and listen to seminars, read some books that interest you, find valuable information you need, or even manage your employees while you are away from work. The point I’m trying to make is that, given the fact how much information is instantly available to you, it gets easier to make your schedule full and always do something that helps your work no matter how small it might be.
We always have connectable devices on us, and you can always use them to keep in touch with someone, do business talks or anything else while you are riding on a bus, sitting at a park etc. There are lots of project management platforms you can implement into your business, and whenever you are away from work you can easily access it and see the progress you are making or remind someone of something important that must be done.
Last but not least, it is also important to make some time to spend with your friends and family, or simply take time off to relax and rest your mind and body. Both your physical and mental health are quite important, and if you jeopardize them, you will not be able to work on your business. If you feel stressed out, you should always make a short break to refresh yourself and get a better perspective. Forcing work has never worked out for anyone and you will just end up wasting your time obsessing about work while not doing anything or just doing a sloppy job. One of the keys for becoming a successful entrepreneur is to manage your time like a boss, so work on it carefully.