Being an entrepreneur isn’t an easy road. In fact, it can be a downright difficult one, especially without proper time management strategies. Many entrepreneurs never realize as much success as they would like or end up completely fail because they couldn’t meet their goals.
Although it may seem easier to just give up or change your goal, a better approach is to change the approach you use to reach your goals. What you need, in other words, are effective time management strategies, which are among the most critical aspects of achieving better results as an entrepreneur.
In this post, we’ll provide six time management tips to help you ensure you get the important tasks on your to-do list accomplished each day.
1. Manage Your Energy
This is the most important aspect of effective time management in both your business and your life. You need to determine your most productive time(s) each day and then plan your schedule accordingly. Some people work well in the morning, while others are more productive at night. It's doesn't matter what time of day you do your most important work, as long as it works best for you.
Regardless of what your most productive time of day is, here’s how you can figure out what it is: think about what your days are like. When you get out of bed in the morning and get ready, do you feel a burst of energy? Do you feel like you can tackle work right away? Or are you someone who notices a positive shift in energy during the afternoon or late at night?
Whatever category you fall into, you should plan your daily tasks around your body's natural clock. For example, if you have no energy in the morning but tons at night, you can use the morning to do low-energy tasks like answering email and save higher energy tasks like writing for nighttime.
2. Plan, Plan, Plan
If you want to achieve success in your business, you must plan. This is not optional.
Everyone has personal preferences when it comes to how often they plan out their work. For example, some people may feel better if they make a plan each day for the next day’s work. Others may find it best to make a weekly plan. Regardless of how you plan, having a plan in place will allow you to stay on top of your goals and be prepared for what’s going to happen each day. Without a plan, you run the risk of missing deadlines and losing clients - not to mention losing sight of your goals.
Between emails, texting, calling, and social media alerts, it can be overwhelming to finish any work with all the distractions. If you have an important project that is due soon, but you have too much going on around you, try logging out of your email and social media accounts. You may even want to put your phone in a different room so you’re not tempted to pick it up.
Make sure to set a designated time each day to focus on work without any type of distractions. By doing this, you may notice more progress in your work and, as a result, success with your business since you’ll finally be able to get more done. The reduction in feelings of stress and overwhelm are just bonus benefits.
4. Understand When You Need to Draw The Line
As an entrepreneur, you may be used to this scenario: a client calls and says, “I forgot to ask you, can you also do this for the project?” or “Can you call me really quick? I have something in mind for an additional project.” You immediately know this one call is going to derail everything you had planned to accomplish for the rest of the day, sapping your energy and wasting tons of time.
When situations like this arise, you need to stand firm. By no means should you ignore the client, but you also must not interrupt what you’re doing at any time to be at their beck and call. Instead, firmly but kindly tell them you’re working on a project right now and ask to schedule a time to talk. By dropping what you’re doing every time a client needs you or wants another meeting for the fifth time that week, you’re derailing your progress and chipping away at your prospects for long-term success.
5. Schedule Time for Strategy
Either at the beginning of the month or end of the month, you should block out some of your schedule and reserve it for strategizing for your business. For example, you can schedule a day at the end of the month to reflect on the success you’ve made that month (and what didn't work). By seeing where you succeeded and where you could improve, you'll be better able to create a future plan to accommodate your goals.
Aside from monthly strategizing, you can also schedule quarterly and yearly strategizing sessions to dig deeper into your business. It’s important that you take time for yourself and your business in addition to all your client products. Without time for strategizing and reflecting on your business, you won’t be able to create any room for growth.
6. Work in Blocks of Time
Rather than saying you’re going to work on your business for 5 hours each day, it’s best to work in small blocks of time. For example, you can schedule yourself to work for 5 hours but the time should be broken up the total duration of work into blocks of time.
By working just one hour and then taking a 20-30-minute break that involves getting up and stretching or light physical activity, you will be able to clear your mind and ultimately boost your productivity.
Make the Most of Your Time
By choosing just one of the above time management techniques and implementing it into your workday tomorrow, you can improve your time management skills, boost your productivity, and ultimately achieve more business success.
If you're looking for some further help managing your time, we recommend that you check out the SELF Journal, a daily planner that will help you ensure you're scheduling the time to do your best work.