Efficient time management is, well, crucial if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur. (Duh, you’ve heard this a million times and are rolling your eyes already) But how do you manage your time to the best of your ability? So you are essentially “working smarter, not harder” as all the cool kids are saying nowadays. (right?)
Being an entrepreneur you have probably taken on many different hats and are juggling so many tasks at once in all different areas, it’s overwhelming. I get it. It’s exciting roller coaster at the start but you have to be careful not to fall out the carriage later down the line. Your business is now relying on you staying on top of your game so you can’t afford not to make time management a priority.
So here it goes, the road to effective time management is all set out for you, ready to start walking?
and hey, as a little disclaimer; you don’t have to have it figured out at all times, breathe. You can absolutely have off days not knowing where to start or what to do but when you’re ready, you can take that fresh notebook (that I know you have hundreds of) and start writing out all that clutter in your mind that doesn’t need to be there. Then, grab your planner and step by step follow this guide to get you back on track.
Prioritize your tasks
So obvious, I know but SO easily forgotten. The way you prioritize your tasks depends on your insight into what is more important. You will know best as you’re running the show. A good place to start is to categorize many tasks into three lists i.e. important and urgent, not urgent but important, and neither urgent nor important.
Aka; important AND urgent: finishing your client’s project for the deadline at 2pm.
not urgent and also not really important: organising your wardrobe by colour.
You get the picture. Truth is, as obvious as this all sounds we often start our days by doing the latest of the tasks first – doing laundry, grocery shopping, dusting off our thousand and one plants etc because they are in our comfort zone. It is much easier to do these tasks first and tell yourself you’ve had a productive day without having done any of the urgent client projects you might have waiting. Now, I am not saying doing laundry isn’t important – of course it is but can it wait if it absolutely has to? I believe it can.
I also don’t wait you to postpone your grocery shopping for days, you need all of this done BUT most of the time us doing this first is our way of procrastination.
Keeping this in mind, you can now plan your day according to your priorities. Ensure that your to-do-list starts from the most important and most urgent tasks, then not urgent but important and lastly the ones that are neither important and definitely not urgent.
Also read: 5 ways to declutter your mind
Finish the most important tasks first
This seems like repetition from the previous point, however, there is something to be said for dedicating your mornings to the most important tasks so you can spend the afternoon doing things that require a little less focus such as responding to emails.
Most of us start our day by reading texts, news, emails, and spending time on social media which is all taking away from your precious morning time.
This not only means that you start your day on someone else’s terms but it also ensures you get side-tracked on your to-do list.
Write that new article BEFORE you respond to tweets on the newest Netflix show, mmmmkay?
In effective time management, the main thing is not about having more time, it is about the way you change your behavior towards managing the time you already have. Focus and attention are key and whilst this isn’t always easy, the more you train yourself on this the better results you will see and the more time freedom you will create, which, is what we are all here for right?
When you assign time for a certain task but spend it moving from one task to another (aka reading emails whilst you are meant to be designing new instagram content) you will be disappointed with how long it took you and, since you were distracted the whole time, you might not produce your best work.
Many of us never really begin working and many ideas end before they actually start. There is no perfect time to start so stop waiting until motivation sparks before taking action. (I’ve been there) and hey, even if you get to half of your to-do list it will most likely still be more than it would have been if you kept waiting for that so-called secret motivation.
I can’t tell you the amount of days I spent listening to “motivational podcasts” rather than actually producing any type of work.
Plan around your energy levels
Even though I mentioned doing the most important tasks in the morning, do what works with your energy level! Some people can perform creative tasks with the best results early in the day. (after that 5th coffee) Others may like to do tasks when they find time to calm down later in the day, or maybe you find your creative inspo late at night, whatever suits you!
I personally snooze off very early in the evening (despite my best efforts to stay up & binge-watch another season of New Girl, again) so mornings are the one for me!
Find out when you have the highest energy levels and can best perform the tasks with great attention and focus.
Keep on improving your strategy
Irrespective of the efficiency of your strategy, there is always an area for upgrading and improvements. Learning never ends for an entrepreneur whether it is about their professional capability, personal and business development, time management, or better living standards.
Try to simplify or optimize the tasks that take too long to complete to need too much of your attention than usual.
Make a list of your common daily to-do’s and see if there is a way for you to simplify these tasks. How long are they taking you now? Is there a way to get the same result with less time involved? For example, if you are currently doing manual pinning for Pinterest and it takes you an hour a day, try using an online scheduling tool such as Tailwind (this link will get you a free month off Tailwind Plus!) to reduce this time to just 30mins a WEEK, freeing up those other hours for anything else.
I have made it my mission to help you combine your biz strengths and create a strong, badass brand online, ready?