03 Oct Top Time Management Tips for Entrepreneurs
When it comes to running a successful business, one of the most important things an entrepreneur must understand is the importance of time management. As a business consultant, I often encounter business owners who are working very hard, determined to get things done. They are burning the candle at both ends, but it comes at a cost: their overall productivity could suffer due to poor time management.
Time Management Issues
Poor time management can cause many problems. Here are just a few:
- Unnecessary meetings cost U.S. businesses approximately $37 billion each year.
S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2005
- The cost of interruptions to the U.S. economy is estimated at $588 billion a year.
Jonathan B. Spira, “The Cost of Not Paying Attention,” Basex Research, 2005
- Most people actually use 60% or less of available work time. When more than 38,000 people in 200 countries were queried about individual productivity, it showed that even though they were physically at work five days a week, they were only productively using three days.
Microsoft Survey, March 15, 2005
For the busy entrepreneur, time is money. It’s critical you become better at managing your time effectively. Here are the top reasons to manage your time effectively:
- Less stress. Trying to meet deadlines can be stressful. This is especially true when attempting to get things done at the last minute. Giving yourself ample time to complete tasks could help decrease stress levels (and increase peace of mind.)
- Improved self-discipline. Time management forces you to focus on one specific task, which also means avoiding distractions. Improved self-discipline will help you avoid the many diversions out there (cell phones, email, etc.) that can prevent you from getting things done in a timely manner.
- Improved odds of success. Effective time management gives you the opportunity to focus specifically on the task at hand. As a result, you can make sure the job is done correctly and meets your client’s expectations. For business owners, one small mistake could mean lost profits (as well as your reputation).
- Improved work/home balance. For most entrepreneurs, juggling work and home life is a challenge. They want to spend every waking moment growing their business, but it’s important to relax and spend quality time with family as well. By practicing time management, savvy business owners can complete their tasks on time, and still give their family the attention they deserve. A win-win for everyone.
- Work smarter, not harder. Entrepreneurs have no problem working hard, but knowing how to manage their time allows them to work smart. This is critical. Knowing how to maximize your time enables you to plan ahead, determine what need to do, and the best time to do it.
Top Time Management Tips
Knowing what to do is only half the battle. Here are the top ways to become experts at time management:
Set Time Management Goals. Pick a project and determine how long it will take to complete it. Focus on the project and get it done in the allotted time. You may not always meet the deadline, but effective time management will make you more efficient as you progress.
Keep a “time diary.” How much time do you spend reading emails? On conference calls? In meetings? Sending text messages? Driving? Each of these activities (and countless others) can have a tremendous impact on production and efficiency. Allotting a certain period of time on each can help improve time management.
Delegate. Entrepreneurs often feel they have to do everything, but that’s not always the case. Don’t be afraid to give smaller tasks to others. For example, hiring someone to monitor your social media sites is an excellent way to delegate and free up precious time for other projects.
Plan ahead. Each night before bed, map out your day. Write down the tasks that need to be completed and their importance. Set specific times for each and stick to your plan.
Complete important tasks first. Important tasks often require the most time, effort and focus. Working on these projects first is a great way to ensure they are done correctly. Once completed, your attention can shift to tasks of lesser significance. Doing it this way can eliminate the stress of knowing a big project still has to be completed.
There are only twenty-four hours in a day. By managing your time effectively, you will be one step closer to meeting (and exceeding) your business goals.