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Being an entrepreneur means endless responsibilities about every small matter related to your business. This means entrepreneurs juggle gazillions of tasks daily. From planning strategies, budgeting, recruiting, meeting targets, monitoring the performance of departments, to making sure that the business is delivering work successfully and the customers are satisfied with their business’ product or service.
This makes entrepreneurship a tough job, that requires a number of different skills and leadership qualities. And time management is a top-quality that every entrepreneur must have. They should know the right amount of time to allocate for each task in their hectic work schedule and make time for important projects.
But time management is not easy an easy thing to do, because your work schedule is not going to magically clear up so that you can focus on important projects, you need to actively manage your time for this. And here are 10 ways you can master the art of time management and make time for important projects.
Use project management and productivity tools
As an entrepreneur, you have the responsibility to overlook and manage on-going projects to ensure that they meet their goals. However, with multiple on-going projects at the same time, collaborating with your managers and team members regarding progress and goals can be a time-consuming and complex activity. Calling meetings to follow up about every aspect of the project can be wasteful to your and your employees’ time.
Instead, you can use different types of software available for project management and monitoring productivity. Software such as Trello, Atlassian JIRA, Huddle, and Basecamp can help you oversee the project activities, task distribution, schedule and other relevant information about on-going projects. This way you can save time and stay updated with your projects’ progress.
Schedule Everything on Your Calendar
For effective time management, an entrepreneur must use their calendar religiously. It is impossible for you to remember every appointment, meeting, and task that you need to do during the day. Therefore, you need to make a habit of scheduling everything in a calendar, even your free time so that your day flows smoothly. This will not only relieve your mind from having to remember everything, but it will also allow you to be focused on the important things. For this, you can use a traditional desk calendar or use a calendar software application to schedule your appointments, tasks and deadlines. You should also make a habit to go through your calendar every morning to get a grasp on your scheduled activities for the day.
Learn to Delegate Tasks
As an entrepreneur leading the entire business, you might feel that you need to manage everything on your own. Doing the job yourself might be very time-consuming and at times impossible to manage alone. And to keep yourself from being stuck on a single task and waste time, it is key for you to learn how to delegate tasks.
This does not mean that your pass every task to other people. Instead, it means that before starting every task on your own and when you find yourself being stuck in a never-ending task you need to ask yourself ‘when’ and ‘what’ you can delegate to other people to get the job done. Look around for people who are available and can lend their expertise to you and delegate them some tasks. This will clear up your work schedule and leave you with time to invest in other high-value work. Here is a guide for you to learn how to go about delegating work.
Start with the Simplest Task
It is a common human tendency to procrastinate starting any task that is difficult. You might often find yourself stuck on a project and unwilling to proceed with the work. This can mean that you waste unnecessary time procrastinating and feeling anxious. To avoid this, you should follow the approach of starting with the simplest tasks first.
Break down your whole project into small and simple tasks and start with what is easy. This way you may not be able to complete the whole project at once but you would be able to start from somewhere. And when you finish the first tasks it spills into the next one and so on, and sometime later you manage to finish a considerable amount of work that you found hard to start in the first place
Have a Work Routine
Having and following a work routine is also another great tip to manage time and keep you productive. Know what times of the day you are most productive, make a routine around that and stick to it. For example, you can have a daily routine like:
- Morning workout at 5:00 am
- Check your calendar and brainstorm a list of things-to-do at 7:00 am
- Make a list of 5 things to complete before lunch at 8:00 am
- Respond to emails at 9:00 am and close the email tab for a few hours
- Work on tasks at hand uninterrupted for an hour and then take a break for 10 minutes – Do this repeatedly over the day
Sticking to a routine like this will make you feel accomplished and make your day more productive and you will find ample time during the day to work on important projects.
Audit Your Time
To evaluate how you utilise your time you must perform a time audit. Doing a weekly audit of activities performed during the week and the time it took you to complete them will reveal a great deal of information. You can maintain a sheet of tasks performed daily and their time and evaluate on a weekly basis what tasks were the highest value work that required the less amount of time, and what tasks took up most of your time during the week.
A time audit puts a clear picture in front of you about how you utilise your time, and you can use it to make better decisions about how you spend your time on different tasks in the future.
Follow the ‘ABCDE’ Method
Following the ABCDE method is another great practice for time management. This rule allows you to prioritize your tasks so that you spend your time on the most valuable work. You begin with making a list of everything you need to do in a day and labelling every task on the list in the following manner:
A: High-priority tasks should be labelled A. These are tasks that you must do and failing to do them can have serious consequences.
B: These are mid-priority tasks that you should do and failing to them can result in mild consequences.
C: Low-priority tasks with no consequences on your work. You could perform them if you have time or you can choose to skip them.
D: Tasks can be delegated to others.
E: Unnecessary tasks that add no value to your work and should be eliminated.
The general rule of the ABCDE method is that you can not perform tasks labelled A, B, and C out of order. To perform a B task, you should complete all the A tasks first, and you can never perform a C task before completing A and B tasks. This is a simple and easy way to prioritise your work so that you can focus your time on high-priority tasks.
For entrepreneurs, managing their time to focus on important projects can be a difficult job. It requires them to make changes in their lifestyle and habits, such as adopting a routine, using calendars, following rules etc. It also requires them to be more conscious about how their time is being spent by auditing their time, prioritising certain tasks, and delegating their work.
If you are an entrepreneur who wants to manage their time, you should follow all the aforementioned tips, or else you will remain stuck in your hectic work schedule without having time and space to focus on high-value and important projects.
Author’s Bio: Emily Williamson is a Technical Writer at Goodcore Software. It is a bespoke software and web development company in the UK. We focused on helping entrepreneurs, small, and medium businesses create competitive and winning software. I’m passionate about exploring and writing about technology innovation, mobile apps and software solutions.