9 Time Management Tips for Busy Entrepreneurs
9 Time Management Tips for Busy Entrepreneurs

9 Time Management Tips for Busy Entrepreneurs

Published on July 31, 2023

Undoubtedly, starting a business requires an enormous amount of effort and dedication. A recent study found that approximately 58% of small business owners work an average of 50 hours per week, which is significantly more than the average of 35 hours per week worked by most people. Consequently, effective time management becomes a critical aspect for entrepreneurs, both in their professional and personal lives.

Given the demanding nature of entrepreneurship, managing time becomes imperative for business owners to maintain a work-life balance and ensure their ventures' success. If you find yourself struggling to balance your business and personal commitments, fret not! In this article, we'll provide you with some invaluable time management strategies to help you streamline your work process and optimize your productivity.

1. Strategize

While there are some businesses that require formal education and specific professional licensing, there are far more options that do not. In other words, you have a lot of options available to you when picking your new business venture.

There are, of course, a lot of factors you should bear in mind when picking a business. Some of the more common considerations are things like:

  • Financial demands
  • Your Strengths
  • Your passion for a business

Something that many people don't consider going in is the total time requirements over time. There are some businesses that will let you ease up on your hours over time.

For example, opening a retail store will likely demand a ridiculous amount of time upfront. If, for no other reason, than because you'll probably do almost all of the work at first. Once you get up and running, though, you can reasonably hire people to take on some of those tasks for you.

Other businesses will continue consuming your time no matter what. For example, if you set yourself up as a consultant, you become the product. Picking the right kind of business will make time management much easier.

2. Automate

A lot of new business owners end up doing things manually because they either don't know about or can't afford the technology to automate processes. Yet, many data-heavy processes actually suffer from having too much human input.

Whenever possible, look for technologies that can automate processes for you. For example, there are lots of programs that automate posting on social media sites. Pick one that you like and can afford, then use it.

It lets you consolidate most of your social media post creation into manageable blocks of time. Then you let the software handle the actual posting. It adds a startling degree of efficiency.

3. Delegate

Many entrepreneurs are control freaks to one degree or another. In fact, it's something of an advantage...for a while. Once your business hits a certain level of growth, though, that desire for an active hand in all aspects of the business becomes a bottleneck.

Even worse, it becomes one of the reasons why some entrepreneurs work 60-hour weeks or even more. Not surprisingly, one of the most important time management skills you can develop is task delegation.

Sure, you relinquish some of the control you once enjoyed. On the other hand, it often means giving work to people who are dramatically more qualified to handle them. After all, your average entrepreneur probably doesn't have a degree in accounting, or human resources, or marketing.

For example, let's say that you start a business directory website. How much of your time do you really want to spend dealing with website maintenance? Hiring an IT person who actually likes that work is more efficient and practical.

Just as importantly, delegating tasks large and small lets you manage your time more efficiently. Simply removing mundane tasks that an assistant can handle can free up hours of your time every week.

4. Prioritize

The cult of productivity prizes activity. There is something to be said for that. Everyone has known co-workers who literally spent all of their time looking for ways to avoid doing any kind of actual work.

For entrepreneurs, though, that isn't usually a problem. Most entrepreneurs are highly motivated. Some even get uncomfortable if they aren't doing something they see as productive.

The problem is that boosting productivity doesn't necessarily boost effectiveness or have any bearing on your bottom line. After all, you can easily spend all day doing nothing but replying to business emails.

You were, by all measures, productive in those hours. Yet, there were almost certainly more important tasks that should have occupied those hours.

Prioritizing the immediately important work over work that can wait will boost your effectiveness and let you get more value from the time you spend at work.

5. Mono-Task

There are, no doubt, people out there who can multitask effectively. Odds are good that you are not one of those people. The brain isn't really wired for multitasking.

In fact, every time you switch from one task to another, your brain loses efficiency. You are far better off focusing your attention on one thing at a time. You'll do better work and probably finish it faster than if you try to do two or three things at once.

6. Learn to Say “No”

The fear of missing out is a powerful and insidious motivator. Yet, the fact remains that your time, attention, and money are all finite resources. You can only stretch them so far, for so long.

Beyond that, entrepreneurs rarely lack fresh opportunities. While saying no might not always sit well, it's something that you must do to keep your time and resources focused.

If you say yes to too many things, you end up stretched too thin and will do none of them well.

7. Set Time Limits

The life of the entrepreneur is unpredictable. Yet, it also comes with a lot of firm commitments. For example, you probably have at least a few meetings and phone calls scheduled for most days.

You may also have a working lunch planned every day this week. You don't schedule those meetings and lunches for no reason. It's important that you show up for them and show up on time.

For all of that, you will find yourself regularly pulled into impromptu meetings or unexpected calls. In many cases, it's advantageous to take the call or sit in on the meeting. You may learn something important or get a great deal.

When you get those unexpected calls or encounter unplanned meetings, announce at the outset that you have exactly 10 minutes or 15 minutes before you must move on to the next thing.

It can prompt people to get to the point faster. It also lets you keep your existing commitments. In fact, it's often a good idea to put hard limits on meetings in general. It prevents people from wasting time because the meeting is scheduled for an hour.

8. Schedule Breaks

No one can remain focused and energized for 8 hours, or 10 hours, or 12 hours straight. It's even worse if you routinely skip meals, which far too many entrepreneurs do.

Your brain does get tired. That's why it can get harder and harder to make decisions about things as the day drags on.

A lot of people experience that kind of mental fatigue on their way home from work. You stop at the grocery store to get something for dinner, then find yourself staring at the frozen pizzas for 10 minutes as you waffle between a pepperoni pizza and a supreme pizza.

Scheduling breaks gives your brain a chance to simply rest and disengage from the work for a little while. When you come back, you'll often find that your work has improved. You may even see a little uptick in the speed of your work.

9. Set a Clear End-of-Day Time

Going home for the day is often a profound challenge for entrepreneurs. There are certainly plenty of anecdotes about entrepreneurs falling asleep at their desks or even sleeping at the office because they stayed there until three o'clock in the morning.

Granted, particularly during the earliest days of a startup, there will probably be times when you stay at work for ridiculous hours. That's not a sustainable lifestyle, though. You should set a time that you always leave work. The more you impress on everyone that you set a time that you are going to leave, the less likely people are to encourage you to stay late.

That doesn't mean you'll never stay late, but it does mean you'll likely only do it when you absolutely must.

Time Management Matters When You Start a Business

If you start a business, you should expect a lot of work and some long hours. For all that, though, you should embrace time management from day one.

Good time management helps you achieve a more sustainable work/life balance. It also lets you spend more time on important work and less time on non-critical tasks.

If you haven't started your business yet, give some thought to how much time you want to pour into the business each week.

Ideal Directories helps entrepreneurs launch city-specific directory websites. If that sounds like a business model you're interested in, get started with Ideal Directories today.
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