When starting a business, it’s easy to underestimate the amount of tasks that go into getting things off the ground, managing the daily operations, and being able to turn a profit with your passion. If you’re anything like me, then life can have a way of piling on a long list of to-do’s, especially when developing skills in your craft, testing out new marketing strategies, troubleshooting an issue that may have popped up, or even keeping your household in order -- especially if you’re a parent or married.
For this reason, learning how to improve your time management skills as an entrepreneur is essential to making sure you succeed -- without losing yourself, sleep, or sanity in the process. Not only will it enable you to be able to hit more of your goals, but it can also help you build a business that thrives while empowering you to create more freedom.
If you are struggling to manage your time in business and wondering if there’s a better way to get it all done while still having some sort of life, then keep reading to learn tried and true ways to improve your time management skills as an entrepreneur.
Determine what’s essential. The first step towards managing your time in life and business is to determine what you would consider to be your core essentials. Your essentials are the driving forces for what matters most to your well-being and the well-being of your business. An example could be prioritizing self care over watching tv or learning how to make your first sale instead of creating a new podcast.
Writing down your core essentials will help you keep what matters most at the forefront of your decision-making. So rather than using the free 30 minutes you have scrolling on YouTube and watching mindless videos that are recommended, you might choose to spend that time catching up with a relative or business colleague on the phone.
Make a list of what’s essential and keep it in a place where you’ll see it everyday like on your steering wheel, bathroom mirror, or fridge.
Elicit support. Whether you’re running a household or running a business, it shouldn’t be a one man army. If you want to be more efficient with your time, everyday you should ask yourself, where can I be supported? Is this a good week to utilize a grocery delivery service or order takeout? Can someone else tidy up your living space while you meet with clients? Do you need professional help to get your website to work for you instead of trying to do it yourself?
Never be too prideful or afraid to ask for help. We are only given so much time in a day, and the most successful people have a team around them who helps them accomplish more than they would be able to on their own. Allow yourself to be supported by eliciting help with something on a daily basis. Bosses get help not only when they need it, but also when they want it too.
Eat the elephant. When determining what tasks you would tackle, ask yourself what 2-3 tasks you would like to end the day with having accomplished? Think about how you would feel after completing those tasks and how you want to feel at the end of the day. Do you want to feel productive, relieved, free, or how about excited? Cherry-picking 2-3 items at a time will help you stay on track and focus on being results-driven day by day.
When trying to decide what 2 or 3 things from your list of things to get done, you may also consider prioritizing according to what’s:
Urgent and important
Urgent, but not important
Not urgent, but important
Not urgent, not important
This should be the order by which you tackle projects, with the logic that the bigger and more pressing tasks take first priority and if it’s not urgent and not important, it can always wait.
Use this when determining if you need to prioritize marketing and sales activities over wearing the creator hat in your business or if you need to ignore a tug you feel to clean the baseboards until you order more business cards. Pick 2-3 tasks you will accomplish each day and ask yourself, where does this fall on your list of urgency and importance?
Create a system. Rather than writing down a laundry list of to-do’s and then falling short, you may also rewrite your list in the form of systems that you can commit to honoring on a regular basis. For example, rather than saying do the dishes, say you will commit to cleaning out the sink every night before bed. An example of a system in business could be to check in with clients every Monday morning from 8 - 10 a.m instead of making a random mental note to follow up. You might also create a routine of mailing out your shipments on Tuesday and Friday evenings instead of intending to drop something off in the mail every time there is an order. Another example could be instead of having to remember to write a post for social media, commit to creating content every Tuesday between 9 - 10 a.m.
By focusing on the system instead of the random act, you will in turn create a habit of reaching your end result on a continuous basis and increase your likelihood for success. Systems make hitting your goals more within reach because you created a routine that empowers you to complete your task and achieve your desired result.
As you can see, by determining what’s essential, eliciting support, eating the elephants, and implementing systems you will be empowered to create more freedom, ease, and flow in our life and business. Hopefully you will use these strategies to help you take back control of your time and stay at the top of your game so you can remain a high achiever in every area of your life.
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All the best.