If there’s one thing every entrepreneur needs more of, it’s time. Time to find the right team, time to network, time to develop your business to make it exactly what you’ve always envisioned. A study from UCLA showed that people who valued more time over more money were happier on average than those who chose money. Why? Because they understood the value of time and how it could bring them more of what they need.
You’ve no doubt developed a time management system already for your small business, but is it as efficient as it could be? Here are 3 ways to make sure you’ve mastered time management.
Work away from to-do lists
When getting started with time management, this might sound counterproductive. After all, what’s more, satisfying than crossing off a to-do list?
Aytekin Tank argues that in fact, to-do lists keep you away from the real work of your day. “We can mistake urgency for importance, and tasks are typically based on other people’s expectations and priorities,” he says.
By making to-do lists, you’re stacking all tasks together. This essentially gives them all the same weight in your mind, which is a mistake. A huge project with a looming deadline should take precedence over checking emails, but you still need to get it all done.
By only using to do lists as a vague overview, you give yourself the freedom to dedicate your peak focus to the most important tasks. Balancing priority over productivity is key here.
Find your peak productivity
So exactly how do you find that balance? You need to figure out your personal peak productivity. One of the benefits of being an entrepreneur is setting your own hours. We all have heard about the routines of successful entrepreneurs, but it’s not always so clear cut. What works for Warren Buffet probably won’t work for you.
Track your productivity. What times of day are you most likely to get a substantial stretch of work done? Do you ever feel like times slip away because you’re so focused? That’s when you need to plan for the big stuff.
Even if you’re focusing, your productivity is limited. We’re reported before that most productive people focus for 57 minutes at the time and then take a break.
Don’t try to follow the trends! Waking up obscenely early works for some people, but you can be a successful entrepreneur without that early alarm. Your peak productivity could be mid-afternoon, or even in the middle of the night. You know yourself the best.
Outsource the little stuff
An enormous part of leadership is delegation. It’s a crucial skill for every aspect of business, but especially for time management. You need to know what’s important, what will become important, and what can wait.
Not everyone can do this intuitively. The good news is that delegation is definitely a practiced skill. You can learn from past mistakes and successes to pick and choose what to focus on. Remember, your attention is a limited resource! Don’t waste it.
The small scale tasks that eat up your time, like making appointments or answering the phone, are important to your business but frustrating.
Some workers spend “51% of their workday receiving and managing information, rather than actually using that information to do their jobs.” Even worse, some professionals report being interrupted 6-10 times per day, taking 23 minutes to get back on track.
This is a disaster for your business! How can you get everything done with those kinds of interruptions?
You can’t. So outsource those interruptions! Hiring a virtual receptionist or assistant is an easy investment in the future of your business and the quality of your work.
Move forward with better time management
Figuring out personal time management and the ebbs and flows of your productivity will do wonders for your daily workflow. Move past your to-do list, find your peak productivity, and outsource your personal non-essentials. Your time management skills will vastly improve, and your audience will thank you.