There are plenty of books about time management. But, as a startup business owner, chances are you’re too busy to read them. Am I right? No worries, here are five quick tips to help you get a grip.
1. Create a plan. You already have a business plan, right? Now, get granular and break that plan down into intermediate goals, then into the smaller steps needed to achieve those goals. For example, one of your intermediate goals might be to get your business license; the first small step to achieve that would be finding out what agency to contact to get your license. Breaking large goals into small steps will make everything seem more achievable and your to-do list less overwhelming. Baby steps!
2. Put technology to work for you. With all the technology at our fingertips, there’s never been a better time to start a business. Use those tech tools to simplify and automate whatever job duties you possibly can. Something as simple as using a cloud-based online calendar will make managing your time much easier. Research and download apps that help you work smarter and faster (you can ask other business owners what apps they use the most). Since now is the time when you’re setting up your computer, mobile devices and network, choose applications that work well together—it’ll save you time in the long run.
3. Prioritize. With so many things to do in a typical day, it’s easy to spend 20 hours being “busy” while really getting nothing done. At the end of each day, prioritize your top three tasks for tomorrow, based on what will have the biggest payoff for your business—either by bringing in business/money or by allowing you to move further toward your goals. Tackling those three things will build positive momentum and give you a sense of accomplishment, no matter what else you do (or don’t) get done.
4. Delegate what you can. As a startup, you may not be able to afford employees just yet, but there are other options for delegating that free up your time for more important things. For example, you can outsource non-core business tasks to freelancers and independent contractors. There are also online services to handle just about everything a startup needs, such as all the paperwork involved with business incorporation. Handing off these duties to others enables you to make the best use of your time.
5. Take care of yourself. You are the engine that fuels your startup, so power that engine by taking time to rejuvenate and recharge each day. Put some downtime on your calendar daily and treat it as you would any other appointment. Even taking half an hour to meditate, work out or meet a friend for coffee can make a huge difference in your health. And don’t forget to eat well and get the amount of sleep you need to keep your body and mind firing on all cylinders.
Even as your business grows, you’ll still face time management challenges. Developing good time management habits now will help you overcome those future hurdles and keep your productivity high.