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As an entrepreneur, time is your most valuable asset. You have countless tasks to complete, deadlines to meet, and people to meet with. Without time management, even the most competent entrepreneur can lose valuable opportunities.
For most entrepreneurs, managing your time effectively can seem overwhelming; however, time management is a skill that everyone can develop with practice.
In this blog post, I have compiled 12 essential time management tips for serious entrepreneurs, helping you prioritize and make the most of your time, which will result in efficient business operations and improved productivity. If you are a freelancer, I encourage you to check out: 7 Helpful Time Management Tips For Freelancers.
1- Set SMART Goals
Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals will help you prioritize your tasks and make the most of your time.
More importantly, setting SMART goals will enable you to focus on the most essential tasks and avoid wasting time on low-priority tasks.
The table below contains the criteria for setting SMART Goals
|– What do you want to accomplish?
– What actions are you planning to take?
|– What data will you use to measure your goal?
|– Are the goals doable?
– Do you possess the necessary skills
and resources to achieve your goals?
|– How does this goal fit within broader goals?
– Why is the result important?
|– What is the time frame for achieving the goal?
2- Use the Pomodoro Technique
Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, the Pomodoro technique involves breaking work down into 25-minute intervals, followed by a five-minute break. I like that this technique helps you stay focused and refreshed throughout the day.
If you want to restrict your internet access and track your blocks of focused work, you can use
Whether you are a student or an entrepreneur, using the Pomodoro Technique will be helpful, particularly if you get distracted while studying for an exam or working on a project. It is perfect for many types of work, including writing, design, coding, and study.
Here is how you can use the Pomodoro Technique:
- Pick one important task or project you want to focus on.
- Set a timer for about 25 to 30 minutes, and get to work.
- Work on the task or project without distractions.
- When the buzzer rings, take a 2 to 3 minutes break.
- After four work breaks, take a more extended break of about 15 to 30 minutes.
As an entrepreneur, it can be tempting to do everything yourself, but delegating tasks can help lighten your workload.
I encourage you to identify tasks that can be completed by others and delegate them to employees or trusted contractors because delegation is critical to efficient time management.
A study found that delegation effectively encourages employees to seek feedback because it is psychologically empowering. I also believe that delegating tasks can help ensure that every task is completed promptly and correctly, leaving you with more time to focus on core business activities.
4- Use Technology to Your Advantage
Technology has revolutionized the way we do business. I found that using the latest technology can help us automate and streamline many time-consuming tasks, freeing up your time for other essential activities.
5- Schedule Your Day
Scheduling your day can help you prioritize tasks and make the most of your time. I encourage you to start your day (or the evening before) by writing down your to-do list and then prioritizing tasks based on their significance, deadlines, and complexity.
Scheduling your day will enable you to tackle the most critical tasks first, ensuring that they are completed on time.
I recommend you create a schedule for your day, week, and month to help you stay on track and ensure you have enough time to complete tasks. I suggest you use free tools like Google Calendar or a planner to schedule your time effectively.
6- Prioritize Tasks
At the beginning of each day, identify the most important tasks that must be completed that day. Prioritizing tasks will help you focus on what is most important and ensure they are accomplished in a timely manner.
I encourage you to keep a to-do list and cross off items as they are completed. It is generally recommended to have the top 3 tasks of the day, which are the tasks that will make the most difference in your business.
- Optimize for skills and relationships; even if the project fails, will you develop skills past that failure?
- Which of your tasks will make all the other ones easier or irrelevant? Remember that not all priorities are equally important.
- Follow the Excitement: Which one are you often thinking about?
watch the video below to learn more about strategies for prioritization.
7- Take Breaks
Taking regular breaks is essential for productivity because it helps you recharge and refocus, preventing burnout. I suggest you take a short break every hour and take longer breaks throughout the day to stretch, exercise, or meditate.
I know for most entrepreneurs, taking breaks may seem counter-intuitive, but it can help you be more productive. Taking short breaks can help you recharge and refocus, increasing your productivity in the long run, according to the University of North Carolina.
Research reveals that taking purposeful breaks between 5 to 60 minutes to refresh your brain and body boosts your energy, productivity, and ability to focus (Source: Cornell University)
8- Say No to Procrastination
Procrastination is one of the biggest time wasters, especially for entrepreneurs. To avoid procrastination, you need to set achievable deadlines and goals, eliminate distractions, and focus on the task at hand.
Proven Tips for Overcoming Procrastination (Source: Princeton University)
- Be aware of your procrastination: Reflect on why you procrastinate, sometimes your habits and beliefs that lead to procrastinating.
- Reflect on your feelings: What feelings lead to procrastinating, and how does it make you feel?
- Think big picture: Look for what’s appealing or what you want from completing the task on hand: revenue increase, customer satisfaction, or business growth.
- Go all in:
- If you feel stuck, start simply by achieving to complete a small task, any task, and write it down.
- When you start a task, commit to finishing it and reward yourself.
- Write down on your schedule or “to-do” list only what you want entirely commit to, and if you write it down, follow through no matter what.
- Surroundings: When working, I encourage you to choose wisely where and with whom you work. I like working at Starbucks.
- Goals: Focus on what you want to do, not what you want to avoid.
- Positive Self-talk: Talk to yourself in ways that remind you of your essential goals and replace old, counter-productive self-talk habits. For example, instead of saying, “I wish I hadn’t… ” say, “I will …”
- Swiss Cheese It: Breaking big tasks into little ones is an excellent technique to avoid procrastination.
9- Learn to Multitask
Multitasking is a skill that is essential to efficient time management. However, it is essential to note that multitasking is not about doing multiple tasks simultaneously but about juggling multiple tasks in a planned and organized way.
Proven tips for training your brain to multitask effectively:
- Batching tasks: If you need to multitask, minimize the switching cost by bundling related tasks. The more similar your tasks are, the easier it will be for you to move smoothly between them.
- Keep your to-do list visible: Put your to-do list in a conspicuous spot and rank it by priority. I encourage you to color code the most crucial tasks and set aside enough time to tackle them.
- Use downtime to reevaluate new tasks: You can use the time between meetings or commuting.
10- Prioritize Your Time
Knowing where to invest your time is critical for entrepreneurs. Prioritizing your time ensures that you focus on the most important things, which will result in increased productivity and better business results.
If you want to learn how to prioritize your time, I suggest you check out the book: Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear.
11- Manage Your Emails
Emails are one of the primary time consumers for entrepreneurs. Managing your emails can help you free up valuable time, which you can use to focus on core business activities.
To manage your emails, you need to schedule email-checking times and set up filters to weed out spam and low-priority emails.
To learn how to manage your emails, I strongly recommend your read The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferris.
12- Break Tasks Into Small Steps
Large tasks can be overwhelming, but breaking them down into smaller, more manageable steps can help.
The good news is that breaking tasks into small steps will allow you to focus on one task at a time and prevents procrastination.
Here are six essential steps for breaking down tasks according to the University of Georgia:
- Look at the big picture. Visualize what the end result should look like
- Review the parts of the task. Figure out the steps you need to take for each part.
- Consider the logical order of completing the tasks. What should you do first, second, and third?
- Create a timeline for achieving your tasks. Generally, having a deadline will make you more focused on each task.
- Create a plan to help you stay on track. Set the time you will spend on each task into your schedule and stick to it.
- Complete your task early enough to have some time left for a final review.
13- Minimize Distractions
Distractions like social media, emails, and phone calls can consume valuable time. I encourage setting aside specific times during the day to check and respond to emails and use apps like Cold Turkey to block social media sites during work hours.
- Expect obstacles and create better solutions: Set yourself up for success; it is recommended to create your perfect work environment, including shutting the office door, turning off your phone, or putting it on airplane mode.
- Try to work on tasks in intervals: As we discussed previously, I encourage you to work in short spurts, at most one hour at a time, then take a break.
- Batch check social media and emails: The Harvard Business Review suggests setting specific times of the day to batch check email, social media, and text messages.
- Take short breaks: It is essential to take short breaks. Use your break to have a glass of water, go the restroom, or walk for some fresh air.
14- Learn to Say No
As an entrepreneur, you may be asked to attend meetings or events that are not essential to your business. Learning to say no to non-essential meetings and events frees up valuable time that can be spent on important tasks.
The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.Warren Buffett
With all the demands on you daily, you need to master the art and practice of setting boundaries for yourself. As Warren Buffet observed, time is our greatest asset. So, whenever you want to say no, remember this quote from Warren Buffet.
What to read next:
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- 14 Common Email Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.
- How to Make Money in Europe: Practical tips, strategies, and opportunities!
Overall, efficient time management is crucial for entrepreneurs in today’s fast-paced business environment. These 12 essential time management tips will help you prioritize, plan, and make the most of your time, resulting in increased productivity and better business results.
Remember, it is not about doing more in less time but about doing the right things at the right time.