If you run a business or own many businesses, you probably realised by now that time management is important to having a productive day. There are only 24 hours a day and being a business owner or entrepreneur does not magically entitle you to more time.
Instead, the goal is to maximise your productivity with the limited amount of time, given that entrepreneurs wear many hats. Therefore, good time management becomes crucial for entrepreneurs.
It is an important priority for entrepreneurs and the first thing to make time management more effective is to understand which are the tasks to be done first, how much time to allocate and which employee to delegate to so that the company can move forward efficiently.
It is also critical that the entrepreneur leads by example because when employees understand and see that time management is part and parcel of the daily work life, they are motivated and committed to emulate the same behaviour. In the long run, it results in the company’s overall business performance and growth.
So how do you manage time like a pro without feeling burnt out? These are the top 10 tips to easy and effective time management:
1. Start the day early
By changing your waking time to 2 hours earlier, you would realise that these 2 hours will prove to be more beneficial than anything. Imagine waking up at a time when the rest of the world is still asleep, it automatically becomes your precious me time.
Totally undisturbed, you are free to do anything you want. You can meditate, take a walk, inhale some fresh morning air and even have time for breakfast before the daily grind starts.
You start the day at your own pace, not rushing, completely calm as opposed to jumping out of bed, being stuck in traffic, missing breakfast and starting the day on an erratic note. Time management is basically optimal use of your time in a nutshell.
2. Eat healthy
Many people do not realise that eating habits affect their performance. Food has a direct impact on your cognitive performance and that is why choosing the right food is key to having a productive day.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it breaks the overnight fasting state of your body. It replenishes your glucose levels to boost energy and alertness besides providing other essential nutrients. Imagine starting your car in the morning after a night of idling, you need to wait for it to be warmed up aka the fuel running before you can begin your drive smoothly. It is exactly the same principle!
Research has shown that eating fruits and vegetables throughout the day is not simply good for your physical body, it is also beneficial for your mind. The more fruits and vegetables you consume, the happier, more engaged and creative you tend to be!
Most importantly, eat at regular intervals and do not skip meals. Add whole foods, fruits and vegetables to your diet and you will find that your energy levels are higher than before. Having a healthy diet is part of time management because it protects you from gluttony, fatigue and sicknesses.
3. Exercise in the morning
The biggest and obvious reason why you should exercise in the morning is because it boosts your energy levels. Exercise improves blood circulation and releases endorphins that help to energise you and preps you up to start the day – time management to success.
Studies have shown that early morning exercise helps regulate your appetite, reduces stress and improves your concentration. Not to mention, it also improves and maintains your physical health.
When you make time to exercise in the morning, it gives you more flexibility throughout your day and you do not need to worry about not having the time to exercise due to last minute changes because it is already done in the morning! Time management is anticipating what could possibly happen later in the day to break your routine and stop you from productivity.
4. Have sufficient sleep
As a busy entrepreneur, you might find yourself sleeping late nights frequently but the truth is that it is important to sleep on time and get sufficient rest because then, your body and mind will have time to recharge, leaving you refreshed when you wake up.
You may think that you want to work super duper hard for the first few years so you can relax later but did you know that lack of sleep decreases productivity, impairs your concentration and creativity? Because your brain degenerates when you do not have enough rest. Having sufficient sleep also keeps your body and mind healthy.
5. Delegate wisely
One of the common challenges an entrepreneur faces is delegating tasks because you need to know who to delegate to so that the task will be completed well in an efficient manner.
Often, delegation does not truly happen because the entrepreneur is used to doing all the work and is afraid to relinquish control, partly due to the fact that the employee might not be able to do the task well.
Therefore understanding your team’s individual strengths and weaknesses is key to delegating tasks wisely so that you can focus your time and energy on the more important tasks like planning business strategies, stakeholder management and communication as well as team building, motivation and direction. Now that is true time management!
6. Set a time limit for everything
Keeping a lid and balance on your schedule is critical to effective time management. Consider time boxing to help manage your time well, meaning you sit down and plan the entire week ahead, breaking down your time into slots and allocating the slots to specific tasks. By planning your week in advance, it gives you better clarity and control in time management.
Set a specific time for every meeting and try your best to end the meetings on time. Outline and prioritise your tasks for the day and for the week, determine the time allocated to each individual task and stick to the planned schedule as closely as possible.
7. Stop procrastinating
Procrastinators love to postpone tasks and while they might not be lazy and get their work done, it usually happens at the eleventh hour and you know that when things are done at the last minute, the quality might not be as good compared to if you have started on the tasks earlier.
If you want to achieve your goals, you have to practise self-discipline and the changes do not need to be big. And change definitely does not happen overnight. In fact, it is just a little tweak in your daily habits and you will be amazed at the results, both professionally and in your personal life.
8. Automate repetitive tasks
There are simple tasks that you need to do repeatedly on a daily basis and while they are simple, they still take a large amount of your time because it is an accumulative effect.
You can filter out these tasks and use automation systems such as IFTTT or Zapier so you do not need to deal with them constantly. Automation helps you save time and time is money. You could use the time on closing sales, planning business strategies etc.
9. Say “No”
When you run your own business, the chances are that you would have to attend a lot of meetings and be part of huddles. However, it does not mean you need to do it every time. You need to know your priorities and learn to say “No” intentionally to time wasters, interruptions, non-essentials and potential opportunities.
Because every single “No” will lead you a step closer to your goals and when you know what is your vision for the business, you will know which meetings and huddles to reject, leaving you quality time to focus only on the necessary. Time management is really a weighing of the pros and cons in your daily decisions.
10. Take regular breaks
You might think that taking breaks is a waste of time but it actually has the opposite effect! Taking regular breaks helps you to go back on track with increased focus and energy because taking time off rejuvenates your mind and body. It fosters new creativity and motivation.
Just like machinery, if you leave it running all the time without leaving it to cool and provide regular lubrication, it wears and tears faster. Therefore, it is essential to take regular breaks to prevent burnout, over-exhaustion and unproductivity.
In summary, despite the busy schedule, knowing your priorities and taking time out for proper rest are the best ways to effective time management. It is adopting a holistic approach to time management, not only in business but also in your personal life.