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11 Secrets to Better Time Management for Entrepreneurs

not enough time

What secret do wealthy people know that most people don’t? If you study their lives closely, you’ll discover that the wealthy have certain habits that lead to their success. Successful people are very careful about how they spend their time. No matter how you slice it, we all have 24 hours in a day, so the key likes in learning to use our time wisely. Below are some ways you can dramatically increase your productivity through more effective use of your time.

1. Monitor how you currently use your time

If it seems like your day slips by all too quickly, create a log of your daily activities. Once you see where you are spending your time, you can identify and focus on the activities that provide the greatest returns for you, both personally and financially. Start your log by writing down what time you wake up, get ready and begin to work. Calculate how much time you spend on individual activities such as email, phone calls, and client work.

2. Calculate how much your time is worth

Time is money. Knowing how much your time is actually worth can help you make better decisions as to whether you should perform a task or outsource it.

For instance, if you want to earn $300,000 a year, and you work 40 hours a week for 50 weeks, then each hour of your time is worth $150.

In that case, you are far better off paying someone $30 an hour to edit your newsletter instead of insisting on doing it yourself. You can “bank” the other $120 per hour by spending your time on profit-making activities.

3. Create a daily schedule

Don’t start your day with out a To Do list. Make a list of tasks and categorize them into business-building activities, client activities and personal items. Then break bigger, unmanageable projects into smaller “doable” chucks so they become less intimidating and easier to accomplish.

4. Prioritize

Have more to do than hour sin the day? By prioritizing your tasks, you’ll make sure that you are tackling the items that matter most. Create a system that works for you. One standard way of prioritizing is to mark items with A, B, and C. A=”MUST get done today”; B=”Important to get done today”; C= Can be done if time allows.

Ask yourself these key questions about every task on your to do list:

  • What items must be done today?
  • Which items can be rescheduled?
  • What can be delegated?
  • Which tasks most closely match my priorities and goals?
  • Which items can be eliminated?

5. Learn to say no

Do you find yourself constantly adding one more item to your never-ending to-do list? You are in control of your time. Be strong and uphold your personal boundaries. When you are well-rested and treat yourself and your family to time off you deserve, you’ll feel happier and more productive when it’s time to go back to work.

Before you say yes to any task or project, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I really have the time or energy to add this to my list?
  • Do I like this client? Is he or she good to me?
  • Will this be profitable?
  • Does it invade my personal time?
  • Does it involve me doing something I enjoy?
  • Does it fit in with my list of priorities and goals?

6. Remove distractions and time-sucks

Time-sucks are lurking everywhere — like viruses. Think about which activities are eating up your time. For many entrepreneurs, these items include email, phone calls, and social media. You can “conquer” the email demon by delegating this task to an assistant or by disciplining yourself to only check email once or twice a day. As for phone calls, you can institute a policy where you do not take unscheduled incoming calls — unless in an emergency. Likewise, you can schedule specific times when you will check into your various social media accounts and make updates.

7. Stick to the plan

Don’t let anyone or anything sidetrack you from your plan. Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “a lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency for me.” That’s a smart rule to live by. Unless it’s a true emergency, or you are being paid “rush” time, you don’t need to squeeze any last-minute requests into your schedule. Also, by assigning yourself project deadlines, you can keep on top of projects and avoid those dreaded last-minute emergencies.

8. Chose an inspiring place and time

We are “built” differently. Schedule the tasks which take your most “brain power” for when you are at your prime. Are you a morning person, or do you work best burning the midnight oil? Create an ultimate work haven that is clean, distraction-free, and inspiring. Surround yourself with views, items and decorations that make you feel good and help to get work done.

9. Bundle like things together

As you work through your daily list, chunk your tasks into similar activities instead of jumping back and forth from one type of activity to another. Create a “chunk” of time for answering email, invoicing, making return phone calls and other similar tasks, and a separate “chunk” of time for creative activities like writing and planning. This will save you time and increase your mental energy — which will improve your RESULTS.

10. Avoid interruptions

We’ve all been there. Interruptions often cause you to do the same thing over and over again, or to have to start way back at the beginning of a task to regain your momentum. Instead, once you start a task, make sure to finish it to the end. if something comes up that you need to remember or do, but isn’t urgent, simply add it to your to-do list and continue on with your current project.

11. Stay organized

When things are tidy, it saves you time and frees you to focus on the task at hand. Digging through a pile of papers and finding someone’s business card you forgot you had isn’t very conducive to the work experience. Follow your own organizational style, and use technology wherever it helps you. There are a lot of pieces of software and mobile apps to help you get and stay organized.

Why wait for success, when you can literally schedule it! By mastering you time, you can accomplish much more, and with less effort. Be choosey about how you spend time, and make sure to focus on activities which most closely match your goals.

Remember the good news and bad news of being an entrepreneur. The good news is that you’re your own boss. The bad news? You’re your own boss!

What are some tips or systems you have developed for saving time?

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This article came from the February 2013 edition of Money-Making Monthly, published by Steve Sipress. For more information on the magazine or to get your free issue mailed to your door, click here.

One Response to 11 Secrets to Better Time Management for Entrepreneurs

  1. Jeff Reply

    July 25, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    love #6…..my voicemail even says “….this line is not monitored for unscheduled calls and the voicemail is not checked, to leave a message please call XXXXXX” and then that line automatically transcribes the message and that message is emailed to my assistant who will decide what needs to happen from there. This alone has saved me countless hours and interruptions so I can focus on MY priorities.

    Great blog Steve!!

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