time management

Time Management Tips for Successful Entrepreneurs

One of the most frequent challenges I hear from my coaching clients is time management. Time is such a limited asset, we only have so much of it, and how we handle the demands of  our time will determine how successful our business becomes.

As an entrepreneur building your business, there is a good chance you’ve already tried to tackle time management using classes, books and electronic methods. With all that knowledge and all those gadgets, chances are still don’t have a handle on your time and are wondering why.

The short answer is that time management systems don’t really work. Let’s face it, life sometimes gets in the way. Priorities change as you go through your day, emergencies happen. If you are like me, you’d rather spend more time doing the things you like to do and less time doing the things you despise doing. With the right techniques in place you can focus on the revenue producing activities that are key to making your business grow.

See where your time goes

Carry a schedule around with you and record all your activities, conversations and thoughts for one week. This log will help you see how much you do during a typical day and where your minutes are going. You’ll also notice how much time is wasted on unproductive actions, thoughts and conversations and how much is spent producing results. Try the “Like to Do/Good At Exercise” to really see where you spend your time and how you might hire out some of the non-revenue generating activities. 

Schedule appointments

To-do lists tend to get longer – to the point where they’re no longer workable – but calendars keep you focused in a realistic way. Assign a time to any conversation or activity that is vital for your success. Schedule appointments with yourself with start and end times, and create time blocks for your high-priority actions, thoughts and conversations. Plan on spending at least 50 percent of your time engaging in the conversions, activities and thoughts that produce the majority of your results. If there are to do’s on your list that challenge you, don’t put them off till tomorrow, make them the first thing you do in your day. 

Plan your day

Some people prefer to plan each day as it happens, if that is you, spend the first half hour of each day planning the rest of it out. If you are one who likes to plan out the entire week, choose a time every week when you will plan your week and stick to it. Don’t start your day until your time plan is complete. Put your planned activities on your calendar. Block out specific hours of time and stick to them.

Reward yourself

I know this may sound a little goofy and sometimes I feel silly doing it, but it works. After you have spent the time you have put on your calendar and committed to accomplishing a specific task, do something to reward yourself. For me it may be taking the dogs for a walk, spending a few minutes in my garden, calling a good friend. Whatever it is, do something for you to celebrate getting the job done.

Take five minutes

Before each task and call, take five minutes to think about what result you’re trying to attain. This will help you know what success looks like before you begin and slow time down. Take another few minutes after each activity or call to determine whether you hit your mark. If not, ask yourself what was missing and figure out how to put that missing element into your next task or call.

Change distracting habits

Commit to not responding to emails just because they’re there and not answering your phone simply because it’s ringing. Don’t instantly give someone your attention unless it’s absolutely necessary in your business to offer an immediate human response. Schedule a time to return phone calls and answer email and let your customers and clients know when those times are. Unless social media is your main tool for generating business, block it out; Entrepreneur Magazine reports it’s a notorious productivity killer.

Start today, make a commitment to better time management. Block out the time on your calendar. If things come up, and they always will, get back on track tomorrow. The results will soon follow.


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