Starting a business is one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do. Scaling it may be even harder. As an entrepreneur of an organization that’s getting ready to grow, you’ll have hundreds of little responsibilities and never enough time to take care of them all. But with the right time management strategies, you can save more time as a startup entrepreneur, ensure that your most vital responsibilities are addressed, and reduce your stress at the same time.
Here’s how to take your startup to the next level with more effective time management.
Hire Help (and Delegate)
First, consider hiring help and delegating some of your responsibilities. It’s arguably the most direct and effective way to reduce your task list if you have the budget for it.
- Third-party companies. If you’re planning on growing the business, your best option is hiring a third-party company to take over some portion of the responsibilities for your business. For example, if you hire a third party logistics company, their team of authorities will take over your logistics and supply chain management needs, so you can focus your attention elsewhere. As your business expands, your logistics partner’s services can expand with you.
- Employees. Hiring employees can be useful, especially if you need key leaders in long-term roles, but it can also be expensive. Consider hiring for talent, rather than just experience, to reduce your costs while still recruiting excellent candidates.
- Contractors. It’s also a good idea to make use of contractors. Hiring contractors is usually less expensive and more flexible than hiring traditional employees, but it can give you access to competent people who can help you with just about anything.
Employees spend an average of 31 hours a month in meetings. As an entrepreneur, you might spend even more time in meetings. But the truth is, not every meeting is necessary, and most meetings feature at least some time waste. One of the best ways to increase productivity for yourself, as well as the people around you, is to reduce the number of meetings you hold and reduce the time allotted for each meeting. If you want to increase meeting efficiency even further, make sure there is a rigid agenda in place for each session.
Automate Whatever You Can
Next, automate whatever you can. With the right technology, you can practically eliminate certain tasks that previously required you to expend manual effort. In addition to saving time, automation improves consistency, practically eliminating the possibility of human error interfering with your operations. Not every job can be automated, but the more you automate, the more time you’ll have to spend on those more important aspects of your role.
It’s common for startup entrepreneurs to multitask, but this is always a bad idea. Aside from a tiny minority of people, we are all terrible multitaskers; introducing a new task to a scenario instantly cripples our ability to perform either task with competence. Even innocuous forms of multitasking, such as checking emails while in a meeting, interfere with your ability to pay attention and remain productive. Focus on one thing at a time.
Make Use of the Pareto Principle
The Pareto principle is an informal guideline that, in many scenarios, 80 percent of your results can be attributed to 20 percent of your inputs. For example, 80 percent of your sales could come from 20 percent of your clients.
Try to apply this to your job. If 80 percent of your impact can be attributed to 20 percent of your responsibilities, which responsibilities would those be? These are responsibilities that should always get your full attention and top priority; everything else is somewhat expendable.
Schedule Heads-Down Time
Many entrepreneurs feel like they never have any time because the moment they sit down to focus on productive work, they’re interrupted by someone. To avoid this, it’s important for you to schedule regular heads-down time, preferably every day. During these scheduled hours, take no phone calls, text messages, or chat requests; you may even want to disconnect from the internet. You’ll find yourself much more productive under these circumstances.
Track Your Time
Finally, make it a point to track your time. What do you do throughout the day? How much time do you spend on various responsibilities? When do you feel like the day slips away from you? By studying your patterns and habits, you’ll learn more about how you work and spend time – and you’ll be in a much better position to make improvements.
Better time management has the potential to make you a better entrepreneur. With more time and a better sense of productive control, you’ll be ready to take your startup to the next level.
Featured image provided by pixaby; Pexels; Thanks!