3 Top Time Management Tips for Busy Entrepreneurs
The question I get asked more than any other is – “How can I be more productive in my business?” Business owners have so much to do and feel like they don’t have enough time. So I wanted to share with you my top three time management tips for any busy business owner.
Time Management Tips
1. Defining Priorities
One of the most overlooked parts of being productive is being clear on your priorities.
If you aren’t sure about your priorities for your business, your family, and yourself, it’s hard to know what you can say yes to and what you can say no.
It’s easy to say no to those things that don’t fit into your priority at that time.
There are some keys to setting priorities. First, they need to be specific. Many business owners will say that they want more time to spend with their partners. That’s fine as a priority for your overall business, but not for your daily time management. When they’re specific, such as, I want to do yoga every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:00 am – you know that you cannot schedule anything else at this time. If you just said “I want to do yoga” – you wouldn’t have it scheduled, everything else would take that time, and you wouldn’t find the time to do yoga.
Second, priorities need to be meaningful. Don’t choose priorities just because your favorite entrepreneur does it. Instead, if you’re fully invested in the priority, you will be more likely to say “No” to things that conflict with it. Third, priorities should be time-limited. With my clients, usually, a 2-3 month timeframe works for their priorities. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t continue the same priority over and over (like yoga), but our activities and time availability change throughout the year. Make sure you’re aware of those changes and choose your priorities accordingly.
Remember, priorities allow you to create boundaries around those things that are most meaningful to you. And give you permission to say no to those things that don’t match your priority at that time. Now that doesn’t mean you are saying no to an opportunity forever. Perhaps your priority isn’t visibility now, but it will be in the fall and you would be available for a podcast interview then.
2. Creating Systems
One way to drastically increase your productivity and manage your time well in your business is by creating systems. What does this mean? Iit means that you’re looking at each step of a certain process, documenting, and automating when possible.
For instance, if you’re a service-based business and you have clients, it’s helpful to create a “client intake system.” You would look at the first contact the client has with you, and what happens up until they sign a contract. By writing down each step, you will be able to find areas where you could automate. For appointments, having a scheduler, like Acuity or Calendly, will cut down on your time to go back and forth to find a time that works. Instead, you send them a link to your calendar, they can select the date and time that works for them (you can even set up a questionnaire and payment), and the system will even send notifications before the appointment. This system takes you out of the process of setting appointments. It obviously saves you time. In addition by documenting these processes, you’re then able to have a team member or maybe a virtual assistant assist you with parts of the process. Having thought through these systems, having each step documented, will save you time.
3. Identifying Time Blocks
If you’re just using to-do lists and not creating time blocks, you’re missing out on a great way to increase your productivity.
By creating blocks of time, you’re doing similar tasks together which works with your brain. It takes much more energy and brainpower to switch between different types of tasks. Scientists have found that it can take up to 20 minutes for your brain to refocus on a new type of task. Grouping similar tasks together is a great way to be more productive
So how does this work? First, you will want to look at the types of tasks you do and create categories or themes. Most businesses have an “administrative time block” where you pay your bills, do payroll, or create invoices. Create a block with these types of tasks and assign them to a day and time. Another common block of time for business owners is “CEO time.” This block gives you time to look at your overall strategic vision for your business, plan your bigger projects for the year, or perhaps reach out to collaborators, etc, not just work on day-to-day tasks. Most businesses also need a content creation block. Whether you’re writing blog posts, creating social media posts or shooting videos, you have to create content for your business. Setting aside a block of time for this allows you to focus all your energy on this one type of task.
By creating these time blocks, you’ll start to create routines in your weekly schedule. And these routines are a great way to get things done. You know exactly what you’re going to work on when you sit down at your desk in the morning. You won’t waste time wondering what you’re going to do.
In addition by having these routines, your brain will start to “know” what type of task you’re going to do at what time. For instance, if you have your administrative block on Thursdays at 10:00 am – your brain will start to know that you’ll be working on numbers at this time and be ready to go. Time blocks increase productivity and make your life easier and help you work with your brain, not against it.
There are so many ways that we can all be more productive in our businesses. I hope you will try some of these time management tips as they change to help change the way you use your time in your business.
Karen Grill is a Business & Productivity Coach for Female Entrepreneurs. Having started her first online business over 10 years ago, she knows the struggles of mom entrepreneurs and has learned the strategies for creating a successful business.
She loves helping women manage their time, create systems and strategies to work less and earn more so that they can run the business they love while still having time for their families and themselves.