Five Time Management Tips for Entrepreneurs
By: Kayla Stevens 02/13/2015
Time management. For many entrepreneurs, this is the most challenging aspect of starting a business, according to Entrepreneur Magazine. Often, startups begin with a lone entrepreneur doing all of the work him or herself. In a world where multitasking is the new norm, many feel pressured to do everything at one time. Unfortunately for many of us, working on several tasks at the same time leads to lowered concentration for each one. This is true for both male and female entrepreneurs. Therefore, multitasking several things at once can leave you with each of them being of lower quality work than if you simply worked at each task individually, which leads us to our first tip.
Make and Maintain To-Do Lists
A to-do list can go a long way into simplifying your day. Having a list of everything you need to do gives you a visual of your progress, and helps you to stay focused on the task at hand. You should, of course, put the most important tasks at the top of the list. Next should come the hardest, or most time consuming. This leaves you with the simplest and least time consuming tasks for the afternoon, when many tend to get a bit sluggish. As you work on your list you can check off each task that is done, allowing you see feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of each task. Your energy is not divided among several things at once, and you are able to get more done than if you'd try to tackle the whole list.
Avoid Interruptions Until Each Task is Done
When we are hard at work, our friends, family, and co-workers are supposed to know that we are unavailable (unless it is an emergency, of course.) Let's face it, however, in today's world of technology most people think that no one is ever truly unavailable. With smart phones, PDAs, and emails, it is far too easy for someone to send you a quick message asking you what is for dinner, or what color you're going to wear to the office party. No matter how focused you are on the task at hand, when that phone signals a new message, it is easy to think, “I'll just answer this right quick, it won't take but a minute.” Unfortunately, it usually takes far more than “a minute” to answer, and even longer to regain your focus. If you have to, put your devices on “silent” while you work, and stop to check them between tasks; same with email. Avoid social media and/or games completely unless you are on a lunch or other company-scheduled break.
Take Mini-Breaks Often
Staring at a computer screen, focusing on paperwork and other office tasks for too long at a time can often put people into a state of lethargy, almost like a trance. Although some may seem to focus even tighter during this period, it can slow your productivity down. Once you find yourself in this state, it can be very difficult to pull yourself out of it. Despite what the candy bar and energy drink commercials may tell you, the best way to avoid this is by taking mini-breaks throughout the day. Stand up, stretch, drink water, move around. Keep these breaks short, maybe 5 minutes, but take them often.
Learn to Say “No”
For many of us, saying, “No,” to someone can be a bit of a challenge, especially at work. When others ask for help on a project, we want to be helpful and we do not want to look lazy or create tension by saying, “No.” If helping someone else will hurt your own productivity, however, sometimes we just have to refuse. Saying, “No,” is not always a bad thing. Let the people who are asking know if agreeing to help them will overwhelm you with your own work, even if it is a client. He or she would rather know this than for you too take on a new task and give him or her low quality work.
Get Plenty of Sleep
No, this tip does not apply while working. You should not be sleeping at work, however, you should make sure to get plenty of rest each night. Many people believe that they can get more done if they stay up late and work on tomorrow's tasks. This is simply not true. In order for your mind to function at its best, you need 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Skipping sleep can slow down your productivity and make you sluggish by mid-afternoon.