Ten tips for entrepreneurs: time management techniques

Author

Rebecca Burn-Callander Enterprise Editor

July 16, 2014

Time is money when you are running your own business. Maximise your day with our top ten time management tips.

Don’t waste your working day. Try out these time management secrets.

1. Set aside half an hour to plan your day each morning. It may sound foolish to plan to plan, but laying out the tasks you hope to achieve in the day, and thinking about your priorities can help get you in the right mindset to get it all done.

2. Make sure that you factor in time for interruptions. The phone will ring, unexpected emails will arrive. If you try to book in appointment after appointment, with no breathing space, you will always fall behind.

3. Accept that you can’t answer every call or respond to every email instantly. If you need to finish a project, let the phone ring and disconnect instant messaging. Don’t fall into the trap of reacting to everything out of habit. If it doesn’t need an immediate response from you, right now, don’t do it.

4. Try setting yourself deadlines throughout the day to prevent tasks dragging on. If you have to send x emails by y o’clock, you’re less likely to get distracted by another project. If necessary, schedule these deadlines in your calendar to keep yourself on track.

5. Before every meeting or call, take a few minutes to work out what exactly you want to get out of the appointment. This way, you know what success looks like before you start. After the appointment, take a few minutes to work out whether you achieved your goal. This will not only make you more focused during your appointment, but will also help you to become more efficient at getting what you want, faster.

6. The “Pareto principle” states that 80pc of your success comes from 20pc of your activity. Try to work out what that 20pc is. Try to skew your working day to give priority to those activities, and make more time for them.

7. Entrepreneurs can often struggle to delegate, preferring to be hands on with every aspect of their business. This isn’t viable long term. Learn to apportion less important tasks to others, or outsource where you can.

8. Batch similar tasks together to work more efficiently. If you have several calls to make, hang a “do not disturb” sign and make them all in a row.

9. Be ruthless with meetings. Always set an agenda and a finishing time. Don’t let them drag on or allow participants to go off on tangents. The average office worker spends around 16 hours in meetings each week, but a quarter of this time is usually wasted.

10. Get rid of distractions when you need to focus. This could mean working in a quieter room, or putting on headphones to block out office noise. Don’t have social media sites running on your browser that you might be tempted to click on – unless they are important to your work.

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