Time management hacks every entrepreneur should try

Managing time as a busy entrepreneur is nearly a job unto itself. For many self-employed professionals, balancing personal time as well as the needs of a full-time business can be a daunting, but not an impossible task. Properly utilizing organizational skills, current technologies and proper self-motivation can mean the difference between having balance in life or feeling constantly “behind”.

Time management as an entrepreneur begins with organization. Being resolute in maintaining a busy day to day schedule begins with organizing your day in a meaningful way. This helps to accomplish all the day’s goals with a minimum of distraction.

By being organized, tech-savvy and motivated, you will find that time management becomes second nature.

Some helpful tips learned over the years to organize a busy day include:

Planning the day backwards from a meeting or project rather than in a typical linear fashion. This can help organize your schedule with a minimum of wasted time or travel. You structure the framework of your day where the most important items are non-negotiable. Then you plan your other activities around those nonnegotiable events.

If your business involves travel, it’s helpful to map out alternate routes in case your main route is blocked. It’s also wise to add in a minimum of 15 minutes extra time to arrive at a meeting so that you are on time even if there is unexpected traffic.

Communication is also key to proper organization. If you are running late to a meeting or need to dispatch an employee in your stead, it’s important to maintain timely lines of communication. Having an empty voicemail box is also a useful communication tool in case you are tied up with multiple phone calls.

Lastly, it is an organizational imperative to write everything down. This can mean something as small as items you need to have with you for meetings to larger more important action items. The important thing is to write them down rather than hope you’ve committed them to memory.

Using technology can greatly increase your productivity and efficiency. Phone apps like calendar reminders, alarms and notepads can help you keep even the most hectic day manageable. Apps like “Airtable” help you create, manage and share important action items or checklists with others.

“DocuSign” allows you to take important scannable documents and send them as emails which can then be signed electronically. This can alleviate lost documents in the mail as well as save time. Writing events, deadlines, and meetings down in your personal phone calendar is a necessity to maintain an efficient schedule.

Committing small details to the notepad function on your phone can also ensure even the smallest details are captured.

It’s of equal importance to stay abreast of any news in your field. Staying on top of world events and happenings in your field has been made incredibly easy with modern cellphones. This way you won’t be caught unaware if you need to have a conversation on topics in your field.

Utilizing texting is also a great time management and communication tool. But it is important to remember as an entrepreneur that your texts should always maintain an air of decorum. Being too personal in a text can send the wrong message to a client or a professional colleague.

Proper self-motivation is the final and most important skill an entrepreneur can employ. Knowing your limits as an individual can help you accurately structure a week without over-promising or under-delivering.

Self-motivation can come through daily repetition of certain tasks so that your mind can be left free to concentrate on the more important details of the day. It’s also important to maintain a healthy sleep schedule to allow your mind to recharge.

Proper diet and nutrition can also help maintain mental acuity and clarity.

Being properly self-motivated starts with mentally knowing you are prepared for any eventuality before it occurs. Mapping out every possible detail rather than leaving things to chance helps you project an air of competence that will, in turn, motivate those around you.

It’s also important to allow personal time to keep your perspective fresh. Neglecting emotional health can lead to long term issues that can impact your career. Stress can literally kill you so it’s important to know your mental and emotional boundaries as well as be able to communicate them to others.

By being organized, tech-savvy and motivated, you will find that time management becomes second nature.

Using these scalable techniques will help you keep your stress levels low and prepare you to tackle larger projects in the future without decreasing personal fulfillment.

Kelly Cohen

Kelly Cohen

Partner & Chief Marketing Officer, The Southern Group.

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