As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to feel like time is never on your side. With so much to do and a limited budget, every day is a race against the clock. There is good news, though: there are ways to make more room in your schedule. By cutting out these 4 common time wasters, you can focus on the heart of your business rather than the busy work that’s been holding you back.
Deviating From The Schedule
Paper planners are having a moment right now, but whatever your preferred scheduling strategy, you need to commit to it. When you deviate from the schedule, especially for non-emergency tasks, you make it clear to others that your time isn’t valuable. Write out a to-do list for each day and if additional demands come your way, set those aside for the next day’s to-do list. If you work in an industry with a lot of urgent calls or tasks, you can also block out chunks of your day for those activities.
Time management pros rely on four “Ds” to help their clients get through the day: delete, delegate, defer, and do. Deferring – putting off for another day something that’s not important – is easy for most people, and doing small tasks is similarly manageable. What many entrepreneurs really struggle with, though, is delegating. Not only do many small businesses lack the necessary staff, but the Type A personalities that dominate the business world can have a hard time trusting others and letting tasks go.
One way to improve your delegation skills and stop wasting time is by specifically hiring or contracting with specialists in your field. For example, if you invest in rental properties, hiring a property manager may allow you to outsource tenant relationship projects so that you can focus on the finances. Or, if you’re great with front-of-house tasks, you might want to outsource payroll. Whatever it is you choose to offload, what’s important is that you manage more and fuss less.
Improvising is an important tool for entrepreneurs. It’s what lets you respond to urgent situations and solve problem in innovative ways. There’s a point at which improvising goes too far, though, and that’s when you start ignoring establishing processes, or declining to establish procedures in the first place. Lack of infrastructure and standardization are major time wasters and they can also be a barrier to delegation, so set aside time to formalize common practices. As your business grows, you’ll be glad you have operational norms in place.
“Business” Hours Only
With constant connectivity comes endless round-the-clock operations, or at the very least excessively long hours. In reality, though, you’re not getting ahead by burning the candle at both ends. By working yourself to exhaustion, you’re actually wasting a lot of time, since it’s hard to work efficiently when you’re tired. Instead of trying to work long hours or even sticking exclusively to business hours, try scheduling major tasks around your energy levels. You’ll be more efficient at these times of day. During periods when you tend to feel tired or distracted, swap your attention to something like checking email, going for a walk, or even taking a power nap.
Managing a business is an art form that takes time to master, but as an entrepreneur, you’re working on a short timeline – the money will run out fast if you don’t figure things out. That’s why you need to stop wasting time. The whole world is clamoring for your attention, and your job is to focus on what makes you and your business different. That’s the only thing that really counts.