More time for the things that matter: Time management tips for entrepreneurs
As an entrepreneur, your most valuable commodity is your time. Knowing how to effectively manage your time and schedule to maximize your output can be a challenge. Here are some techniques that will help you make the most out of your working hours.
Plan your days religiously
Organizational skills come naturally for some of us and can be a monumental struggle for others.
It may seem obvious, but taking the time to prepare your schedule every evening can make a big difference to your productivity. Make a to-do list of essential tasks for the day ahead and schedule your time accordingly.
Establishing a routine doing this will give you great insight into what you can realistically achieve on a day-to-day basis along with the reassurance and confidence that comes with accomplishing small tasks everyday that you know contribute to your long term goals.
Some other tips on how to get the most out of your daily planning are:
Use a calendar or time management software.
Segment your tasks into different categories using color coding, for example, to see which areas are taking up the majority of your time.
Leave some flexibility in your scheduling by slightly overestimating (by say 20%) the amount of time that each task will take to give you a cushion.
Put your phone away
Passive distractions can have a big impact on your productivity throughout the course of a day. Perhaps the most notorious of these distractions is your mobile phone.
Research from Deloitte suggests that on average Europeans check their mobile phone 41 times per day. Assuming 8 hours of sleep and a 9-hour workday (both heavily ambitious for entrepreneurs), this adds up to 115 times per week during working hours. Setting designated times for checking your notifications/making calls during the day can help to minimize the impact your phone has on your productivity.
Even having your mobile phone sitting next to you throughout the day has a negative impact on productivity. The Harvard Business Review conducted an experiment on 800 people to determine what the effects on your cognitive abilities are when people have their phones nearby.
What they discovered is that simply having your phone sitting face down on your desk with notifications turned off has a psychological effect similar to that of sleep loss. With this in mind, putting your phone away in combination with effective scheduling can make you more productive.
How accessible are you to others?
Environment and accessibility can also affect your productivity. We’ve discussed phones at length but the workplace can throw many different distractions at you. Many of these distractions are people-based.
They present themselves as different personas in the office or working environment that if you aren’t careful can take far too much of your precious time. Here are a few examples and how you can handle them effectively.
People who give you partial updates to respond to irregularly throughout the day. This can be addressed by a short and scheduled catch up.
People who tend to dwell in meetings or schedule them unnecessarily. Sticking to set agendas and encouraging more collaboration through email or other digital channels can help here.
People who struggle to distinguish between vital information and things that aren’t essential. Effective communication will help those around you understand the difference between things that require your urgent attention and things that can wait
Automate some of your admin
There has arguably never been a better time in history to be an entrepreneur. Technology has opened up so many exciting resources and methods for conducting business. One of the most helpful technological developments for entrepreneurs is the ability to automate time-consuming business processes.
Take managing your tax affairs for example. Every entrepreneur has, or at one stage, had a shoebox full of receipts that they need to sort through for tax purposes. Our bunq Business accounts give you the ability to take bulk photos of your receipts and match them to the relevant payments you’ve made on that account using our AI.
Auto VAT then goes one step further, and can set aside your VAT balance on incoming and outgoing payments automatically. This means never having to worry about having the right amount when the tax man comes.
This is one example, but there are many ways to automate your business processes across finance, hr, legal/compliance, marketing and much more.
Following some of these strategies will help make you feel more in control of your daily schedule and to spend more of your time on building your business!