Note From Yoon:
Time management crops up as a constant concern for many of my clients. Today, I share some of the same strategies that have helped my clients monetize their time. These strategies have been successfully employed by my clients from solopreneur new coaches to those who are CEO’s of 30 Million dollar companies.
It is a fact that most modern day parents struggle to balance caring for the needs of children and family. Everyone wants more time for their kids. With three kids of my own, I know that I have to make every minute count in my work day. I do not enjoy engaging in activities that waste my time or deplete my energy. I am sure that most people feel that way!
As a result, it is particularly important to make sure that your work time is well managed. Here are some ideas and strategies to help you manage your time. Feel free to reach out and share on my blog with others. Share how these tips are working for you, your business and your family!
Here’s to Your Success!
5 Time Management Strategies for Entrepreneurs
I have found that time management is one of the most challenging disciplines in the life of an entrepreneur. As an employee, your schedule and tasks are structured for you. Employees will still earn the compensation they were offered regardless if they were more productive or less productive in a given day.
When it comes to time management skills, the cracks show faster when you’re an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs who have weaker time management skills will feel that direct impact on your revenues and profits.
What’s great about being an entrepreneur is being your own boss.
What’s challenging about being an entrepreneur being your own boss.
Whether you are a solopreneur or your have employees the fact is you do not have a boss who measures your productivity and holds you accountable to higher standards of performance.
It’s just so easy to get distracted whether it’s by allowing others to constantly interrupt us or by falling into a pattern of interrupting ourselves. I know myself, I find the internet to be very distracting. I jump on Google to search for the answer to one question that should theoretically only take me 10 minutes tops, but I can easily wander to 14 other sites and not do what I intended.
Meanwhile, emails are popping up that draw me away from what I came to do, many of which include links for me to review that leads me onto yet another set of 12 more interesting websites I somehow feel in the moment I must explore.
I confess that yes, I too get bit by the distraction bug. Here are some strategies that have worked for me to overcome my self interruptions. Rather than practicing what I preach, these tips I preach are the ones I have practiced.
Time Management Strategy #1. Keep a daily time journal.
This is something I do everyday even now that helps me in the moment to see just how much time I gave to a task and assess the value of what I accomplished in that time. I jot down my tasks contemporaneously throughout the day as I switch tasks. Of course, sometimes it will happen that I jockey back and forth from 3 or 4 different tasks, in which case I write that as one line item. Here’s what my form looks like:
|Start||End||How Long||Results of What I Accomplished w/ Each Task|
Week Total: hrs
When I jot down the results of what I actually accomplished it sheds light to where the greatest ROI is (return on investment) on my time. It also brings awareness to those tasks I ought to outsource, delegate or delete because I’m either overqualified to be doing those tasks or those tasks just are not in my areas of core competency.
If I keep doing certain tasks I am weak at, all I’m doing is acquiring a lot of strong weaknesses. If I keep doing entry level tasks just because I know how to do them, all I’m doing is paying 3 times to 10 times more salary then if I just outsourced or delegated those tasks to a lower paid assistant.
One of my past clients, who is an eye doctor with a new private practice, used this form for two weeks. We found he spent on average 2 hours a day answering the phone which totaled 20 hours in the two week period.
I asked him, “Did you invest in medical school to earn $12 per hour?
Because that’s what a receptionist is for.”
Time Management Strategy #2. Plan your week in advance.
It’s important to take all those pesky to do items out of your head and onto a form. You should choose what type of form works best for you. There are some great free tools available I found at http://www.productiveflourishing.com/free-planners/
There’s also another great tool called TimeDoctor.com. It’s really for companies to keep track of what hours their employees are working and what they’re doing, but you can also use this tool for yourself. It gives you reports on how you spend your days, but what’s really cool and a bit surprising is that you can get screenshots of all the websites you were on during the day and what you were doing on them.
Time Management Strategy #3. Color code your time on your calendar.
The best time management technique that works for me is to simply color code my time on my iCal (or if you’re on a PC your outlook calendar). Then of course, you should sync your calendars so you can access the same info from both your smartphone and laptop.
Here’s my personal color code system:
I set up the week ahead of time and put all of my
- client session appointments on there in red,
- my marketing to-do tasks in pink,
- my follow up items in orange
- admin to do is blue (which I try to have the least)
- Emails are brown
- Kids commitments are in green
I make myself note what outcome result I accomplished on the tasks (not client sessions though) and that is my own built in reporting system of where my time is going.
Time Management Strategy #4. Choose a system to hold yourself accountable.
To succeed as an entrepreneur half the battle lies in setting the right goals and developing a smart plan to helping you achieve those goals. The other half of the battle is following through and implementing that plan. Here are 4 solutions to consider to help you succeed in following through.
- You can hire a business coach like me to hold you accountable.
- You can ask a friend or family member to be your accountability partner — although some people may not be tough enough on you.
- You can join a mastermind group — a peer group of like minded entrepreneurs who are there each month to hold you accountable. Take a took at one that I facilitate for the Women’s Business Forum at http://www.paramountbusinesscoach.com/mastermind-group
- You can also consider some tools out there like www.Stickk.com where you have to pay money for every to-do item you do not follow through on.
Following through does take discipline. It takes discipline to say no to all those shiny baubles that show up in our week. It takes discipline to plan out your calendar week in and week out. It takes discipline to audit yourself on a daily basis to assess how well you stayed focus and stayed on track.
The good news is the more you repeat a pattern of behavior the easier it becomes to continue that pattern of behavior.
Time Management Strategy #5. Let go.
The reality is there are only 24 hours in a day and your body needs to sleep for 8 or 9 of those hours. There will always be more to do both at home and with your business. If you are constantly racing the clock and running out of time, why not just give yourself less to do? A huge break through in my own success occurred when I made the decision early on to let go and let others take care of a lot of my tasks.
I’d like to invite you to join to the conversation.
QUESTION: What is one discipline, decision or tool that has helped you get more of the right things done as an entrepreneur? Please share your comments in the box below.