One of the most precious things when running a small business is time. This is because there are never more than 24 hours in a day. While some entrepreneurs respond to this fact of life with focus and purpose, others freak out.
As a young entrepreneur ready to take on the world, perhaps the most precious resource at your disposal is time. According to experts, money, ideas, talent, and technical support can be generated or acquired. But no matter how smart you are, how hard you work, or how determined you are to succeed, a day goes by in 24 hours – and once it is gone, it is gone.
Many young entrepreneurs are working marathon shifts to achieve their goals and this is often done by sacrificing sleep, social life, and personal fulfilment.
If you are out of breath from continually racing to keep up the pace, consider the following executive tips for taming the unrelenting march of time. Know your goals. According to experts, there is need for operators of small scale businesses to always engage in activities that support their business goals, both short- and long-term.
Everything else is a potential time-waster. Your daily plan should revolve around working on tasks and activities that directly relate to generating income and growing your business. Prioritise wisely: Stephen Covey, co-author of First Things First, offers an organisational tool for your to-do list based on how important and urgent the tasks are.
He says looking at what goes into making up your day, where do your activities fit into these categories? For instance, he says if an activity is important and urgent, then such tasks must be done immediately without wasting further time on them. For tasks that are important but not urgent, he says based on closer examination, decisions should be taken when such activity would be done.
For the urgent but not important tasks, he describes them as “noise of no lasting value.” This, be notes should be delegated if possible. For activity that presents itself as not urgent and not important, he advises that low priority should be accorded this since it can be done at a later time.
He says, “Write down your three or four ‘important and urgent’ tasks that must be addressed today. As you complete each one, check it off your list. This will provide you with a sense of accomplishment and can motivate you to tackle less essential items.”
Always have a plan: They say life does not come with directions, but by creating a master plan for your days, weeks, and months you can draw up your own set that will do just fine.
While many recoil at the thought of making the effort to schedule all of their responsibilities, engagements, and events, modern technology and mobile connectivity make it easy to adapt to a digital calendar to help utilise time to maximum efficiency.
Software applications such as Google Calendar will not only make it painless to maintain a detailed plan to guide your days, but also possible to do everything from coordinate schedules with associates, illuminate ways to be more efficient, and even point out when there’s simply no more time to spare.
Live by the list: Maintaining a daily to-do list is a productivity tip that has long been a staple of countless successful entrepreneurs.
The Dean, School of Productivity and Business Innovation Management, Mr Remi Dairo, says by jotting down the things that need to be done and arranging them by priority from top to bottom, you can make sure you are always on top of the essentials, and avoid being sidetracked by less relevant tasks.
He says, “Refresh and consult the list at the start of each day to form a clear plan of action for the ensuing hours, crossing off items as you go before taking a moment at quitting time to assess what you have accomplished.
“You will not only make more efficient use of your available schedule, but will begin to pay scrutiny in judging which tasks are worthy of your time.”
He says while having a broad perspective of what is going on around, an entrepreneur is a positive trait in business, there are times when productivity can be maximised by shutting out the world and bringing special focus to the work at hand.
“You have to analyse the way you spend each day, identifying the periods during which you are typically most productive, and then structure your schedule to allow for total focus during your hours of peak proficiency.
“Make sure you are engaging in activities that support your business goals, both short- and long-term. Everything else is a potential time-waster.
“Your daily plan should revolve around working on tasks and activities that directly relate to generating income and growing your business.”
While hard work when you are young and hungry paves a smoother path to travel through life, experts say that effective time management provides young entrepreneurs with the opportunity to have their cake and eat it too.
By managing a plan based on priorities, delegating responsibilities, and protecting against distractions in order to become more efficient, you can reduce stress and avoid burnout while living a happier and more productive life.