How to manage your time effectively

July 13, 2009

For a busy entrepreneur, time management is imperative. It seems as though every second of the day is important, and if time is continually being wasted, you start to feel unproductive.

Here are some tips to help you get through that day and start to accomplish more:

Take an inventory of your daily routine Find out what you really do everyday, not what you think you do or what you “need” to do so you can see where time is being wasted. You can do this by taking a typical business day and writing down everything that you do and how long you took to do it. You might be surprised when you do this. The inventory might show that you spend too much time on the phone with personal calls or your errands really take up half of your working day. This will help you to see what needs to be cut out or handed off to someone else.

Create a daily, weekly and monthly schedule When I started using a calendar, I thought I was being productive by planning out my month of deadlines, but when due dates came up, I was still thrown off and unprepared. That’s when I realized that it was because my daily schedule was not set up. I would sit at the computer and wonder what I should work on first. A daily and weekly schedule will help you see what needs to be accomplished for the day and allow you to start off more prepared to tackle specific tasks.

Use an easily updated calendar Google calendar, your e-mail account, etc., can keep an easy-to-read update of your schedule right at your fingertips. Having alerts when something is due or an hour before your meetings can help you stay organized and timely.

Know when to delegate or outsource You might not have to answer the phone every time it rings. You might not have to go out on consultations or have to make deliveries. You might not even have to send out those reminder e-mails or mail those letters. These are all things that an assistant or an intern can do. Find out which daily tasks can be delegated or outsourced to someone else and let them take care of it. You’ll be more productive because you’re working on what really needs your attention, and the intern will gain real world experience working in your industry.

Set time limits for tasks that are able to have them. You’re an entrepreneur and can do what you want. I mean, that’s the whole point of being an entrepreneur, right? But a lot of the perks can get out of hand and throw you off schedule. If your mom calls in the middle of the day, you can take it, but don’t make it a two hour-long conversation if it will throw your day off. You’re entitled to a powernap if you’re tired during the day, but make it a quick 30 minutes to an hour instead of two or three hours so that you wake up feeling refreshed, not ready for bed. Personal calls, blogging, checking websites, lunches/breaks, etc., also fall into the category of things that can/should have a time cap. What do you think? What do you do to manage your time?

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