Updated: Sep 20
Conduct a time audit
Make time to do nothing
Manage energy levels
Follow the two-minute rule
Eat the frog
Delegate and outsource when possible
Set and honor boundaries
Hookle was born from the need of entrepreneurs to save time and streamline their social media marketing processes. For both those who are new to the game of entrepreneurship and those who are long-time business owners, it’s not uncommon to struggle with time management. Luckily, there are strategies one can use to be more productive and use their time well.
Read on for some effective time management and productivity tips entrepreneurs can use to stay on task and get more done.
Common time management challenges
The specific time management challenges one faces will vary from day to day and from entrepreneur to entrepreneur. There are some issues that are more common than others, though. Do any of the following sound familiar?
Feeling Overwhelmed. No matter what kind of business they run, entrepreneurs wear lots of different hats. Because of this, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to begin when it comes to tackling one’s to-do list. This, in turn, can lead to them spinning their wheels and not doing anything at all.
Procrastination. Lots of entrepreneurs also fall into a bad habit of procrastinating. They might procrastinate because they don’t know where to start or because they simply don’t want to deal with a particularly difficult task, so they put it off until they absolutely have to deal with it.
Wasting Time on Low-Level Tasks. Some entrepreneurs spend so much of their day working on low-level tasks like answering emails that they find themselves feeling exhausted when the time comes to actually address big-picture matters. This, in turn, can lead to procrastination, overwhelm, and difficulty to actually take steps to move the business forward.
Distraction. Entrepreneurs are just as vulnerable to distractions as those working traditional jobs. From texts and tweets to requests from friends and family members to get together in the middle of the day, giving in to distractions can easily put them behind schedule.
Tips for better time management
Whether an entrepreneur struggles with the specific challenges outlined above or some variation of them, there are plenty of tools they can use to get on track and feel more productive. Here are some of the most effective options to consider:
1. Conduct a Time Audit
To become better at managing their time, entrepreneurs first need to get clear on how they’re spending their time. It’s easy for people to assume they’re being productive, but their behavior might not match up with their beliefs.
This is where a time audit can come in handy. A time audit involves writing down every single thing that a person does during the day, as well as making note of how long it takes them. A time audit helps entrepreneurs to hold themselves accountable. It gives them a more holistic view of what they’re doing during the day and which activities are sucking up the most of their time.
A time audit involves writing down every single thing that a person does during the day, as well as making note of how long it takes them.
2. Schedule Everything
Some people initially dive into the world of entrepreneurship because they like the idea of not being beholden to a schedule. This might work for some people. The reality, though, is that most folks are more productive when they have some kind of schedule to follow.
For those who feel they’re not using their time in an effective manner, writing out and sticking to a schedule can be very useful. It allows them to know what they should be doing and how long they have to do it.
There’s a lot of room for flexibility when it comes to the type of schedule one uses. They could try an hour-by-hour (or even half-hour-by-half-hour) schedule, or a time-blocking system, for example.
3. Make Time to Do Nothing
When creating their schedule, it’s important for entrepreneurs to make sure they’re including some time each day to relax and do nothing. For business owners, there’s always more work to be done, and it can be hard to switch off and focus on other things at the end of the day. That’s why blocking off time to visit with the family, exercise, or relax and watch Netflix is so important.
This gives entrepreneurs time to recharge and rest. That way, when they go back to work, they can feel refreshed and be more productive.
4. Manage Energy Levels
Everyone has certain times of the day when they feel energized and excited to tackle difficult tasks. They also have times of the day when they’re tired and don’t want to do much of anything. Some entrepreneurs find themselves trying to white-knuckle their way through these periods to get more done. In reality, though, they’d be better off scheduling their day to manage their energy levels and take advantage of the natural ebbs and flows they experience.
Entrepreneurs should be honest with themselves about when they are the most productive, even if that’s not the time when experts say they should feel the most productive. If they have their best ideas or are the most energized in the evening, they should design their schedule to take advantage of those times instead of trying to turn themselves into a morning person.
5. Follow the Two-Minute Rule
The two-minute rule can be very effective for a lot of entrepreneurs. It’s simple: If something can be completed in two minutes or less (a quick email, a response to a text, filing a document, etc.), it should be done right away.
Many entrepreneurs find themselves putting off these little tasks because they can be done anytime. Why not do them as soon as possible, though, so one’s brain can be cleared to focus on other, more important matters?
If something can be completed in two minutes or less, it should be done right away.
6. Eat the Frog
As was mentioned earlier, procrastination is a common time management challenge for entrepreneurs. They often push tasks until later in the day because they’re difficult or boring and they don’t want to deal with them.
For entrepreneurs who struggle with this issue, “eating the frog” can be a good alternative. This time management principle involves doing one’s ugliest, most difficult task first. Doing this can give a strong sense of accomplishment and helps gain the momentum needed to tackle the rest of the to-do list. After all, if you’ve already eaten the frog, everything else seems easy by comparison.