10 Time Management Tips for Busy Entrepreneurs

10 Time Management Tips for Busy Entrepreneurs

Time management is a struggle for most of us. There are so many things competing for our attention, distractions everywhere we look, and often an unrealistic number of things on our to-do list. It’s impossible to do it all, but these time management tips will definitely help you make the most of your time.

#1: Track Your Time

The first step to implementing any time management strategy is to know how you’re currently spending your time. Track your time with LOTS of detail for the next week. If you’re like a lot of our clients, then you’ll be amazed at how you’re spending your time.

#2: Identify YOUR Time Wasters

As you track your time, be mindful of how you waste time. It could be through emails, social media, watching TV, talking on the phone, house cleaning, running errands, trying to get everything perfect, etc. Don’t confuse a time waster with intentional downtime. Intentional downtime is a scheduled part of your plan and is vital to your health and well-being. A time waster on the other hand is anything that distracts you from the most important thing you need to be doing.

#3: Create an Ideal Schedule

An ideal schedule is a lot like a financial budget. It’s your opportunity to tell your time where to go BEFORE you actually use it. An ideal schedule is what will allow you to invest your time in what is most important for you. Your ideal schedule should include personal things (like exercise, date nights, meal prep, me time, quiet time, lunch with friends, family time, etc.) and business things (like 1:1 appointments, parties, networking events, marketing, projects, prospecting, email/social media, meetings, etc.).

#4: Schedule Non-Negotiable Appointments with Yourself

It can be so easy to fill our time with other people’s needs or appointments, so make sure that your Ideal Schedule includes non-negotiable appointments with yourself. This appointment is as important as a meeting with someone you greatly admire. Often this appointment with yourself is something that will allow you to work on your business growth. If this appointment isn’t scheduled, then it will rarely happen and it’s one that is key to your growth.

#5: Anticipate Interruptions

Life happens. Whether it’s illness, death, your website crashing, an important document not saving, an urgent email, someone else missing their deadline, etc. Anticipate that there will be interruptions. Don’t jam-pack your schedule, so that there is no time for interruptions. Create intentional white space in your schedule, so that you’re not thrown off by the unexpected.

#6: Plan Your Week

Set aside a non-negotiable appointment with yourself at the end of each week to review the past week and prepare for the upcoming week.

Identify your goals for the upcoming week. What will make the week a success? Schedule non-negotiable appointments with yourself to work on the necessary projects. Use your iBloom Planner to brainstorm project tasks and then identify which day you’ll complete each task.

#7: Estimate

Estimate how long each project will take to complete. For instance, if you have a blog to write. Estimate how long you think it will take to complete the blog- writing, editing, creating the graphic, posting, and promoting it. Write your estimate for each project next to the to-do in your iBloom Planner. We often underestimate how long it will take to complete something, so this is a key time management step.

#8: Use a Timer

Get a cheap kitchen timer or use the timer on your phone to track how long it actually takes you to complete each project. I like to play a game with myself where I try to beat the clock by finishing the task before the timer buzzes, then I do something fun to reward myself.

#9: Evaluate

Once you track how long it actually takes you to complete each task, go back to your to-do list in your iBloom Planner and compare it to your estimated time. Be sure to write the actual time next to the estimate. This information will be helpful as you’re planning future weeks. You’ll have a better understanding of how long it actually takes to complete specific projects which will allow you to better estimate your time.

#10: Minimize Distractions

I used to pride myself on the fact that I was great at multi-tasking. However, the reality is, I’m not. Yes, I can do it, but it’s not my BEST work. My best work comes when I eliminate distractions {turn off email, silence my phone, close all unneeded computer windows, etc.} and get laser focused on the task at hand. I intentionally schedule a couple of 60-minute Blitz’s throughout my day where I eliminate distractions and laser focus on that particular project or task. It’s amazing what I’m able to accomplish in those uninterrupted blocks of time.

Although it’s not possible to do it all, these time management tips have helped me intentionally focus my time. Following these strategies is what allows me to mark off most of the things on my to-do list each week.

I’d love to learn from you! What time management tip would you give to a busy entrepreneur?

Kelly Thorne Gore

http://ibloom.co

Comments

  1. One of the best time management AHA moments I have experienced this year is when I turned my e-mail notifications off and scheduled two specific times in my schedule to answer, delete, schedule, or delegate e-mail tasks, requests, and those pesky things to do that come via e-mail. It is freeing. I also turn off our colleges IM just as I do when I am in class. Before setting these boundaries, I was spending most of my time putting out fires and my What’s Hot task list went untouched many days causing me to work late, or worse, work at home. Thank you for the wonderful post. ~Kelly

    • Hi Kelly! That’s such a GREAT tip! It’s definitely one that I need to be more diligent about. Why do we always feel like we’re going to miss something important? Thank you so much for sharing! You’ve encouraged me to do the same!

  2. Sandra Scott says:

    The best time management that works for me is setting a timer. When I set my timer and turn my phone face down so I won’t get distracted by the time remaining, I am laser focused. When I don’t set it, I can’t stay focused. It like it’s my accountability partner. I sometimes turn it into a game to “beat the clock” when folding laundry or organizing a space in my room/office.

    These are great tips Kelly and I am definitely going to share them!

  3. These are all great tips, Kelly. I have started tracking my time and I have found that when I track my time, I am more likely to stay focused, instead of trying to multi-task. Because, with the app I use to track my time, I have to designate a task that I was doing during that time. I can’t choose more than one task. 😉

  4. What helps me to stay focused on how I spend my time is identifying for a 12 weeks period what my “big stones” are. Based on these priorities, I will focus each week on particular actions that will bring me closer to my goals, and each day identify my 3 most important actions to take. I usually work on planning my day the night before, so that I am not yet distracted by the many emails and new priorities that will have come overnight. In order to plan my day, I am using time slots of 30 minutes (25+5, Pomodoro technique), and making sure to stretch, plan my meals and break in, and even some moments where I can work and have more fun (for example something more creative). I also based my actions based on where I am in my cycle, as particular phases emphasize particular talents. All of this helps me stay focused, without overwhelm, and feels so natural that it makes it easy to follow.

  5. I just started using the iBloom calendar 3 weeks ago. The virtual retreat was a lifechanger for me, giving me tools I desperately needed. I lLOVE it. I have gotten more done these last 3 weeks then in the previous 6 weeks, and that is despite “life happening,” with a relative being in ICU for 10 days.

    I have my definition of success and have set goals, priorities, and projects. I now know what I am working toward this year. My biggest challenge is #7 in the list. I have been underestimating the time it takes to do tasks! I will be working on that. So don’t get discouraged if you are new at this, as I am. I am learning and adjusting as I go and excited about what I am accomplishing. Thank you!!

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