10 Time Management Strategies for Busy Entrepreneurs

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Entrepreneurship is both a state of mind that entails many personal and professional traits and a way of life that requires a lot of balance and time management. 

Being able to launch, execute, grow, and scale a business is an intellectual exercise involving a lot of research, networking, planning, business strategy, marketing, sales, and a number of related activities. As a result, entrepreneurs have to jump between tasks, hop on calls, attend events, and be extra careful with each and every decision for their business endeavors. 

This constant juggling act can significantly benefit from the insights provided in “Entrepreneur.com)

Time management strategies for entrepreneurs and professionals go beyond simply getting things done. They empower individuals to:

  • Maximise productivity and efficiency: You can achieve more in less time by streamlining workflows and minimising distractions.
  • Prioritise effectively: Learn to differentiate between urgent and important tasks, ensuring you focus on what truly matters for your goals.
  • Maintain a healthy work-life balance: Effective time management allows you to dedicate time to both professional pursuits and personal well-being, preventing burnout and fostering overall success.
  • Reduce stress and anxiety: Knowing you’re in control of your time and workload can significantly alleviate stress and promote a sense of calm and accomplishment.

But, here’s the thing: Only 18% of people have a proper time management system. The rest of the 82% of people simply list down tasks or just lack time management. 

In fact, working overtime is common among many small business owners. About 81% of entrepreneurs work overtime, which means they work during the night and during the day.

Although they work flexible hours, around 89% of small business owners also say they work on weekends to keep up with their busy schedules.

Naturally, entrepreneurship can lead to burnout for many. Burning out is a critical state of complete mental and physical exhaustion due to stress, working 80-hour work weeks (or more), and seeing little to no progress on your activities. 

While entrepreneurs are endangered by burning out more often, an interesting study of 200 American workers—full-time and part-time employees, along with self-employed freelancers and business owners—revealed a surprising response by 50% of the self-employed workers indicating zero burnout.

Experienced freelancers, entrepreneurs, and successful business owners have mastered a number of time management techniques and strategies that keep their sanity in check and prevent them from causing discrepancies during meetings and the planning process.

Break Down Your Activities Into Simple Problems

Utilizing your consciousness requires more energy and can be avoided by simplifying your problems. Excellence in time management revolves around establishing a process and breaking it down into small, atomic operations that are easy to grasp and don’t require intensive resource consumption.

Veritasium explains that in a simple video, explaining how the brain works, why people are lazy, and what does unconscious mind helps us with on a day-to-day:

Successful entrepreneurs take a complex task and decompose it into pieces, thus making the remaining process easier to comprehend and follow. The simple operations are simple, and executing them doesn’t require dozens of follow-up questions preventing you from checking tasks off your list.

By breaking down a huge assignment into smaller tasks that need to be ticked off during the day, you tend to feel like your tasks have become more achievable and manageable. The sense of accomplishment you get from ticking off one item from your to-dos can boost your confidence and productivity thereby leading to time well spent.

Create a Prioritization System

Once you have broken down activities into simpler tasks, the next challenge would be to prioritize the right

Stephen Covey once said:

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.”

Priorities vary for businesses and are shaped around deadlines, the importance of execution, possible ROI, and reach. But we often tend to miss the essentials that bring value in the long run or focus on a single process for weeks by leaving everything else in the backlog.

One of the most popular illuminating guides to creating a prioritization system is outlined in the Priority Matrix of Dwight D. Eisenhower who asserted that many things could seem urgent but are really unimportant and that most important things are not urgent. Learning how to distinguish what is urgent from what is important can help a lot in managing your time

If you ever felt like you have been overworking but are not really making actual results, it could be because you were lured into many “urgent” matters that needed your attention. By trying to put out as many fires as you can all day, you tend to forget to work on what truly has value and impact. 

Start With A Simple Task

There is no other way to say it than to say it simply—stop procrastinating.

What defines a true leader is his ability to overcome struggles with procrastination.

The number one tip has something to do about digging into your motivation.

What happens when you just lack motivation for the day?

Failing to complete a broad and complex task over the course of the day will demotivate you, and prevent you from seeing progress with your weekly planning.

An excellent way to break the ice is starting with a trivial and quick task which would give you a head start. This will put your productivity mode and hustle in motion, and let you focus on more complex assignments later on.

Use Time Management Frameworks

Most time management frameworks are structured around creativity, focus, and efficient planning. David Allen, the founder of Getting Things Done (GTD), believes that individuals should learn to control and process their required day-to-day tasks first in order to focus on big-picture goals.

Learning to prioritize both long-term activities that gain momentum later in time, and short-term goals necessary for incremental results is critical and requires careful planning by entrepreneurs.

The following are some of the most popular time management frameworks:

Among these frameworks, a lot of entrepreneurs find the Pomodoro Technique stands out as the crowd favorite. Here is how the Pomodoro Technique works:

  • Get a timer with a snooze feature
  • Prepare your to-do list
  • Set the timer for 25 minutes
    • As soon as the time starts, focus on the task at hand without entertaining other activities.
  • Take a five-minute break when the time is up. 

You can only take 20-30 minutes break on the fourth round.

Focus With Time Blocking

Should you wish to focus mainly on some major tasks during the day, you can resort to time blocking as a time management strategy.

Time blocking works by way of dedicating big blocks of your time to specific tasks so others cannot easily steal your time. Although this can be really tricky at first, you will be able surprised how you can focus on high-level priorities.

There are several tools that can help you block your time. Among these tools are Clockwise, TimeCamp, Clockify, ClickUp, and your beloved Google Calendar.

Sometimes, focusing can be a chore when the interruptions you have to manage are caused by your own people. Whether they be through instant messaging or random consultations, make sure that your employees know that you intend to block certain chunks of your time so they can help do it for you.

Create a Timeline for Completing Your Tasks

Oftentimes, what differentiates chaos from order in both time and project management is a proper timeline. 

A timeline is simply a graphic representation of the passage of time. This is very important when managing your time in relation to the grand scheme of things. A good timeline helps make planning easier. Also, the use of a timeline helps you keep track of when things happen and what these things are. Eventually, you will have to present your progress to other people and when this happens, it is always good to have a timeline as a tool for presenting. 

Note that your choice of a type of timeline depends on the purpose you have for it. Some widely known timelines are:

  • Biographical timeline
  • Chronological timeline
  • Gantt chart
  • Historical timeline
  • Horizontal timeline
  • Interactive timeline
  • Event timeline
  • Project timeline
  • Roadmap timeline
  • Vertical timeline

When creating a timeline for certain tasks, you must take into consideration the dependencies, resources, and important milestones that you want to record.

Indicating the dependencies wil give you a better insight into what  affected or who affected your schedule especially if it involves multiple preceding tasks and multiple succeeding tasks. 

Plan a Long-Term Roadmap

One of the repetitive tasks that may drag you from your day-to-day activities is planning. While it’s okay to have individual tasks emerging from your interactions during the business week, creating a long-term plan would let you focus better, and decide whether your new tasks are in line with your goals.

Here are the steps you can take for long-term planning:

  • Revise your business plan and set some KPIs. 
  • Assign some milestones
  • Add the milestones to your calendar with goals every month or quarter, for a period of 1-3 years. 
  • List down your repetitive activities (content production, social media engagements, partner meetings) in each slot, and take it from there.

By defining the well-known duties that are crucial for your success further down the road, you can determine the expected outcome and measure it once or twice a month. You will also get a clearer picture of your weekly availability and stop overusing your buffers by putting too much on your plate.

Do A Reality Check

Dealing with several priorities simultaneously may be overwhelming, and block your train of thought for weeks, preparing your brain for burnout. The core of the problem is often related to a detachment from reality, and a diversion from the business goals.

When you struggle with your typical workflow, take a step back and revise your roadmap again. See what you’ve started with, where you are at that point in time, and how is your progress going. If everything seems to be on track, just proceed with a focus on results and discard distractions from your list. Otherwise, realign your schedule and free up more time which is more likely to hit your indicators by the end of the quarter.

Working with a digital consultant helps tremendously in this regard. A reliable consultant can help provide an outside perspective and examine your processes for you. 

Take Regular Breaks for Brainstorming

Successful entrepreneurs work mainly “on” the business and less “in” the business. When you are knee-deep in your overlapping tasks, you often lose perspective on the purpose of these.

Take regular breaks between activities and align your progress with your targets. Go out and take a walk, get some fresh air, and relax for a moment. 

It is important that you finish your tasks ahead of time so you will have more time to spare for reviewing or polishing. This would also bring some creative ideas which you can implement in your work. Otherwise, you will end up losing your time over several iterations that would have been unnecessary if you just had enough time to review.

Always Improve Your Strategy

No matter how efficient your strategy is, there’s always room for improvement. For an entrepreneur, learning never ends—be it with regard to your professional capacity, or regarding business and personal development, time management, and living a better life. 

Always keep an eye on tasks that take you too long, or require your attention far too often, and try to optimize or simplify them.

One thought on ““10 Time Management Strategies for Busy Entrepreneurs”

  1. LBTC says: February 20, 2023 at 1:11 pm

    Nice knowledge gaining article. This post is really the best on this valuable topic. I like your explanation of topic and ability to do work. I really found your post very interesting

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