So you are thinking of buying a business and becoming a full time entrepreneur? Perhaps, you are struggling to survive your first year as one. Being a business owner is not a 9 to 5 job. Your entire lifestyle changes and you have to learn to adapt to constant demands on your time. For an entrepreneur, time is their greatest asset. Unfortunately, most of them find it slipping out of their hands leading to sleepless nights, poor performance and inadequate results.
Here are five steps that will help you balance priorities and manage your precious time in far superior way than simply trudging through each day and hoping for the best.
1. Record your week
To start off, get real! Those fantasies you have of breezing through each item on your checklist and having plenty of free time to enjoy yourself is damaging your business. To get a clear idea of what really happens on a normal working day, record it. Note down each and every task you accomplish and use a stopwatch to observe how long it takes you to complete it. This offers you a realistic picture of what you actually do or fail to do on a work day. In addition, you can think about why something is taking so long and optimize it for higher efficiency.
2. Screen activities
Not everything you do is necessary. Once you look at your daily routine critically, you will realize you have been wasting time. For instance, don’t spend time doing research and making long reports yourself. Hire qualified people to do that for you. As the owner, you should be out there meeting investors, clients, vendors, etc. Take off the burden of such work by delegating duties to others. Focus on the things only you, as the owner, can do best. Your company should operate like a well oiled machine while you are off making contacts but do supervise regularly.
3. Plan for results
Allot a suitable amount of time every day to plan for the tasks you wish to cross off your list that day. If you simply walk into a meeting without a clear agenda or discussion highlights, you will probably fail to meet its objectives and waste time. Take a few minutes to prepare yourself mentally and physically before each errand so you have a higher probability of succeeding.
4. Organize schedule
Once you know what you want out of your day, you can create a detailed schedule that accounts for every minute of your day. This way time will not fly by causing panic when deadlines are not met. Remember to plan for unforeseen circumstances by arranging items of your checklist by priority. So, you will know if you are forced to choose between two, which one is more urgent.
5. Stick to schedule
Aside from emergencies, you should not deviate from your set schedule. This not only disrupts your time management but that of others too. Business contacts will not appreciate you showing up late for meetings or delivering results after agreed deadlines. Avoid all kinds of distractions and learn to politely decline people when you are in a rush to complete a task. Don’t let others waste your time either.
Remember to set aside some free time in your schedule so you can relax and not feel overwhelmed your hectic daily routine. This will boost your productivity as your work and playtime will be balanced.