It’s occurred to me lately that I don’t feel like there’s enough time to do everything I want to do in my business. Between working with clients, writing books and articles, teaching/training other professionals, marketing, and just living a good life, there seems to be less and less time in each and every day.
As I was thinking about what to write about for this article it occurred to me that, perhaps, writing about time management for entrepreneurs would be a good topic so here we are. If you, like me, are feeling a bit crunched by everything you want to do, here are some tips and strategies I’ve used to help things move along:
1) Do a life assessment and get clear on your top priorities for each day/week/month. I tend to do it daily, and then check it again weekly to make sure I’m on track – you might find some other combination works better for you. In this process, you get clear on where you want to focus your energy and it can help you make decisions more quickly if an event arises that is not a life priority. You can more easily decide how or whether to focus on it right now.
2) Use the 80/20 rule to your advantage. By now, you’ve probably heard something about this principle which states “80% of your success comes from 20% of your efforts” so you, as a small business owner, want to figure out where YOUR most profitable 20% is and spend the majority of your time in those activities. For me, my most profitable activities are working with clients, creating multiple income streams and creating time each day to be inspired. What are yours?
3) Ask for help. If you are a person who feels that you need to do everything yourself, this tip might make you uncomfortable. I’d encourage you to try this anyway. I’ve found that, by hiring assistance, I’m actually able to produce much more in much less time. It’s wonderful to feel like my projects are moving ahead without my having to follow up on each and every detail.
4) Automate. As much as possible use technology to your advantage. This might mean getting email access on your cell phone (if you are in the car a lot) or taking the steps to get your website up and running with important information or it might mean learning how to use autoresponders or packaging your knowledge in such a way that people can purchase it at any time. Whatever it is for you, automation is a great way to multiplying your efforts. The biggest complaint I hear about this is the time involved to set it up. However, the great thing about automation is that you set it up once and it runs from there.
5) Simplify. I’m finding that, as I get busier, it’s more crucial for me to simplify my efforts. The more I do this the easier my business is to run. For example, I’ve just recently moved almost entirely to accepting payments by credit card which diminishes the need for frequent bank trips to deposit checks. I have also put clients on recurring billing so this saves time and effort of invoicing each month. Simplification is a great tool for finding more time.
6) Consolidate. You might know, by now, that I run several websites and several newsletters. It’s becoming more evident to me that consolidating some of my efforts would help my business run more smoothly. Where are places in your business that you could consolidate your efforts and get more return on your investment?
7) Leverage. This concept refers to obtaining multiple uses out of materials you’ve already created. It takes a certain amount of skill to do this well, but once you get in the habit, you can exponentially multiply your returns from a one-time investment of your effort. In creating new materials for your business, continually ask yourself, “how can I use this again?”
8) Vision. By staying connected to the big picture/big vision for your business, you will be more often inspired and find yourself more in “flow”. During “flow”, you can accomplish great things in less time so spending time each day being inspired by your vision will help you save time.
9) Chunking. This strategy refers to completing similar types of work all at the same time. You might implement this in your business by making a running list of calls to return and then setting aside a block of time dedicated to accomplishing this (or, even better, having one of your assistants accomplish this). It’s more effective and a better use of energy, where possible, to accomplish similar tasks all together. Same goes for writing, scheduling clients, etc.
10) Analysis. Keep track of what’s working really well in your business – what are you feeling proud of? What are customers complimenting you for? What should you be doing more of? Also keep track of where you feel things could be done better? What are customers complaining about? Analyzing your business and its progression over time will often point out places where you can simplify, consolidate, or change in order to save more time and work more easily.
I hope, after reading this, you’ve come up with some inspired actions that you can take, today, to find more time and create more joy in your business.
Make more money and have more fun!