Things in life often seem to slither out of our control.
Time is the most slippery of all.
A Gallup/Wells Fargo poll found that small business owners spend about 6 days a week working.
Of these, about 20% work 7 days a week non-stop.
If you spent all your hours working, you would miss out on the things you love, including time with family and friends.
As an entrepreneur, I slip into long periods of working without breaks and am often left feeling overwhelmed. I suppose this is why many people consider entrepreneurship stressful.
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself how billionaires make time for interviews, work, meetings, and still have enough time to do the things they love?
Inc reports that Bill Gates reads about 50 books a year! That’s a lot of books, for a man with so much going on. And he still makes the time to run a booming business empire and enjoy his family.
Bill Gates and billionaires like him have 24 hours in each day – the same as you and I. How then do people with such busy schedules make time to do the things they love?
The simple answer is time management.
I’m not trying to insinuate that billionaires and successful people don’t ever feel tired or overwhelmed. All I’m saying is, we all have the same number of hours, yet we often feel like there’s not enough time.
Understanding time management can lessen our anxieties and silence our complaints of insufficient time.
What is time management?
Time management is allotting time to specific tasks according to their level of importance. The more important a task, the more time you should spend doing it.
We don’t have to be busy all the time doing things of little or no value to us. On average, most people spend 21.8 hours a day doing nothing. If we manage these wasted hours, they can go a long way to improving our lives, relationships, leisure, and productivity.
10 Time Management Tips
1. Avoid multitasking
Almost nobody on earth multitasks well. We do not really multitask in its truest sense. Rather, we shift between tasks.
Multitasking is an attempt to perform two or more tasks at once, switching from one task to another in succession. When you switch between tasks, you lose time and gain low attention, low performance, and high frustration.
According to the American Psychological Association, multitasking reduces our productivity by about 40%. That is a lot if you ask me.
To increase your productivity, focus on one task at a time. When you complete a task, you’ll move on to the next one with a glowing feeling of accomplishment in tow.
2. Start your day Early
Successful people are early risers.
When you wake up early, you can do the most urgent and important things with minimal distraction.
While everyone else is asleep or lying in, you can enjoy the serenity. This is the time to brainstorm and plan the rest of your day.
3. Go to Bed Early
If you want to rise early, while enjoying the recommended hours of sleep, you’ll need to cultivate the habit of going to bed early.
Apart from its health benefits, it is a fantastic way for entrepreneurs to train themselves to follow through on commitments.
When you commit to going to bed early, you will also nurture discipline – discipline to turn off your gadgets and shut down for the day.
Going to bed early and rising early fosters strong mental health boosts metabolism and provides a better start to your day.
4. Plan your Day
Time management involves lots of planning and scheduling. When you neglect this, you may feel overwhelmed and out of time.
An unplanned day leaves room for interruptions. Planning helps you designate your time and activities in order of priority.
You can use apps and software on your smartphone or computer to plan your day. You can also accomplish it manually through the use of journals and calendars.
The most important thing is that you plan your day early and stick to the plan.
5. Avoid Distractions
We all face distractions.
Many of them are counterproductive to our lives and businesses.
When I’m working on a project, I sometimes find myself drifting into my social media pages – and remaining there for a long time. At the end of the day, I race to make up for the lost time and, as a consequence, face overwhelming pressure to make the project deadline.
However, whenever I commit to a project and avoid all distractions, I notice an increase in productivity. Consequently, I end up with more than enough time to browse my social media feeds after work.
As an entrepreneur, the best way to manage your time is to remove distractions. Keep your phone out of sight and turn off notifications. You’ll soon notice a significant increase in your productivity and find that you have time for the things you love.
6. Work in Time Blocks
Time blocking is a technique that successful entrepreneurs use for reducing distraction. It is most effective when you include it in your planner.
When you have a project to complete, schedule the timeframe in which you intend to work on it. Then put away potent distractions like mobile phones and tablets, and commit to the time you’ve set for yourself.
Break the project into small tasks. This way you can focus on one task first, and then another. This simplifies the project.
Applying this technique will cultivate the discipline and mental capacity to focus and commit to a task until it is finished.
Delegating provides the opportunity to handle the more important things on your schedule. When you have more work than you can realistically complete in the allotted time, it is often best to delegate the less important tasks to others.
If you find the task too difficult, delegate it to someone more capable so that you do not spend too much time worrying or trying to figure a way around it.
8. Ask for Help When You’re Stuck
If this is difficult for you to do, then you might need to work on your ego. Some entrepreneurs would rather toil away at a task than ask for help. If you don’t know something, ask. There’s a great quote by Confucius that goes:
“The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, and the man who doesn’t, a fool for life”.
It would be unwise to waste time second-guessing and masking mistakes that would probably cost you a lot. If you’re stuck on a project or anything at all, save time by asking for help. You might even learn something new and be better for it.
9. Take Breaks
Some tasks can feel like climbing an impossible mountain.
Taking short breaks is a great way to refresh, step back and look at the problem from a different vantage point. Whenever you’re working on a project and you feel a little tired or overwhelmed, simply take a break.
When you take breaks, your mind relaxes and your stress lessens significantly. When your stress levels are low and your mind is sound, you can work faster and better.
10. Avoid Procrastination
Everyone procrastinates in some way. Procrastination is an important reason that failure, delay, and frustration occur.
The best way to manage your time is to avoid procrastinating. When you have important work to do, do it at once.
When you do this, you will notice that you have more time to relax and take the breaks you need to rejuvenate and increase your productivity.
Time management is something everyone should practice and improve on base on the benefits that goes with doing so. Our lives shouldn’t be complicated any further than it is, we have to learn how to live more purposeful while having the luxury of enjoying the most precious things in life.