This article is Part 2 in the series Time Management Tips for Busy Entrepreneurs. Part 1 can be found here.
Far too many people are tying to tackle too many things at once and as a result, they make very little progress (and end up burning themselves out in the process). Consider what your top impact activities are and build your day around them. Don't let other distractions and enticing opportunities dictate your day.
You also likely need a solid priority management system to help manage your priorities. We like to call this your "Master Plan". This is where you list your immediate priorities and all the associated tasks. You can also list your "someday, maybe" goals on your Master Plan, but you should be clear that you do not have time to focus on these until your current priorities are achieved.
Hire a virtual assistant and outsource everything you shouldn't be doing yourself.
As an entrepreneur, you're in over-performance mode a lot of time because you’re all in. Pace yourself. There will be time. You’ll need the time, energy, and attention though; and when you go full throttle right out of the gate, you’ll exhaust yourself. Do you know what good enough is for each of the projects on your list? This is good enough for the organization and good enough for you. Overthinking, over editing and over tweaking wastes valuable time and is not necessary. Do good work, and then stop.
Manage your cognitive load so that you don't have to "keep remembering things". To do that, I use SaneBox to reduce my email load, then I document everything I sense is important in Evernote. I run 35 separate Evernote Docs with notes on chats with people I regularly work with on anything important (questions, results and action items). All tasks then feeds in a centralized To Do list I can prioritize and assign to my calendar (currently Sunrise).
The most important thing a busy entrepreneur can do is to stop everything and think. As a busy entrepreneur myself, I know how easy it is to move rapidly from one thing to the next, without even a pause for breath. But that’s a mistake.
Take at least 5 minutes in the morning to think about your day.
Set your phone to beep every hour and, when it does, ask yourself:
And at the end of the day, Pause for 5 minutes and ask yourself:
So often, we think of time management as increasing our efficiency. But some of the most efficient people I know are ineffective. The key is to be effective - to work on what’s most important and to leave everything else out. That takes forethought, planning, and hour-by-hour execution.
Part 3 Coming Soon...