by Shelby Newsome, Program Manager Sandhills Entrepreneurship Engagement Network (SEEN)
Most of us can probably agree that we can improve our time management skills and practices. As an entrepreneur, you might be your startup’s CEO, VP of marketing, and supply chain manager, making it hard to find the time to do all of the things and do them well.
Time management is analyzing the number of hours you spend working and prioritizing your tasks to maximize your efficiency while you work. Having bad time management practices can cause problems with your workflow, you may find yourself stressed out more often, and you may even miss out on opportunities to grow your business. So, you might be wondering how you can up your time management skills to make your time easier to manage and grow your business.
Time is currency and most of us wish we had more of it. Often our days are consumed with meetings, calls, distractions, appointments – you name it. A time audit will help you look at exactly how you’re spending your time and on what.
Executing a time audit can be simple. Start by logging how you’re spending your time. You can do this with pen and paper or by creating a document on your computer. As you start on a new activity or task, log the time you start and the time you finish an activity, but also log any distractions you have while working. Activities and tasks should include any meetings or phone calls. Distractions include time spent on social media, so don’t forget to log scroll time!
Do this for a few weeks to understand where your time is going. You might find that you’re spending way too much time in meetings or on tasks that aren’t necessarily helping your business grow. A time audit won’t give you more time but will help you take back control of your time.
To-do lists seem to be ever-growing, which can be overwhelming and leaving you to decipher which tasks are the most important. Before you start your day, look at your to-do list and find the three things that need to be completed by the end of the day. Now, prioritize those things by importance. Start with the first item and complete it before you move on to the next one.
You can implement this method at the end of your day, too. Whether it’s first thing in the morning or as you end your day, you are setting your intentions and prioritizing the things that need to be accomplished for you to make progress in your business.
Procrastination haunts many of us. Sometimes we put off doing something because we can’t find the focus, we feel like we can just do it later, or we simply just don’t start. The 2-minute Rule is something that can help you stop procrastinating or delaying tasks on your to-do list.
The trick is to give yourself two minutes to work on a task – that’s it. You’ll find that after two minutes of solid focus, you’ll be in the zone to make significant progress. The goal isn’t necessarily to finish a task but to instead make progress by taking action.
Improving your time management skills might just mean making a few tweaks to your everyday practices that can help you become more efficient and productive as you work. 80% of your outcomes are a result of 20% of your activities. Value how you’re spending your time and what you’re spending your time on. After all, no matter how much or how well you plan to spend your time, what really matters is how you’re actually spending your time.
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