Dear StartupNation: We bill for time at our business, so it's both our biggest asset – and worst enemy when we waste it. As we grow, we need better systems for managing time and keeping track of who's working on what project and for how long. I've already wasted time looking at solutions that don't fit. Where can we get help?
You sure hit a sensitive nerve. At StartupNation, our goal is to help entrepreneurs work more effectively, and we surely understand that time is money. We have the privilege of interacting with many successful entrepreneurs online and on our radio show. Managing time efficiently, they say, is one of the most important things they do.
Here are five of their recommendations for wise time management
- Make a "To-Do" List: Perhaps the most basic of all "time management" systems ever invented, this time-tested maneuver puts it all on the line, in one place, and helps you focus on one item at a time.
- Delegate: Many entrepreneurs accustomed to "doing it all" find this exceedingly difficult. But even if you are a solo operator, you can pass off tasks to others (via outsourcing, for example) to free up time for yourself.
- Analyze how time is spent: Divide the day into small time blocks and record what you (or others) were doing in each block. Compare this to your goals and priorities. Do they align?
- Put a lid on procrastination: Entrepreneurs with a "can-do" attitude say that putting things off simply doesn't work. Even a simple "no" response to something on your to-do list can extinguish that item and let you move on.
- Set clear goals for yourself and your employees: It's not so much the clock that's important, but the compass that gets you where you want to go.
More and more entrepreneurs are turning to desktop software and web-based solutions for tracking and managing time.
Our Bottom Line
Time is money – we know it, you know it, so there's no excuse for wasting it. A few common sense approaches to better time management can make you more successful, and hopefully free up time for other pursuits.
Daniel Kehrer is a StartupNation coach and contributor.