Whether you’ve just launched your first business or you’re neck-deep in three or four, you know how easily the hours can slip away when you’re your own boss. I’ve spoken with a lot of entrepreneurs over the years (and am one myself, of course!), and in that time I’ve found that time management is one of the most important skills for any business owner.
Here are some strategies for ensuring that you get everything done—and still have time left over for yourself and your family.
- Have a system for staying organized. Chaos and messiness are major time drains. To ensure that you don’t waste your precious minutes hunting down important documents or searching for a file with critical information, implement a system for dealing with new material as soon as it comes in, whether it’s paper or digital. If you’re not very organized right now, this will require a significant time investment up front, but it will pay off in the long run.
- Set and communicate your goals. It’s easy to waste time deciding what tasks most deserve your attention at any given moment. To avoid such delays, set weekly, monthly, and yearly goals for the various projects you have. Communicate these goals regularly to your team to ensure that everyone’s on the same page, working toward the same outcomes.
- Invest time in training. A well-trained team is one of the biggest time-savers available. When your team is proactive, responsible, and reliable, you can focus on the big-picture things instead of the messy details. Put in the time and energy to prepare each new person you hire at the beginning, and you’ll find yourself with more time on your hands down the road.
- Schedule time for yourself. You wouldn’t dare miss a meeting with a client, and you shouldn’t shortchange yourself on downtime, either. Rest and recovery are essential to your long-term health and productivity. Plus, many of the best creative ideas come when the mind is relaxed and engaged with something that it doesn’t consider “work.”
The first step to managing your time is to decide that you’re in control of it. Once you’ve shifted to that mindset, setting boundaries for your work and life tasks should get increasingly easy with your time management.