Time is the most valuable commodity to an entrepreneur. Most of us would do anything to have another hour in the day. But until someone creates an app to manipulate time, we are forced to manage our time extremely efficiently. Here are 13 tips to help make your days more productive.
1. Schedule “You” time. Set aside a block of time to get your personal stuff out of the way. Things such as paying bills and attending to personal emails can take away from your work.
2. Disconnect when you need 100 percent focus. Preparing for an important meeting or a pitch? Turn off your mobile phone, close your email and route your office calls to voicemail. You will be more productive without the distractions.
3. Maintain a “to-do” list. Keep an accurate list and cross tasks off as you complete them. Create your list at the end of each day for the next day — this allows you to attack the tasks as soon as your start your day.
4. Don’t be scared of technology. Embrace technology. I’ve seen people at their desk waiting on hold, holding the phone to their ear. Throw a Bluetooth headset into the situation and you can answer emails or attack your to-do list while you wait.
5. Say no. You may hate to disappoint people, but for your own productivity, learn how to say “no” to people. It isn’t always the greatest feeling, but it is impossible to appease everyone. If you said “yes” to everyone and every request you would have no time to do what you need to accomplish.
6. Be ultra responsive. We all have iPhones and smartphones, so use them. If you are out of the office and receive an email that you can easily address on the spot, do so! The other day I received this email:
“I’ll email you when I get back to the office.
Sent from my iPhone”
The response didn’t require this person to be in the office. It was a simple “yes” or “no” response that would have taken less time to type out than the response they sent. If you can reply while out of the office it eliminates wasted time when you get back.
7. Eliminate negative energy. Nothing can drain your energy or ruin your day faster than individuals with negative energy. Dating someone who is negative about everything? Have a friend that dumps his or her sob story on you daily? Cut ties. Don’t let negative individuals take time out of your day.
8. Don’t put off the non-glamorous tasks. When your “to-do” list has some unattractive tasks, they will consume your thoughts until they are completed. Knock them out first so you can have a clear head to plow through the rest of your tasks.
9. Address problems or issues immediately. In that same vein, waiting to fix a problem can be the difference between a 15-minute quick solution and a complete mess that takes you days to clean up.
10. Get physical. Get 30-minutes of physical activity in every morning before you start your day. You will have more energy throughout the day and you won’t feel sluggish. Feeling tired or lazy sucks up valuable time. When I hit the gym each morning it gives me the energy to focus on my brand the entire day.
11. Delegate. If you have a team or staff at your disposal, utilize them. Many entrepreneurs are so stubborn and think they can do it all. Delegating appropriate tasks will free up your time.
12. Write everything down. Use the “notes” app on your smartphone or use a traditional notepad and pen — and make sure it is always next to you. Have you ever sat down and tried to remember something from earlier as the clock ticks away? Precious time wasted!
13. Keep a schedule. If you have tasks that require your attention each week, stick to a schedule. Things such as accounting, payroll and reporting can typically be done at the same time each week. Rather than scrambling to find time to get it done, establish a designated time and stick to it.