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5 tips for better time management

Whether you’re trying to be more productive, grow your business, or even just get your idea off the ground, time management can help you get there. Simply put, it’s coordinating your day for maximum impact. But how to get there (avoiding burnout and fear + doubt along the way) is murkier.

I faced this problem – when I started PulseBlueprint, it was as a “side hustle”. I still had a full-time job. Time management was a problem.

Frankly, I’d always had something to anchor my day (classes or work) and then my business filled the free time around that, whatever I had. When I went full-time in my business, I got stuck in the daily run around. I think I probably spent more time in transit than I did actually working for the first week. 

If that sounds like you, read on. I brought together 5 entrepreneurs, all with very different businesses, to share how they manage their time and plan their day. Hopefully, you find some value and can apply their hard-learned lessons to make your business that much better.

Your calendar needs rules and structure around it

For better time management, make immovable appointments

One of the greatest perks of being a ‘solopreneur’ (someone who works alone or runs a very small team) is that you are entirely in charge of your own schedule. It’s also one of entrepreneurship’s greatest burdens. 

The reality is we can’t just be productivity machines that can go and go and go. The best way to maximize your productive working hours is to take breaks throughout your day.

In an ideal day, I will do focused work for 3 hours and then take a 30-60 minute break, ideally for exercise, a walk, making or eating food, chit chat, watching YouTube, or reading articles (though ideally you’re away from a screen).

I found this enables me to keep going much longer than if I’d tried to just power through. The burden is that your calendar can get out of control unless you put in place rules and structure around it that you stick to.

Jen Couldrey is the Executive Director of registered charity The Upside Foundation.

Use necessary tasks as your time anchors

use necessary tasks as time management anchors

Basically, I’ve got a few things that must get done each day, like: 

  • Content creation
  • Self-education
  • Client communications
  • Life things like getting to the gym and eating healthy

So I just create blocks out of them, carving time each day for the tasks I know I need to accomplish. For me, it limits the time wasting. If I allow too much to break that up, I’m not ever working.

Chad Hargrove is an online personal trainer and health coach.

Plan your day based on your most creative time(s)

Pay attention to your time and watch your calendar become a useful tool

One thing to think of is when is your most creative time? Literally to the hours.

Sometimes they aren’t the most convenient times but determining them and keeping them sacred and only for creation is one of the most profitable things you can begin to implement. 

Lisa Jeffs is a life, career, and entrepreneur coach with Lisa Jeffs Coaching.

Make time for business-building and personal development activities

The biggest lesson I learned as a ‘solopreneur’ is putting time aside for your own business & development. Too often we find ourselves in the weeds with clients and doing the work we promised for them.

But we also need to realize that working on your own business doing tasks such as:

  • Accounting
  • Building or updating your website
  • Reaching out to potential clients

Ensure each week you are finding at least an hour each day to focus on you and things you need to grow your funnel or establish your brand. It is these tasks that will ensure you have clients for years to come.

Katie Paterson is the Principal of KB Marketing Co.

Create your own ‘immovable’ appointments

My company, Bright + Early, works directly on-site with clients, so planning my days requires me being there for them and my own team, while also taking care of business administration tasks. I’m also a new mom, which makes time planning even more essential.

My strategy is rigid time blocking. I only book external meetings during certain days of the week, while the others are reserved for administration or project work. It’s all in my calendar and I consider it immovable.

I leverage technology as well: my favorites are Bear (for smart list and task management) and Revere, which is like a personal CRM that reminds me of important dates and details on people in my life. I may have only slept for 4 hours last night, but I’ll remember a client’s anniversary.

Nora Jenkins-Townson is the founder and Principal of HR consultancy Bright + Early.

Do you have time management philosophies that work for you? Leave a comment with your story! Want to be a featured entrepreneur or intrapreneur in our next Conversations piece? Get in touch and let us know where your expertise is.

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Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

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