What do the world’s top entrepreneurial minds all have in common? They know how to manage their most valuable resource: time.
Learning how to manage your time has countless benefits when you’re building a business. It can help you overcome procrastination, improve your mood and self-discipline, avoid burnout, and increase productivity. When you combine all these things, it results in doing better work and earning more in less time and with less stress.
Unfortunately, managing your time well is easier said than done. That’s why we’ve compiled this list — to find out how to hack your productivity once and for all, keep reading.
Find Your Most Productive Time of Day
While many people claim you have to get up at 4:00 am to reach peak productivity, that isn’t always the case. In truth, you may not be capable of thinking clearly until 8:00 am or noon, making that lost sleep a waste of time.
What’s more important than waking up at the crack of dawn is finding your “prime time”, the time of day where your attention and brainpower are at their peaks. This might be early morning, but it could just as easily be the evening or middle of the night.
When you work during your “prime time”, you have a higher chance of entering what psychologists call a flow state. Flow is a state of complete immersion where the world seems to fall away and all you can see is what you’re working on. Try to schedule your most difficult tasks during this block of time to minimize distractions and get things done.
Keep a Running Calendar
Do you often find yourself changing plans at the last minute? Do you wait to organize your to-do list until the day of? Going with the flow is great to a point, but too much flexibility in your schedule can be inefficient.
Instead of waiting until the morning to plan out your schedule, try keeping a set of running calendars. These can be physical calendars, bullet journals, or even cloud-based calendars.
Regardless of the form your calendar takes, keep three of them updated at all times: one for the coming week, one for the next month, and another for the year ahead. If possible, make note of how much time each scheduled event will take. This makes it easier to prioritize and helps you avoid overbooking yourself.
Automate and Delegate
As the late great Henry David Thoreau once said, “It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”
If you’re like many entrepreneurs, especially if you’re still early in the game, it’s easy to get bogged down by menial tasks. Even if you’re staying focused while working on them, they still aren’t the most valuable way to spend your time. That’s why every entrepreneur should evaluate their workflow for opportunities to automate and delegate.
Tired of spending an hour each day manually posting to all your social media channels? Try setting a day or two aside each month to queue up all your upcoming posts for the next 30 days with an automated posting software.
Would you be able to produce more inventory if you didn’t have to de-clutter your inbox every morning? Hire a freelance virtual assistant to filter through your emails, answer the easy questions, and pass along the ones that actually need your attention.
Other tasks you can automate or delegate include organization, packaging orders, customer support, payroll, invoices, and receipts. You might be surprised at how much you’re able to do with your newly-freed time.
Invest in Time-Tracking Software
Most entrepreneurs do regular audits on their finances, but have you ever run an audit on your schedule? If not, you could be spending a lot more time on unimportant things that you realize.
One of the easiest ways to make sure you’re organizing your workday wisely is to invest in a work time tracker like actiTIME. This software uses daily timesheet entries to compile information on your business processes.
Some of the benefits of time tracking software include:
- a “big-picture” view of your productivity
- the chance to catch and fix chronic time-wasters
- easy-to-understand data that can help improve workflows
- accurate hour tracking for normal work, overtime, and individual projects
- cumulative data makes it easier to estimate and plan future schedules
- makes billing for hourly services simple
Eventually, the information you gather will help you learn to manage your time better and improve your efficiency.
Schedule Time for Rest
Going and going nonstop may help you achieve your goals faster to begin with, but you can only keep up the pace for so long. If you want to avoid burnout, you’ll need to schedule plenty of time for rest as well.
Sleeping is an effective use of time because it gives both your brain and body a chance to recharge. A mix of 20-minute mid-day naps, 10-minute meditation sessions, and a solid night’s sleep can all help you function at your peak. Aim to get 7–9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, in 90-minute multiples if possible.
If you struggle with feeling groggy when you wake up, it might be because you’re waking up in the middle of REM sleep. Consider using a sleep cycle alarm clock for a gentler wake-up call. When you enter your bedtime in these apps, they set an alarm based on when you’ll likely be in a lighter stage of sleep so it’s easier to wake up.
Otherwise, practicing good sleep hygiene and keeping a consistent schedule will help you get the most out of your resting hours.
Understand How to Manage Your Time to Find Success
When it comes to launching a successful business venture, time management is one of the largest parts of the equation. Stop struggling with how to manage your time and give these strategies a try.
If you need to get a leg up on your time management, actiTIME can help. Our innovative time tracking software solution helps boost businesses of all sizes with intelligent, valuable data. To find out more about how it can enhance your workflow, start your fully-functional 30-day free trial today.