The famous saying goes that “we all have the same 24 hours in a day but it’s how we manage our time that matters”. There’s no doubt that great time management is potentially the number one factor that separates successful entrepreneurs from those who are floundering, even when the entrepreneurs in question are juggling many responsibilities.
How is it that some people manage to achieve so much, even with small pockets of time?
Jo Bevilacqua is a multi-award winning entrepreneur and author who founded and runs Jo Bevilacqua Mentoring, Serenity Loves, and Hallmark Carpets and Flooring. She’s also mum to two girls and one energetic dog, so she knows a thing or two about being busy. Jo believes time management is paramount to being successful as an entrepreneur and here shares her essentials for getting things done.
To be a successful entrepreneur, the first thing you need is a plan.
- What are your goals for your business?
- What do you want to achieve in the next month, quarter, year or five years?
- How do you want to grow your business long-term?
Answering these questions will help you to put together a step-by-step plan of what you want to achieve and when.
Every day you sit down to work, you can pinpoint what you need to do to move towards your goals – and you have the plan to tell you. If unexpected issues or opportunities arise, you can ask yourself, “Will saying yes take me closer to my goals or further away?” If something doesn’t fit with your plan, you just say no. It’s a fantastic time saver and decision maker!
Book time in your diary
As an entrepreneur, there’s always something that will demand your attention. The problem is that you can get so caught up by working in your business that you never find time to work on your business and the big picture stuff. Book time in your diary for planning and growing your business. Make that time non-negotiable. Treat it with the same sanctity as a meeting with your dream customer.
Do you find yourself hopping from task to task? You might flit from posting on Facebook to answering an email to sending out an invoice, all in the space of half an hour. Stop! This is a huge timewaster.
The key to productivity is to block your tasks (also known as “time blocking”). For example, you might say that you will only open and respond to emails between 1pm and 2pm every day or spend Friday mornings once a fortnight writing all of your social media posts for the next two weeks.
You can even block whole days. Mondays could be for content creation, Tuesdays for meeting with mentoring clients, Wednesdays for doing project proposals and so on.
Have the right systems and people in place
If there are tasks that you find yourself doing time and again, think about setting up templates or using automation to get the job done quicker. Another great time saver is to answer popular questions about your business on a FAQs page on your website.
Think about what you can outsource. For example, you could hand your accounts over to a bookkeeper, your website updates to a virtual assistant or your blog writing to a copywriter.
By outsourcing things that don’t match your skillset, you can focus on doing what you’re great at to grow your company long-term.
Learn when to let go
When you’re running a business, particularly when you’re starting out, it’s tempting to say yes to anything and everything, including clients who aren’t a good fit. But there just aren’t enough hours in the day for that.
One of the most important time management skills is the ability to let go of anything that’s not right for your business. Tracking the important numbers will help here. Keep an eye on your social media metrics, your web traffic, your sales, outgoings, advertising and marketing costs. This will help you build up a picture of where spending your time pays off.