Startups, improve your time management

workIf that headline caught your attention, it’s very likely you’re a busy entrepreneur.

Because, let’s face it, when you’re trying to get a business up and running, there isn’t time for much.

You’re probably spending your days trying to cram as much work as possible into the shortest amount of time.

And it’s very likely you’re still working your 9am to 5pm so that you can keep paying your bills.

But are you really making the most of all the time you have? Many of us spend much of our time flitting between tasks. We switch between social networks, checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, before starting at the beginning again. This is not a productive use of your time. And that’s why you need some help to convince you out of your cycle of wasting time. After all, it can incredibly difficult to focus on your priorities, like applying for machinery asset finance or hiring the right staff members, if you’re spending your time answering phone calls and reading emails.

One of the earliest examples of time management is of US founding father Benjamin Franklin. At a young age, he decided to set himself tasks to improve the quality of his life. He decided to focus on 13 character traits, one per week. He repeated this cycle four times over the course of a year. Franklin noted where he’d failed and succeeded. He eventually realised that perfection was never possible but was pleased to see he’d made improvements. Throughout this experiment, Franklin woke early, worked consistently throughout the day, thought about his work and the progress he’d made, and ensured he had a good night’s rest. His many inventions include the Franklin stove, bifocals and the lightning rod. So, this is a clearly a man who knew a thing or two about time management and the value of hard work. Here are some of the ways you can use his methods to improve time management in your daily life.

Meeting free days

It has become increasingly popular recently for workers to arrange their schedules to include meeting free days. In this way, you can be sure you can focus on your work without being distracted by a never ending stream of meetings. Let’s face it, meetings can often be an incredible waste of time and always are a massive distraction from focusing on work. Popular days to plan to avoid meetings are Monday and Friday. In this way, you can plan the upcoming week and reflect on the week that was.

Schedule meetings for specific times of the day

A good idea is to schedule all of your meetings at specific times of your day so that you know there are other times when you can focus on your work. Plan to hold all your meetings first thing in the morning or last thing in the afternoon. In this way, you’ll know you have the other portion of the day to get to work.

Limit distractions

We are constantly surrounded by the blinking, buzzing distractions of technology. Your phone wants a piece of you, your email is desperate to get your attention and your Skype is always flashing you away from your work. Close all of these distractions. Hide your cellphone in your desk drawer. It’s not likely that something will go terribly wrong within an hour or two if you don’t respond immediately. We have all become far too used to always being available. Remember the days of landline phones? If you weren’t at home, you’d miss the call. The person on the other end would leave a message and you’d return it when you could. Start acting like all of your communication devices work in the same way and you won’t be distracted nearly as much. You’ll be able to get so much more work done if you aren’t being distracted every few minutes.

Work from home on certain days or at certain times

A top tip from many successful entrepreneurs and business owners is to spend the first few hours of your work day at home. The chances of interruption are so much less. When you’re at the office, it’s likely someone will want a piece of your attention every few minutes. By starting the day with an hour or two of uninterrupted work, you’ll likely have the majority of your to-do-list checked off before your colleagues have had their morning coffee.

By just making a few, small changes to your daily schedule, you’ll find your time opens up. Soon, you’ll be able to get so much more work done and feel far less stressed.