Time is a young entrepreneur’s greatest asset. Here's how to use it.
As a young entrepreneur, time is the most valuable resource you have. Unlike older, more established businesspeople, you have yet to build a reputation or brand that has a lot of reach, and you probably do not have a comparable level of resources. Whether that’s reflected in your ability to get small business loans, hire employees, or simply scale your business efficiently, there are many things young entrepreneurs need to keep in mind.
With time being one of your key assets, you need to do what you can to manage it effectively. Young entrepreneurs who manage their time poorly often work an unsustainable schedule in an attempt to keep up and they usually still feel like they are falling behind.
If you want to do more than just keep your business going while working yourself to the point of exhaustion, you have to get on top of your time. Fortunately, there are a few time management tips that can help any new entrepreneur.
The modern world is full of distractions. Along with our obligations to friends and family, we also have our smartphones to distract us from the work that needs to be done. If you are going to manage your time effectively, you need to eliminate distractions when you are working.
To start, you need to set time aside time that is just for work. When you are working, you shouldn’t be reading or responding to non-work emails, checking your social media or taking personal phone calls. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a personal life, but you need to separate it from your time at work.
Knowing how to set priorities is one of the most important parts of developing a time management strategy. Start by making a to-do list of everything that needs to be done. Once you have a to-do list, you need to take each task and set different levels of priority based on their urgency.
The urgency of a task is usually going to depend on two factors: the deadline to complete the task and how important it is for the success of your business. Take the tasks that are time-sensitive or key to your success and give them the highest priorities on your schedule.
Track your time
It is a common experience for young entrepreneurs to end a week wondering where all the time went. You worked long hours and put in a lot of effort, but it seems like it still wasn’t enough to get everything done. If this sounds familiar, you need to start tracking your time. And this goes beyond the hours you bill to clients; you should track everything from the moment you wake up to the time you go to bed.
One way to do this is to keep a notebook and log all your time manually. However, there are time-tracking apps that can help you track your time. Either way, you need to see where your time is going. Once you have an overview of how your time is spent, you can start identifying time-wasters and different ways you could be using your time better.
The Pomodoro Technique
Young entrepreneurs can do well by looking at elements of popular time management strategies that already exist. One such time management strategy is the Pomodoro Technique. With this method, you take a task from your to-do list and set a timer for 25 minutes. You start the timer when you start the task, and you work on it without distraction until the timer goes off. You then take a short break before starting another 25 minutes of work.
The value is that this method trains your brain to work in short bursts of productivity while providing you with short breaks to keep you fresh and motivated. As a formal system, this can work well for you, but you don’t even need to follow it strictly. You could go with longer work periods or only use it for specific tasks that work well in this format.
Manage your health
Having a day-to-day time management strategy can be good for getting more from your time, but it can unravel quickly if you are not caring for your physical and mental wellbeing. If you get sick, you won’t be able to manage your schedule and if you suffer from mental burnout, you will lose the drive you need to be successful.
You should be doing things to care for your health every day. You need to eat well and exercise. Sleep is important for maintaining your physical and mental health. You should also allow yourself time away from your work to relax. No matter how busy you are, you can’t neglect your health. It will catch up to you eventually, and when it does, it won’t matter how good your time management strategy is.
It is important to remember that we are all different. What works for some young entrepreneurs may not work for others. The key to building a good time management strategy is to find the tips and techniques that work for you as an individual and then stick to them.
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