Learn to manage your time

Learn to manage your time

Peter Drucker said: “Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed.” Effective time management is very crucial for entrepreneurs. With the nature of their work entrepreneurs are involved in a lot of tasks like planning, business strategy, networking, research, marketing and sales among other activities. Peter Drucker said: “Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed.”

Effective time management is very crucial for entrepreneurs. With the nature of their work entrepreneurs are involved in a lot of tasks like planning,business strategy, networking, research, marketing and sales among other activities. Chances of being stressed and burnt out are therefore very high. It’s therefore critical that entrepreneurs allocate their time to different tasks very carefully to ensure the smooth running of their businesses. If you don’t have a good plan, you can’t manage your time effectively. Alan Lakein said, “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” In order for you to effectively manage your time you need to plan your activities.

Create a long-term roadmap. Your daily plan should be linked to the long-term goals so that whatever you do on a day to day basis moves you towardsyour key goals. You should start viewing time as a resource similar to cash. Treat your time as an investment and start budgeting your time in the same way you budget your cash. Time that’s available to us is limited. Each of us has 24 hours a day. Our success in life depends on how we utilise those hours. As you go about drawing up your plan ensure that you write down your top daily and long term goals and then make sure that you focus on them. Having a long-term plan helps you reduce wasting your time on distractions. Emails, telephone calls, unplanned meetings or a colleague dropping into your office for a chat are a source of distraction.

You can deal with these distractions by reserving 10 to 15 minutes every hour for emails and calls and by learning to say no to unnecessary meetings or chats.  As an entrepreneur, you are a leader and the mark of a great leader is the ability to delegate. Good entrepreneurs know how to delegate. You have limited hours in a day, so don’t waste them on tasks that don’t require your direct involvement.

Give these to your other team members and focus on your top priorities. Focus on those activities that transform your company daily: that make you move towards achieving your long-term goals. Anthony Robbins commented on focus and he said, “One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.” Once you have decided what you will do focus on that task until you’ve done it you’ll be guaranteed to achieve your dreams. Don’t try  to tackle too many things at once. You will end up not making any progress. Identify your top impact activities and concentrate on those.

Fight distractions and avoid other “opportunities” to direct your day.Adopt a long-term approach to time management. You might not see the immediate benefits of managing your time now but in the long run you’ll see the benefits. Discipline yourself to use those small chunks of time that everybody else wastes. These few minutes can give you an edge. Others are just wasting the same time.

Never say to yourself “it’s only 5 minutes.” Every minute is valuable. So whenever possible, identify spaces of wasted time during your day and transform these opportunities into productive time. Sometimes the activities are so complex that they discourage us. So the best way to approach this is to break down your activities into simple activities that are easy to grasp and will not require intensive resource consumption. Schedule these activities and you will use your time effectively.

Take some regular breaks to reflect on what you are doing. Avoid being snowed under over-demanding tasks and activities. Take regular breaks between activities to brainstorm and align your progress with your targets. You will therefore not waste your time slogging on doing unproductive activities. During this process you can improve or realign your strategy. One of the entrepreneur’s time wasters is failing to start what you want to do. Procrastination. Most entrepreneurs never really start.

Don’t wait for a perfect time. There will never be. You will not finish if you don’t start. The wisest man that ever lived, Solomon, wrote in Ecclesiastes 11:4 “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.”When drawing up your schedule have 2 or 4 hours of uncommitted time per week. Build these hours of unstructured time into your weekly schedule. This time is set aside to devote to thinking about the vision of your company. This is the hallmark of every successful business leader; they are proactive.

You also need this unstructured time to free your mind from continuous work. Your brain can take limited activities otherwise your cognitive abilities decline, and you become more prone to making errors. One of the ways you can utilise your time effectively is to start your day earlier than everyone else. Most of the great men have the habit of rising early and they use that time to plan the day in advance and get a head start on some tasks before other people begin to interrupt them.You should follow your daily schedule religiously if you have to effectively manage you time.  lStewart Jakarasi is a business and financial strategist and a lecturer in business strategy and performance management.

For assistance in implementing some of the concepts discussed in these articles or in strategic planning facilitation please contact him on the following contacts: sjakarasi@gmail.com or +266 62110062 or on WhatsApp +266 58881062 

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