10 Tips to Improve Your Time Management
Running a startup is a constant battle against the clock. If you’re not tapping out emails, you’re courting new clients, coordinating staff or meeting with the board. So how can you optimise your time management to make the most of every second in your day?
1. Schedule everything
Almost everything you do is trackable, and if you can track it, you can schedule it. From the time you take to check your emails first thing in the morning, to the everyday tasks you do as part of your work, even any planned one-off projects – schedule it all to the minute.
2. Become a list-keeper
Make lists of everything you have to do and prioritise everything. Once you know what’s most important and schedule to resolve those tasks first, your focus, productivity and delivery will thrive.
3. Be prepared to say no
Although you’re a can-do person, you can’t do everything. Make sure you’re prepared to say no to work that interferes with your own specified priorities. You’ll be able to guide your startup better if you’re focused on the big stuff.
4. Do emails in batches
When your time is scheduled, you’ll be able to set aside chunks of it to get through your emails. Working in batches means you won’t get distracted and side-tracked when working on other tasks and keeping track of your emails will be easier.
5. Delegate, delegate, delegate
Hand out some responsibilities to people who can handle them. They may be better placed to do the work, maybe they have a gap in their schedule, whatever the reason, make sure your staff are productive and you’ll also get more from your own time.
6. Drop your distractions
If you know there are traps that take up your time, actively work to remove them. Smartphone notifications, emails, office chatter – they’re all things that rob you of your precious time, so make every effort to block them out.
7. Stop procrastinating
Don’t fool yourself, when you check emails five times an hour, spend an extra ten minutes small talking with clients, or hang around the printer for your 40-page document to print, you’re procrastinating. Just because it looks like work, doesn’t make it productive.
8. Use an online calendar
Made an appointment? Put it in writing. Whether it’s weeks in advance or just a few hours, send a request to all parties and make sure it’s visible on all your devices. With a few well-timed alerts you’ll find your time-keeping is close to perfect.
9. Don’t multitask
Take it one job at a time, multi-tasking is the easiest way to lose your focus and the worst way to do anything well. When you make incremental steps toward your goal, you’ll complete tasks faster and the end product will be better.
10. Trust technology to reduce clutter
Try a cloud-based solution to prevent the faff of emailing work back and forth between devices, employ a calendar system that syncs throughout the team, and use collaborative documents to manage any shared files.
Bonus – Reward yourself for good time-keeping
Set goals, but provide an incentive for yourself that matches their achievement. When you’re finished, take a moment to celebrate the little wins and the big wins. You’ll find yourself working towards the reward as much as the job.
Our role as venture funders means we back founders with capital, but there’s more to it than that. We want to make sure our founders are supported in all core elements of business, and our team is built to make that happen.