Entrepreneurship involves wearing many hats and juggling many demands on your time. Here are 10 tips to make it more manageable.
Entering into business for yourself offers many perks. Of course, there are also many challenges along the way. Your business will have highs and lows as does every other business, but you learn to adapt and overcome them, thereby building resilience. Since busy entrepreneurs work many hours during the average week, it makes sense that they would need a plan. However, as with any long-term plan, that plan must outline your goals, break them down to mini-goals, or, a step-by-step achievable plan. To get you started, here are 10 simple tips to manage your busy entrepreneurial lifestyle.
1. Establish strategic goals.
Successful entrepreneurs have one major thing in common. They set strategic goals — goals for the day, the week, the month, the quarter, and the year. All successful entrepreneurs have some type of business goals and you can bet that they are strategic goals as opposed to resolutions.
Resolutions can fail. They can be unrealistic, unattainable, and unclear. Don’t bother with them. If you want to be successful, your goals require purpose and clarity. Keep them challenging, but attainable with clear steps needed to reach each goal. Think of the steps as necessary mini-goals. Once you’ve established your goals, it’s time to prioritize your work.
2. Prioritize your work.
If you’re a busy entrepreneur, you need to be at the top of your game all the time and the best way to do that is to prioritize your work. Although the theory sounds menial and there’s certainly no secret formula, it’s essential to manage a busy lifestyle. Today’s entrepreneur has no time to dawdle. They’re too busy putting in the time and energy to build their businesses and succeed.
About 35% of entrepreneurs work an average of 40 hours a week. However, many works more — 11.8% are clocking in up to 60 hours per week, according to Fit Small Business. So, to manage your busy entrepreneurial lifestyle, list out the work you need to accomplish and then prioritize it. Working on the most important items first and saving the least for last helps you accomplish your workload like a pro while meeting deadlines. It also means staying focused rather than succumbing to a barrage of interruptions and less important work that can sap your time.
3. Anticipate interruptions.
Diving into entrepreneurship is not a cakewalk. It’s hard work — lots of hard, demanding work. If entrepreneurs didn’t manage their time wisely, they’d soon find their businesses failing.
There’s a lot that goes into building a successful business. During the initial phases, you must wear many hats and fill many roles, so to speak, and you must do it well enough to not only stay afloat but grow.
Interruptions are a part of life. They will happen and, when they do, you’ll need to know how to maneuver them to stay on track with your business goals, plan, and tasks. Anticipating interruptions before they happen allows you to plan a workaround for them.
As Ben Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Always have a plan and leave yourself some wiggle room with your time management solutions in case something comes up. Anticipating interruptions goes beyond simply getting more done. It also limits the amount of time that you spend on unscheduled activities.
4. Limit time spent on unscheduled activities.
Speaking of unscheduled activities, they practically go hand-in-hand with interruptions. Sometimes they are interruptions. So, it makes sense to plan for them as well, but limit the amount of time that you spend unscheduled activities to stay on schedule. Some unscheduled activities are avoidable, like perusing social media after you’ve completed your branding and marketing tasks.
Social media is great for branding and growing your business, but it can also be a vacuum that sucks the time out of your busy day. Other unscheduled activities, like an impromptu phone call or meeting with a client, is sometimes unavoidable. Manage what you can by planning some time into your day for high priority unscheduled activities — like impromptu business or client meetings, for example, and nix the unnecessary and unproductive activities.
5. Schedule tasks with reasonable deadlines.
Unscheduled activities aren’t the only activities that need scheduling. Schedule regular tasks and mini-goals as well, but set reasonable deadlines for each. One temptation, when you’re starting a new business, is to jump ahead to gain faster results. However, this often riddles an otherwise successful business plan with holes.
Attempting to carry too large a workload on too tight of a schedule leads to faster burnout, missed deadlines, and unsatisfied clients. Rather than risking your health, your reputation, case studies or your business, schedule tasks with attainable and reasonable deadlines.
6. Incorporate breaks into your schedule.
Regardless of how many deadlines you’re up against, nothing will earn you a total burnout faster than endlessly plowing through your workload without taking a break. It’s one thing if it happens once, but if you find that you’re sacrificing most or all of your potential breaks in favor of your workload, burnout is certain to be in your near future.
Every busy entrepreneur needs breaks. Breaks give you time to get up, stretch, and even change the scenery for a few minutes. They also give you time to collect your thoughts, change pace, and reduce stress. It also allows you to return to work with a fresh perspective, a boost of creativity, and renewed energy. Breaks lead to improved employee morale and increased productivity. So, make sure to schedule them in.
7. Schedule time for personal and business development.
Just as breaks are necessary for successful entrepreneurs, so is time for personal and business development. Whether you’re adding new skills and leveling up existing ones, personal development is vital to any entrepreneur. It helps you gain an edge on the competition, stay on top of industry trends, add a new skill or service to enhance your business offering and much more.
Business development is similar. However, instead of gaining or improving skills at a personal level, it includes gaining or enhancing skills necessary to operate and manage a successful business, like boosting revenue, increasing profitability, building partnerships, growth and more.
8. Set boundaries.
Consider growth for a moment. When you’re launching a new business, it’s easy to get sucked into the vacuum of everything, every moment is work. Growth is necessary for an entrepreneur to rise and while you can’t grow without making some sacrifices, some things should never be sacrificed, like the division between your work life and your personal life.
In the hustle and bustle of entrepreneurship, don’t forget to establish boundaries between work and non-work hours and priorities. Setting boundaries can improve your productivity, boost creativity, and improve your overall personal wellness. It gives your mind and body a break from the tasks of the day. Respect that division, because if you don’t, the outcome might not be as fruitful or enjoyable as you imagined.
9. Make family time a priority.
Like setting boundaries to separate work from personal life, successful entrepreneurs also make time for their families. A more content home translates to less stress and improved health and relationships. As an entrepreneur, your business will undoubtedly demand much of your attention, but don’t let it demand all of it. Take the time to spend with your family and friends. Time with family takes precedence, but so does taking time for yourself as well.
10. Schedule time for self-care.
Self-care is essential for any successful entrepreneur. After all, how can you help your clients if you’re not feeling or performing at your best? Self-care isn’t simply about taking a yoga or meditation class, though. It includes taking care of your entire body, inside and out. It means taking time off to de-stress by doing something you enjoy like surfing, reading, relaxation, arts, and crafts, or even swimming in an indoor or outdoor pool. Self-care events can be as simple or complicated as you like. Do what makes sense for you. Keep the activity healthy and positive to maximize the benefits.
The final word
Managing a busy entrepreneurial lifestyle need not be difficult. There are many ways to gain the motivation and inspiration that you need to be successful and manage your business well. It all begins with a good plan and some solid, but achievable goals are broken down into a step-by-step process that you can follow to achieve those goals. From there, the rest is history.