How an Entrepreneur Can Do More With Less Time

How to do more with less time sounds like a dream come true. Especially for busy entrepreneurs who put in long hours everyday just to get it all done. Entrepreneurs are usually under-resourced and overworked so can really benefit from learning how to get it all done while saving precious time.

Getting more done in less time not only increases productivity, which is good for the profitability of the business, but also good for the well-being of the entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs who work extended hours for a long period of time can end up with serious health complications. A 2006 study at the University of California found that chronic work weeks of more than 51 hours can triple the risk of hypertension. The Finnish Institute of Occupational health found that workdays of 11-12 hours increase your risk of coronary disease by 56 percent. Stress from fatigue increases your risk of heart disease by triggering the release of hormones that help contribute to plaque build- up in your arteries. Plaque filled arteries are a major cause of heart attacks. The harsh reality is working long hours can actually kill you over time.

If saving time and improving your health aren’t motivating enough factors to learn time management and productivity techniques then consider how long hours impact the quality of your business decision making. You may not notice it because your judgement is impaired, but after 8 hours of doing one continuous task your productivity drops off and your physical stress starts to increase. There is solid evidence that fatigue leads to impaired judgement, slowed reflexes, and a decreased ability to process information and make decisions. This is why airplane pilots are only allowed to fly a certain amount of hours in a row, and truckers are pulled off the road after a certain mileage is logged. Accidents happen to tired brains. MRI scans of fatigued brains look exactly like MRI scans of sleeping brains.

You don’t want to run your business like you are asleep.

The good news is that you have all the skills you need to get back on a healthier track without letting your business suffer. The number one skill needed to better manage your time is self-discipline. This combined with a few carefully followed tips, will dramatically increase your productivity, saving you time, improving the quality of your business decisions and improving your health.

The following tips will guide you to increasing your productivity.

  1. Stop Being “Busy” and Start Being ProductiveAccording to Dan Kennedy, one of the most successful marketers in the world, productivity is “the deliberate, strategic investment of your time, talent, intelligence, energy, resources, and opportunities in a manner calculated to move you measurably closer to meaningful goals.” Improving productivity is about being intentional about how you spend your time. Successful people are clear about what they want to accomplish and what they need to do to reach their objectives. Getting more done is really about aligning your day-to-day activities with your goals. If you want to improve your productivity start spending more time on activities that produce results.
  2. Stop Wasting TimeIn order to improve your time management you need to know what you are actually doing with your time, not what you think you are doing. Try this simple exercise to better understand how you spend your time. Get a notebook and track your time for a couple weeks. Record what you do in 15 minute increments, making sure to note when you are pulled off task by interruptions or distractions. Track your time for the whole two weeks. Note when you sleep, how much TV. you watch, how much time you spend working, and how much time you spend on leisure and other activities.

    Be specific with your time tracking. For example don’t just record that you worked for 8 hours, but actually record the activities you did while at work and how long each activity took. This will allow you to understand how you are really spending your time both during working hours and after work. What you will likely find is that you have a lot of things that waste your time in any given day. Time wasters include constant interruptions by employees, inefficient meetings that drag on, surfing the internet or updating your Facebook status a few times a day. Most people don’t realize how much time they waste in a day. Once you become more conscious about how you are actually spending your time you can be more intentional about what you spend your time on. Start treating your time as the valuable finite resource that it is, one that you can’t get back once it’s gone.

  3. Don’t let your day be interrupt-driven.The average person experiences 48 interruptions in their working day. If it only takes you 3 minutes to deal with an interruption, you still will have lost 2 hours a day. Start paying attention to see where, when and who pulls you off task and implement a plan to deal with the interruptions. Instead of making yourself available to everyone all day long, set aside a specific amount of time to deal with issues and problems that need your involvement. Train your staff to know what you must be consulted on and empower them to make decisions and solve problems on their own.

    Are you constantly checking emails or answering the phone? Stop. Schedule times in your day to read and respond to your emails. When you constantly allow yourself to be interrupted throughout the day, you lose focus, and aren’t able to be productive. Designate times in your day that it is productive for you to be available and answer your phone or emails then.

  4. DelegationEven highly productive people can only accomplish a certain amount in a day. No matter who you are, you still have 24 hours in the day just like everyone else. So if you want to accomplish more with less time you must learn to delegate.

    Trying to do everything yourself creates a lot of pressure and stress. It can cause you to feel overloaded, burnt out, and unhappy. Deadlines are missed, the quality of your work suffers, and for what purpose? So you can say you did it all?

    One of the most common ways of overcoming this limitation is to learn how to delegate your work to other people. If you do this well, you can quickly build a strong and successful team of people, and you can spend more of your time on the important things that lead to goal attainment and success. Here are a few tips on how to delegate effectively:

    1. Clearly outline what needs to be done.
    2. Check for understanding so you know they are clear on what they’re supposed to do.
    3. Explain why you want it done a certain way. Over time, you will formalize certain processes so people are clear on how things should be done, but be sure to articulate this if you don’t have formalized processes laid out. That way, things will be done the way you expect them to be done.
    4. Establish clear and reasonable deadlines for completion.
    5. Hold people accountable for quality of work and meeting deadlines.

    Once you start effectively delegating you’ll be amazed at how much time is freed up for you to focus on important priorities that improve your business results.

  5. Good Is Good EnoughThe biggest challenge for most entrepreneurs when it comes to time management is knowing when to stop. This is where your self-discipline will be essential. Don’t let a never attainable quest for perfect get in the way of good enough. Pursuing perfection will mean you spend 80 percent of your time trying to attain a 20 percent improvement. Good enough will enable you to move on to the next task on your list and accomplish more results.

Use these tips to start taking back control of how you use your time.

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