time management tactics for solopreneurs

10 Time management tactics every entrepreneur should know

Which entrepreneur would not want to get more done? Getting things done is vital, especially for entrepreneurs. In this article I will share 10 time management tactics any entrepreneur should know. Your ability to use time wisely correlates directly to how much you can achieve in any given day. 

It doesn’t matter whether you are already working fulltime on your business, or if it’s still a side-project, time is time. It’s especially important to focus your time and energy on the right things.

More often than not, solopreneurs are distracted by the latest or loudest things. Whether it’s a shiny new plugin, or a new feature they would like to add to their product. Or, sometimes we go even further: we seek out the path of least resistance and work on what’s easiest instead of what really should get done.

But being an entrepreneur is something entirely different than playing entrepreneur. You need to put your time and energy into the things that truly matter. The things that help you grow your business.

With the 10 time management tactics for entrepreneurs that I will share with you today you are sure to be more effective.

When you are done reading this article you will have the toolkit necessary to make informed decisions about what tasks are truly important. You will have the confidence to set priorities and work on those tasks until completion. It’s time to grow your business. Let’s go.

The Eisenhower Method

If you have been reading my blog for some time you might know this one as the Quadrants from Stephen Covey. But Covey actually got the idea from Eisenhower, who was a time management mastermind!

Eisenhower soon discovered that there is a huge difference between what is urgent and what is important.

As a solopreneur it is key that you can understand the difference between the two.

“I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.”
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– Dwight Eisenhower, 1954

The former president described this paradox as the dilemma of the modern man. This dilemma eventually led to the “Eisenhower Method”, a famous model within the world of time management. As I mentioned earlier Stephen Covey talks about it in great lengths in his book ‘First Things First’.

With the Eisenhower Method you organize your tasks in one of four quadrants.

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Urgent / Important: Do these tasks immediately and do them yourself.

Not urgent / Important: Schedule these tasks and do them yourself.

Urgent / Unimportant: Delegate or automate these tasks.

Not urgent / Unimportant: Eliminate these tasks completely.

Whenever you add a new task to your to-do list run in through the Eisenhower Method. In which quadrant would it fit?

The Eisenhower Method is one of the best ways to determine which tasks don’t need to be completed right away.

Without such a method you might respond only to what is urgent, never to what is important. Eventually the important might become urgent, like a crisis, and then you will need to focus on in right away. Planning ahead and scheduling important tasks are vital for the success of any solopreneur.

Maker Schedule / Manager Schedule

Each solopreneurs has two schedules: Maker schedule and Manager schedule. Identifying these schedules and using them appropriately allows you to leverage your time to a much greater degree.

Manager schedule involves strategy and planning. This is where you let your creative juices flow. You are allowed to think big, bold ideas. Solving complex problems is what you will do while working in the Manager schedule.

The other schedule, Maker schedule, is for actually doing the work that you have identified while in Manager schedule. Meaning you are no longer thinking about what needs to be done, you are doing it.

As a solopreneur it can be hard to differentiate between the two roles. It will take a considerable amount of effort to identify which role to take.

Sometimes you might resort to the Manager schedule while working in Maker schedule mode. This especially takes place while working on less fun tasks. You will need to persevere and resist. At the end of the day, execution is where things happen. You can’t stick around in Manager schedule forever. Even the best plans are worthless if you can’t execute.

Use time blocks

Do you procrastinate?

I sometimes do.

And the best way for me to overcome my procrastination is to set a deadline. Nothing is a motivating as a deadline.

You may have read my article about the Law of Parkinson. This law states: “

“Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”

So setting a strict deadline is sometimes the best way to get yourself started. If you give yourself a lot of time to complete something, you will definitely use all time that you have available.

I suggest you use in blocks of time. And then after each time block analyze how you spent your time. Where you effective? Did you get distracted?

Working in time blocks makes it easier to detect room for improvement.

But the most important part here is that you set a deadline. The deadline is the greatest motivator for any solopreneur.  As far as time management tactics for entrepreneurs are concerned, dealing with procrastination is high on that list.

Choosing highest leverage tasks (Or, using the 80/20 Rule)

Any entrepreneur should know the 80/20 rule, also known as the Law of Pareto. This rule states that a small amount of input results in a high amount of output. 50% of your time does not yield 50% of the results. Instead the balance is more like this; 20% of your input achieves 80% of output. Meaning that a small fraction of your time you are more effective than other times.

Any independent entrepreneur should therefore perform a 80/20 analysis on a frequent basis.

  • What are the 20% of your activities that yield 80% of the desired outcome?
  • What 20% of your customers result for 80% of the profits? (This may sound very absurd, but it’s true, I have seen it at so many businesses now. It’s almost spooky!)
  • What 20% of your products are responsible for the most revenue?

Manage your energy

Sometimes the best way to get more done is doing less things. Yes, that’s correct.

Hustling is important, don’t get me wrong. But once your willpower and energy are depleted for the day it has little use to push through. It’s better to recharge, relax and prepare yourself for the next day.

For some projects or for some clients it’s worthwhile to grab another cup of coffee and get back to it. But at other times this approach does not pay off. You will need enough fuel to achieve your long-term goals. Building a business is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. So manage your energy.

Where will you be when you have been working 60+ hours for more than 3 years? Let me tell you now, you won’t be any closer to your long-term goals. You will most likely head towards a burn-out. Sometimes the best approach is to take some time for yourself. Recharge. Revitalize. Meditate.

Doing more is not always the solution. Too many entrepreneurs believe that they are not successful enough. As a result they just do more of the same things. But what if you are efficient, but not effective? You can only be effective – meaning working on the right things – when you are thinking straight. You need to be sharp.

Use your physical resources wisely. Listen to your body. You only have a finite amount of energy, willpower and focus.

What is at stake?

Another great way to deal with procrastination are stakes. What is at stake at your business?

Stakes have been called “the carrot and the stick” of personal productivity by Tim Ferriss. Using stakes effectively might just help you move your business closer towards its goals.

You can set stakes by holding yourself accountable. Use mastermind groups. Use a community to interact with, and that can hold you accountable.

This is why a time management coach is so important. The coach can keep you accountable for your progress. He or she will keep you on track.

As humans we are very good at telling stories and making up excuses about why we did not do X or Y. But that’s a lot more difficult when you are sitting across someone who can smell the bulls**t you are trying to sell. Don’t lie to yourself.

Find someone that will hold you accountable for your progress.

Slice up projects into smaller tasks

A large to-do list can be very overwhelming. When you write down your to-do list it becomes possible to chunk and schedule your work.

All the things that need to get done can be quite overwhelming for any entrepreneur.  One of the best time management tactics for entrepreneurs is to slice up your projects. When you break down your projects they become much easier to get started with. Procrastination is no longer a problem. The challenge suddenly doesn’t seem so challenging as we thought it was.

Let’s say that your big project is writing a 2000 word article for publication. Just chunk it up by the stages it has:

  1. Determine subject
  2. Find experts on subject matter
  3. Reach out to experts to schedule interview(s)
  4. Interview experts
  5. Transcribe notes from interview
  6. Write article
  7. Find complementary images for article
  8. Publish article

Asana and Trello are great tools that can help you keep on track. They can help you focus on the things that matter, making chunking much more easy.

Write down what is on your mind

One of the best ways to clear your head is to write down all things that are on your mind. When you have lots of things going on it’s pretty normal to feel overwhelmed. This practical process can get your ideas out of your head and onto a piece of paper, where it won’t be forgotten. This creates so much mental space.

It doesn’t really matter whether you write down your ideas on a piece of paper or if you type them up in a to-do list application. The process itself completely obliterates the feeling of overwhelm. It will help you to calm down and see things more clearly. You can then begin to analyze your ideas and prioritize the best ones.

Writing things down is so effective because your brain no longer has the need to remind you of what’s on your mind. As your ideas are now in a safe place (e.g. piece of paper or digitally stored) your brain won’t have to do the task of remembering.

David Allen, from Getting Things Done, suggests that you do a brain dump and get everything out of your head. Then, pick the small tasks and do them straight away (Two-minute rule). In this way you can effectively and efficiently create more mental room for thought.

It’s such a liberating process.

Start. Now.

There is no time like the present. If you truly wish to grow your business, if you want to be successful, start using time management now. The awards you will reap are enormous. Sure, there will be an upfront investment in time spent to learn about time management, but in the long run you will definitely notice the difference it makes.

Do you need more tactics, tips and strategies to make your business successful? Buy one of the eBooks available here: Check out the ProductivityManagement Books.

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P.s. I am so sure that one of my books can help you that I offer a 14-days 100% money back guarantee. If you are not happy with your purchase, just send me an e-mail and I will refund the money. No questions asked. So what do you have to lose?

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