Even the most driven entrepreneur can’t squeeze more than 24 hours from a day. When your to-do list is expanding out of hand, you can still take charge. A proactive approach to time management will let you get more done in the available time. In this article, Ryan Rock of Ankeny, Iowa, President of Empire AG, LLC, discusses some simple and effective time management tactics for busy entrepreneurs.
It is not a sign of laziness or weakness when we feel stressed by a seemingly endless project. It is just a matter of how our brains work. If we see a 1,000-page book sitting on the table with the knowledge that we have to read it, understand it, and write a meaningful analysis of it, our minds reject our attempts to think of what might be a project involving many hours and several days as a single job.
We can fight this paralysis and stress by breaking down every complex job into workable and understandable components. In our book example, if you think of every 20-page chapter of that 1,000-page book as a single task, you can effectively schedule and tackle whatever number works in your daily schedule until the job is done. Almost any seemingly impossible situation can be broken down into components that will not take up more than one sitting at a time.
Looking at a daily to-do list can cause real difficulty when you are only thinking about single projects which you consider most relevant to the long-term success of your business. Your work schedule cannot just be about what you want to be doing in five years; it has to first be about what has to happen today.
Feeling that you are falling behind in elaborate and long-term tasks not only impairs your motivation, it also can keep you from accomplishing simple daily tasks that should not be overlooked. Build your daily to-do list with the simple everyday tasks that need to be done as your priority, leaving time to determine the best way to break down larger tasks into more manageable bites.
Procrastination kills focus and wastes your time. We may feel that we have plenty of time on hand, or we just don’t want to start a task that doesn’t look rewarding. Here’s a suggestion for getting past putting off getting some job started–commit five minutes.
If you are finding that you are having trouble getting something started, just commit five minutes to it. If you have a report or letter to draft, this could just mean writing out an outline or filling in a single column on a spreadsheet. More often than not, you will roll past the first five-minute commitment into getting the whole task completed. That first step can feel brutal sometimes, but once you are in motion, it is amazing how often your inertia will carry you through to completion.
Working hard really means working efficiently. The software offerings available today boggle the mind, and the chores that software can take over for you are growing all the time.
Manual data collection and input is no longer needed for in-depth analysis of your business’s performance in any number of areas. Sophisticated analytics are available for marketing, inventory management, purchasing, production, human resources, and just about anything else that affects your bottom line.
Additionally, all of the other time management topics discussed in this article can be assisted and managed with a wide variety of software options available.
Ryan Rock of Ankeny, Iowa, successfully maintains a proactive work, family, and life balance. During his college career, Rock balanced multiple activities, which also forced him to categorize his priorities. Rock’s time management and prioritizing skills allow his company, Empire AG, LLC, to take up multiple projects and deliver quality work.