There isn’t an entrepreneur in the world who feels there are enough hours in a day to get all the work done that they need to do. When there’s a seemingly endless list of tasks to accomplish and goals to reach but only so much time in a day to achieve them, it’s essential to make strategic use of the hours you have to get your work done.
Organization is the key to effective time management. There are several creative ways to stretch the hours of a day to maximize productivity. Here, 12 professionals from Business Journals Leadership Trust share their best tips for entrepreneurs who need to create the illusion of having more hours in a day to work with.
1. Allocate blocks of time for strategic thinking.
Allocate a few blocks of time for strategic thinking away from Zoom and in-person meetings. Feel-good Fridays often mean no meetings after 12 to catch up on emails and extended lead deadlines. – Donna Michaels, LMGPR
2. Outsource low-value work to virtual assistants.
Outsource low-value work. For instance, virtual assistants are a low-cost way to offload busy work — scheduling, phone call follow-up, email triage, travel, ordering, administrative tasks and more. This method allows entrepreneurs to work on their business, not in their business. – Kimberly Lucas, Goldstone Partners
3. Set clear goals and priorities for everyone.
Hours never stretch, so we’ve got to be efficient as entrepreneurs. What’s overlooked is good prioritization. Trying to do too much leads to burnout and the risk that no single thing is done well. Instead, set clear goals and priorities for the team and yourself. Know your limits and boundaries and work within them rather than trying to fight them. – Mikaela Kiner, Reverb
4. Aim to accomplish several goals in one discussion.
The best way to “stretch” hours in the day is to optimize your hours. I often try to accomplish several different goals through one discussion. Ideally, convert 30-minute meetings to 25-minute meetings and one-hour meetings to 45-minute meetings to allow for improved productivity. Consider energizing your day by doing a “walking conference call,” and replace distracting activities with thinking. – Marc Sweeney, Profero Team LLC
5. Work during the hours you do your best work.
Work when you best work. If your best working hours are from 3 to 5 a.m. or 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., use technology tools to schedule your emails throughout the day. This will allow you to do your best work when you need to and rest when you know your body is not capable of providing the best work. – Mackenzie Toland, A New Leaf Therapeutic Services PLLC
6. Take care of hard issues first, easier ones later.
I strongly believe that taking care of the hard issues first and the easier issues later allows for everything to get completed within reasonable hours in the day. Putting off the things we don’t want to tackle for a later day makes it hard to finish things in a reasonable timeframe. – Jerry Ramos, Ramos Consulting, LLC
7. Use as much tech as possible.
Automate and use as much technology as possible. Many tasks can be delegated to other humans and machines, and leveraging additional resources is a great way to stretch your hours. – Rachel Namoff, Arapaho Asset Management
8. Get your day started early for a sound mind.
Start early. Get your day started a few hours before the standard 9-5 range, and enjoy the sweet sound of silence while you rock through batches of tasks. Getting your day underway before the rest of your universe will help you have uninterrupted time to focus and get tasks done. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency
9. Exercise for extra energy, focus, and productivity.
Exercise is one of the best ways to stretch the hours of the day. The extra energy and focus that comes from spending time moving and getting the blood flowing will allow you to get more done in the limited hours of each day. – Laura Doehle, Elevation Business Consulting
10. Get enough sleep so you operate at your best.
It may seem like the opposite, but busy entrepreneurs should ensure they get enough sleep to make sure they can tackle the myriad of work put on their plate in a quick and organized fashion. You can get work done in half the time when your mind and body are operating at their best. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising
11. Minimize the time you spend on meetings.
Meetings can be a big time-suck. If you can figure out how to minimize meetings or limit time spent on meetings, you will gain so much time back in the day. One way I have been able to get some time back is to set up meetings for 45 minutes. This blocks one hour on my calendar but always gives me some time between meetings to catch up or get other tasks done. – Zane Stevens, Protea Financial
12. Be intentional and clear with your to-do list.
As entrepreneurs, we always feel there is something that needs to be done. Being intentional and clear about your to-do list and blocking specific times in your day that cannot be interrupted or compromised is crucial to complete everything successfully. I also like to celebrate when my list is completed for the day. Get everything on paper and out of your head and go to work on it. – Amber Duncan, Jackie