Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Time is of the essence when starting and running a business. It doesn’t matter what stage you’re at. Making the most efficient use of your time would be very wise. Working smarter, not harder, should be the goal. That takes discipline, patience and planning. On my journey, there were times when I had the motivation but wasn’t sure what my next move should be. I’m very organized and find that I function better when things are in place and when I know what I’m doing and where I’m going. The benefits of good time management include greater productivity, less stress and more opportunities to do the things that matter. Utilizing the following tips will help boost your productivity:
1. Set clear goals
When creating a plan for your business, setting a timeline and setting goals are two of the things you want to consider. Setting timelines keeps me on my toes. While setting a timeline gives you an idea of how long it’ll take you, setting your goals allows you to focus your energy on the things you want to achieve. Also, think about your long-term and short-term goals.
Related: 101 Time Management Tips to Boost Productivity Every Day
One of the best ways to stay focused on accomplishing your goals is by prioritizing. Knowing how to prioritize work affects the time you spend on tasks and your overall success. Start by creating a to-do list of tasks that need to get done. Make sure to order tasks by effort and begin planning your time accordingly. Creating a list will help you visualize your goals and determine what is most relevant, as well as what is most urgent. You can’t go wrong with a to-do list.
3. Create a routine
The more you stick to your routine, the easier it gets. Whether you work better in the morning or late at night, plan your tasks in a way that you know you will be most productive, and keep it the same. I work better at night. There have been many times I pulled an all-nighter and felt like I moved mountains in that time. Your body naturally responds to repetitive behavior.
4. Avoid distractions
Honor the time that you’ve dedicated to working on that project, and avoid distractions — no television, social media or text messaging during that time. If you’re working in a public space, find a quiet area. Some people like to work in silence, while others might like soft music. Whatever the case may be, commit to that time.
Related: 7 Terrific Tips to Improve Time Management
5. Practice the four Ds
Do, Defer (Delay), Delegate and Delete
Placing a task or project into one of these categories helps you manage your limited time more effectively and stay focused on what matters most to you. For anyone who’s never utilized this: After you do it for the first time, you might get hooked.
6. Don’t multitask
I had a habit of multitasking, which was productive, but since I started multitasking much less, I see how much more productive I’ve been. Instead of dividing your attention into three different things, it’s better to focus entirely on one thing at a time. To make it more effective, try timeboxing them. That means allocating a time frame for every task which, as a result, increases the likelihood of its successful completion.
Studies have shown that when we have good sleeping habits, we are healthier, more productive and less stressed. Sleep is a detrimental factor that could affect many things both positively and negatively. When we get a good night’s rest, not only do we feel fresh and rejuvenated, but it also contributes to a healthy lifestyle. On the contrary, when we don’t get enough sleep, we may also be increasing health problems, such as diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, obesity and more.
Related: Time Management: Learn the 5 Steps to Holistic Productivity
8. Don’t feel bad about failing
A lot of people fear failure — it’s human nature. But spending time stressing about failing is taking time from you being productive. Just try to jump in, and conquer those fears. In my personal experience, failing wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I learned from those failures. I built on those failures. I grew from those failures. Believe in what you’re doing, and focus on why you’re doing it.
9. Use an online calendar
I swear by online calendars. They are so useful and are a great fundamental tool to manage time. You can easily manage your schedule, mark important dates and events, set up reminders, create time blocks, etc. The best part is that online calendars can be integrated with third-party applications and can be accessed from multiple devices. There are plenty of options to choose from, such as Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar and Apple Calendar, but the project calendar in ProofHub simplifies the way you manage your schedule, plan your events and keep track of the important dates and deliverables in the project, so you always stay ahead of the deadlines.
In conclusion, if you try all or some of these time management tips, you will very likely start feeling more in control, with the confidence to choose how best to use your time. And by feeling happier, more relaxed and better able to think, you’re in a great place to carry on with your business.