Revel Blog

Effective Time Management Strategies for Busy Entrepreneurs

Coral Drake | February 20, 2024 |

Effective Time Management Strategies for Busy Entrepreneurs

When you’re an entrepreneur, you often never have enough time. Balancing every aspect of building, maintaining, and marketing your business can be exhausting. 

For an entrepreneur, finding effective time management strategies isn’t optional. It’s a requirement for the survival of your business. In this blog post, we'll share how to increase your efficiency with task automation and delegation. We’ll explore how to set time limits and why “no” is a well-used word in any successful entrepreneur's everyday conversations. 

Choosing and Organizing Tasks

Amidst the whirlwind of operational and executive duties, the most important task is always choosing what to do next. Here are some tips for prioritizing what you need to do and eliminating what you don’t need to do yourself. 

Step 1: Decide What Matters Most

Putting tasks in the right order of importance to get everything done in time is key to an entrepreneur’s efficiency. Surprisingly, many entrepreneurs don’t really have a technique for prioritization. That means they too often fall into the trap of trying to do everything at once. 

As you hone your prioritization skills, you'll find that it becomes easier to manage your time and energy more efficiently. You'll make fewer ad hoc decisions, avoid unnecessary firefighting, and excel at keeping distractions at bay. 

Investing time today in mastering the art of prioritizing will pay dividends for years to come, boosting your business's productivity and growth.

Here are some techniques that might help you prioritize:

The Urgency-Importance Matrix 

Also known as the 'Eisenhower Box,' this tool ranks tasks based on their urgency and importance, allowing for swift strategic decisions about where to focus energy and resources. Scribbling your tasks on this matrix might seem a bit old school, but it can be a great way to help you decide where a given task ranks in importance. 

Want a box-free method? The healthcare method, triage, might be a helpful model. Classify tasks into 'critical,' 'urgent,' and 'not urgent.' 

Implement the 80/20 Rule 

The Pareto principle, commonly known as the 80/20 rule, states that 80% of outcomes can be attributed to 20% of causes. Applied to time management, this means focusing your energy on the tasks that will produce the most significant results. It's all about working smarter, not harder. 

Step 2: Can Someone Else Do It?

As a time management strategy, delegation has the power to multiply an entrepreneur's efficiency. It’s the clearest path to smart time management since it takes things that need to get done off of your plate. The key lies in understanding when and what to delegate.

Deciding what tasks to let go of starts with recognizing those areas where you're not the expert. These tasks can be done more efficiently by someone else, not only saving you time, but saving time for the company overall. For most entrepreneurs, it makes sense to delegate things like administrative tasks, social media management, or market research. 

Once you've determined which tasks can be delegated, match the tasks with the people best suited to handle them. For instance, give the task of social media management to a team member who is tech-savvy, creative, and up-to-date with the latest social media trends. 

If you don’t have someone on your team well-suited to the task you’d like to delegate, you may consider an additional hire. 

Step 3: Say No.

When you have an overflowing list of responsibilities and tasks to handle, every new request feels like another ball you're expected to keep in the air. Saying 'no' is an essential time management strategy. 

Continuously saying 'yes' creates a time sinkhole where crucial tasks get neglected. Instead, set time limits on each task and be vigilant about refusing requests when there’s no time slot for them. 

Keep in mind that you don’t have to just say 'no'. You can say “No, but.” 

Take, for instance, a meeting that you’re interested in but don’t consider vital. Instead of accepting the invitation, consider requesting a summary or update via email. 

Remember, each time you say 'yes' to something minor, you're inadvertently saying 'no' to something that might be more significant. As an entrepreneur, your time is your most valuable asset—don't be afraid to protect it.

How to Get it Done

Avoiding the Pitfall of Procrastination

Procrastination lures you into a false sense of security, promising "just five more minutes" until you're suddenly stranded in a sea of impending deadlines. 

Many executives don’t notice how much time ends up being wasted in procrastination because we tend to only think about procrastination when we’re putting off something we don’t want to do. However, entrepreneurs often do the opposite: mire themselves in everyday activities while procrastinating the big steps that will lead to meaningful success. 

Smart time management strategies and deliberate scheduling of activities are your strongest allies against procrastination. One proven approach is task prioritization. Instead of randomly picking tasks based on what comes to your attention first, take control by assigning each job a degree of urgency.

Productivity tools can be useful in tracking your tasks and protecting your precious time against procrastination. They can help you set time limits focused on a single task to stay productive and reduce the temptation to procrastinate. 

Multi-Tasking: Friend or Foe?

Multitasking has long been a standard feature in the entrepreneurial world. The image of a busy executive juggling a phone, calling to a secretary, and walking into a meeting is synonymous with the idea of business success. But in reality, it’s more likely that juggling too much at once hinders an entrepreneur’s efficiency. 

Research consistently shows that our brains are not wired to handle multiple complex tasks at once. This is because we’re not really doing more than one thing at a time. What we call multitasking is actually task-switching. 

Your brain disengages from one task to engage in another; a "switch cost" in time and mental resources. This switch can decrease productivity by up to 40%, according to some estimates

Say you're creating a financial report and answering client emails. Every time your brain shifts from crunching numbers to crafting a coherent client response, cognitive switching costs you time. 

By setting time limits for each task through time-saving technology like time-blocking apps, you can give undivided attention to one thing at a time, enabling you to get everything done on time without having to multitask. 

Break it Down: The Magic of Micro-Goals

Micro-goals are a savvy time management strategy that concentrates your efforts onto a small, manageable area, enabling a laser focus so you can easily complete each small task within a wider goal quickly and well. 

Instead of a massive, complex project, an entrepreneur faces a series of manageable micro-goals, each an achievable victory leading to accomplishing the goal. 

Not only does this process let you work quicker and better, but it gives a sense of productivity and accomplishment to each day. 

Manage Time Well and Take Care of Yourself

While your instinct might be to cram as much work into each day as possible, the lack of rest can lead to burnout. Tasks take longer to complete when you're fatigued, and you’re less likely to do them well too. Fitting in downtime is not about putting off work; it’s about working better.

Productivity tools with time-saving technology give you more time without losing out on productivity. Revel's order management platform integrates loyalty programs, inventory management, data collection, and more to help automate repetitive tasks, streamline your operations, and free up your time. 

Redirect this priceless time to nurture your brand, strategize for growth, or take that much-needed breather.