I’m going to let you in on a little secret. The concept of time management is sort of a farce. I mean, time moves on whether we like it or not. So we can’t actually manage it. Well, we need to manage is focus.
That’s what you actually have control over and in this blog, I’ll share seven tips that’ll help enhance your productivity and focus as a busy entrepreneur that wants to get results. Today, I want to center everything around results.
Whether your goal is to make more money, to live anywhere, to make a positive impact or have more time to do what you love. It all starts with the choices you make daily. Results are a meeting point between the what’s and the why’s that drive us.
Check Out: best cv writers in uk
For example, one of your whats might be to pay off your parents’ mortgage and the why might be to bring closure to all the sacrifices you witnessed your parents make for you. I say all of this, because one of the biggest traps for entrepreneurs is day-to-day tunnel vision, which turns being in business, into being in busy-ness.
It’s a tragedy to find out after a year of hustle and work that you were busy every single day, and yet you didn’t achieve any results. This is a disease of always doing things and yet not getting things done. At the end of the day, results are the only things that matter. All of the tips I’m about to dive into are focused on just that, setting you up to manage your focus in order to realize your goals.
Maintain A Bird’s Eye View
Oftentimes, especially when we’re newer to entrepreneurship, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. It’s an exciting time and you may have so many things swimming around your head, creating a business card design, running Facebook ads, starting a podcast, creating a newsletter, launching a business Tik Tok account and countless other things.
One thing all of those random examples have in common though, is that they’re individual tasks that may or may not be impactful. If you are busy and stretched for time, it stands to reason that you need to make the best use of it and maintaining a bird’s eye view of your vision and targets is critical in order to prioritize which individual tasks you should be performing to support the results that matter.
The required result of every business is profitability and especially if this is a new business, ramping up money in the bank needs to be a near singular priority. Maintaining a bird’s eye view in practice looks like this. You have a value proposition to your prospective customers and you need them to see that value and be willing to pay for it.
This means that you have several buckets to fill, including branding, building a website, inventory and manufacturing, marketing, shipping, and fulfillment, and the list goes on. These buckets get filled by performing individual tasks, but with so many items on the checklist, how do you prioritize? Simple, identify the tasks that live closest to bringing money in.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, I recommend thinking about where your target customer spends their time. If it’s on Reddit, perhaps spend your time posting and commenting to become known as a thought leader in the relevant subreddits. If they’re on Facebook or Instagram, it’s perhaps time to start making some blog ads optimized to convert.
If your target customer spends their time working out at the gym, perhaps visiting local gyms in your area to build relationships and create commission partnerships with the owners of the gyms. To recap, tip one, before executing any task it’s worth zooming out from your tunnel vision and ensuring the task you perform next will get you the closest to your desired result of bringing money in.
Understand Efficiency Versus Efficacy
This tip speaks to the all too common trap of feeling busy despite having no results to show for it. Maybe we watched a Google ads tutorial while brainstorming a new ad campaign. Maybe we made a list of our competitors and creep their websites to validate our own pricing and even get some ideas for our own website.
Perhaps we even read up on some industry news, signed up for an industry webinar, scheduled a call with a marketing agency, followed and commented on influencer Instagram accounts in our space. And to top it all off made our kids five minute brownies in just four minutes. This is the difference between efficiency and efficacy. To reference Tim Ferris, being efficient is doing things well and quickly whether or not they’re important. While being effective is having the foresight to identify the important things to do in the first place.
Also Read: SEO FOR BEGINNERS GUIDE
Our tutorial watching campaign brainstorming competitor, researching industry news, reading webinars, registering agency, engaging Instagram commenting, rapid brownie making friend was sure as hell efficient, but were they effective? Meanwhile, the only two things our other entrepreneur friend accomplished on the same day was one research the name of the wholesale decision makers at art supply stores in their city.
And to send them an email with a wholesale price list and closing with a promise to personally drop by in the coming week to meet them and give them a free product sample. The individual task account paled in comparison in terms of efficiency, but in terms of impact supporting the goal of bringing money in well, the winner is clear.
Recognize, and constantly review the difference between being efficient and being effective. And you’ll be well on your way to making the best use of your energy and focus in order to not just do things, but rather get things done.
Know Your Timestamps
One of the closest ways you can come to managing time is really self and situational awareness in the context of time spent. Founder of Unbound Merino and fellow learn with Shopify host Dan Demsky once shared the sobering realization between his assumption and the reality of how much time it actually took to queue up pick, wrap, package, seal, and add a shipping label to each parcel after his successful crowdfunding campaign.
Knowing your type stance is particularly important for tasks, you have to repeat. As early stage entrepreneurs, and most certainly as solo preneurs, you have to wear a lot of hats. Account manager, purchasing supervisor, director of sales, chief finance officer, junior graphic designer, and webmaster might be all under your purview. It’s critical to know how long things actually take for you to be able to structure your schedule for maximum output. This will allow you to easily juggle individual tasks between the necessary evils like bookkeeping and the fun or impactful tasks like marketing and closing sales.
One thing I hear from folks who have Shopify stores is how much time they underestimated. It takes for them to create a product page that converts, I mean, in our minds, we think man upload a few pics, set the price, write a blurb, and there we go five minutes tops. But once we started meta-tags setting size and color variance, optimizing above the fold copywriting, nesting the product into relevant categories and all the other details that can make the difference between whether or not a target customer adds to cart or not. Each product can take two times more than the initially assumed five minutes.
Also Read: Top 5 LinkedIn Profile Tips!
Spending a week to take a stopwatch to all of your individual tasks and documenting those timestamps will enable you to become an unstoppable scheduling machine. You’ll drive results for your business, because you just know in no uncertain terms of what you can get done in a day. And as an added bonus, make sure to write down all of your processes. So as you grow and start providing jobs, you’ll be able to train your new staff effectively so they can yield the same results in the same amount of time. And Hey, if you’ve decided you’d like to sell your own products, Shopify is the ultimate commerce platform.
Over a million folks, just like you and me are using it to sell ship and process payments anywhere. I think Shopify has definitely helped us and many businesses get started. And there’s nothing like hearing that your chaching when you’re out living your life and doing something that you love. I like that. If this interests you, I welcome you to sign up for a 100% free, no strings attached to Shopify trial, which you can find down in the description below.
Proactive And Reactive Time Blocks
Entrepreneurship is deeply personal to us. After all our business is our baby of sorts, but the more personal something is to us, the more likely we are to succumb to knee-jerk reactions. Did someone leave a bad review? Oh no they didn’t. Inventory delayed at the port of long beach for three weeks, sending the Marines.
The IRS send a correspondence examination letter, stop the presses and pull every receipt from the past seven years. You see knee-jerk reactions are often the manifestation of an unnecessary feeling of emergency, not a sense of urgency by the way, which can be a positive force to getting things done, but rather a feeling of emergency where judgments get clouded and emotions run wild. Truth few things are actual emergencies. And for some that are, there’s nothing you can do about it. And if you can do something about it, why make it more stressful for yourself?
Going back to those three random examples, someone leaving a negative review is an annoyance yet it’s a reality of doing business and you can get to it when you get to it by opening a thoughtful dialogue and using it as an opportunity to improve your product or service. Inventory is stuck on a container ship trapped in a week long queue. It might be urgent, but there’s literally nothing you can do about it. Correspondence examination from the IRS. There are procedures and ample time to respond. Certainly not the moment the letter arrives in mail.
See beyond unnecessary stress, the biggest followed from knee-jerk reactions is that they distract you and take away from meaningful, deep work. Work that takes time, mental clarity, and bandwidth to help yield your true desire to results. So schedule generous time blocks for proactive deep results-based work, but also scheduled albeit much smaller time blocks for reactive work. I’m saying, for example, in a standard eight hour Workday schedule seven hours for meaningful results driven work that you plan for. And one hour to pause, assess, think through and react to meaningfully to the unpredictable punches that come your way.
Reacting feels like you’re busy. It feels like you’re getting things done. Yet in reality, the things you’re getting done are those defined and set forth by other people, external forces things you didn’t plan for things that don’t support your results and calling right back to tip one. If an individual task isn’t supporting your desired outcomes, as you define them, save it for the time blocks dedicated to thoughtful reactivity.
Huh? You’ve heard of Murphy’s law. You’ve heard of Parkinson’s disease, but Parkinson’s law? What’s that? See Parkinson’s law states that this, the perceived complexity of a task expands and contracts.to fit the time you allot to it. Put another way, every task has a certain level of complexity to execute, but the degree of complexity you perceive it to have goes up.
If you allotted a lot of time and reduces, if you, a lot it, a little bit of time. We’ve all experienced this likely early on in high school. The first time we were assigned a research paper. The teacher says it’s due in a month and has to be 20 pages and you and your classmates let out a groan, as you think, research 20 pages due in a month. Sounds like the most complicated thing in the world, but fast forward, 29 days of procrastination and out of nowhere, your classmate reminds you the night before it’s due. And somehow some way you pull an all-nighter and get it done in less than 10 hours.
See, when you allotted in a month in your mind when it was first assigned, you perceived it as infinitely complicated, but with just 10 hours to go, all the perceived complexity faded away and all that remain was simply execution. Sure. It wasn’t your best work. And of course, I’m not proposing that you procrastinate to leverage this. I am however, encouraging you to recognize Parkinson’s law and be cognizant of how you perceive, how complicated tasks are.
Set aggressive due dates for yourself. If not in the name of accomplishing more at the very least lowering mental fatigue, analysis paralysis and overall stress by reducing the perceived complexity of all the tasks you need to get done.
Try Finance Fridays Or Email Catch Up
Mondays or insert task you really don’t like doing, but you absolutely have to. Personally, I absolutely hate bookkeeping, but I choose to dedicate financial resources to things I feel are most impactful and don’t have money left over to hire a bookkeeper.
I hate logging into credit card sites and cross-referencing statements. I hate punching numbers into a spreadsheet and remembering to categorize between buckets like capital equipment and expenses, but bookkeeping and financial upkeep is a true necessity and necessary evil. If you will, to being in business. So now on Friday afternoons, when none of my clients are even in the mood to talk business because their brains are already focused on the weekend.
I set aside one hour to gather all the previous week’s receipts statements and other relevant financials and consolidate them into my accounting app and spreadsheet. So that come fiscal year end, one email to the accountant. No second guessing. No last minute, panic. See, no matter what business you’re in, there are inevitably going to be some tasks you simply do not enjoy, but that you have to do. Allowing things you dislike to pile up, just burn stress and creates a constant back of the mind annoyance. So why not dedicate deliberate time to just get it done?
Set The Right Boundaries
Boundaries are vital to focus physical health and mental health. And I welcome you to conduct a stress audit of your life. You may have heard of the 80/20. It’s a rule that seems to apply in all areas like in business, roughly 80% of profits come from just 20% of our most loyal customers. And on the negative front, 80% of your interpersonal stress comes from roughly 20% of the people in your life.
So why not double down on that small minority of your most loyal customers and find more like them and not stress so much about the other 80% who spend a little bit, yet complain a lot. And why not restrict a frequency of interactions with that minority of people in your life that account for 80% of your negative stress and anxiety. Again, audit your successes, audit your stress, audit the tasks you do and audit the people in your life and you’ll be able to start drawing connections and seeing patterns to how you spend your time. Both with great results and negative impacts.
Double down on the positive and ditch the rest. From this audit, create boundaries for yourself to adhere to and create boundaries you communicate to them. Boundaries for yourself may include a strict rule that Saturdays are for relaxing, with loved ones with no work allowed. While boundaries with others may include sending a message to your group chat, letting them know that you will not reply to texts during work hours. This isn’t about limiting and expanding time.
Time management is about how you allocate your actions. It’s about creating the conditions to enable maximum focus, productivity, and calm as you spend your time growing your business. There’s a difference between being in business and being stuck in busy-ness there’s a difference between doing things and getting things done, and that difference lies in yielding actual results. However you choose to define them. Time or rather focus management comes in all sorts of flavors and there’s no right or wrong, just what works for you.