Part-time entrepreneurs have the best and worst of both worlds.
While they face less financial risk by keeping their full-time jobs while growing their business, they run up against the problem of time management.
How do you find the time to grow your business when so much of your time is already spoken for?
The secret to managing your time is all about using the time you have in the wisest possible way. Here are four tips for doing just that:
1. Know where your time goes.
Managing your time is no different from creating a budget: your first order of business is to track your expenses. You can’t know where to find more time in your day if you don’t know how you’re spending it in the first place.
You can go as low- or high-tech as you like in your tracking, from simply recording what you do throughout your day in a paper notebook, to utilizing apps such as RescueTime or Toggl to keep track of your time for you. After you have tracked your time for at least a week, you can start to identify the places in your schedule when you are not using your time most effectively.
2. Assign a specific time to your important tasks.
Anything that needs to be done should be placed in an appointment book, not on a to-do list. That’s because, as Entrepreneur.com points out, “to-do lists get longer and longer to the point where they’re unworkable. Appointment books work. Schedule appointments with yourself and create time blocks for high-priority thoughts, conversations, and actions. Schedule when they will begin and end.”
We all have a tendency to treat our to-do lists as something we’ll take care of “eventually.” The phrase It’s on my to-do list has even become something of a joke. But scheduling specific time for the important activities gives you the space to get them done.
3. Start your day with a plan.
It’s very easy to jump into your day and immediately start dealing with urgent issues. But just because issues are urgent does not mean that they are important. It’s better to start the day with a plan for what you want to accomplish in the time you have. Then you can consistently keep your goals in line with your actions, rather than frittering away your time on things that ultimately don’t matter to your business.
4. Harness the power of routines.
Your grandmother probably assigned a different task to each day of the week: baking on Monday, laundry on Tuesday, etc. That may seem old-fashioned now, but it turns out that Grandma had the secret to keeping a small organization (that is, a family) running smoothly.
If you know exactly when and how you will take care of the regular tasks you need to do, then you do not have to waste brain space on those issues. For instance, if you know that you make client phone calls at a specific time each week, you can simply make a note of calls you need to make as you think of them, rather than stop what you are doing in the middle to make a call.
In addition, doing all of one type of activity at once means that you can be more efficient with your time. If you make calls whenever you think of them, you’re more likely to allow yourself to get stuck chatting—whereas if you know you have six more clients to call after this one, you’re much more likely to get off the phone quickly.
The Bottom Line
It’s simply impossible to get everything done—but with these strategies in place, you can become much more productive in growing your part-time business.
Are you a part-time entrepreneur? How do you manage your time effectively?
Image Credit: Justin See