'PAMPER' THE ENTREPRENEUR
14 tips for smarter time and self management for entrepreneurs
Last week, in the USA it was “National Small Business Week". Entrepreneurs are an essential link in the economy. They create jobs and drive economic growth, all over the world. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year (source: www.sba.gov). Small and Medium-sized Enterprises account for no less than 85% of jobs in Europe.What better reason to “pamper” the entrepreneurs themselves?
Life & business coach, professional organizer, trainer and motivational speaker and published author Sara Van Wesenbeeck - a dedicated Belgian entrepreneur, European Ambassador for Female Entrepreneurship and mentor for entrepreneurs with the Cherie Blair Foundation - works every day with entrepreneurs, companies, managers and executives to help them organize life and work more efficiently.
She listed 14 tips for smarter time and self management for entrepreneurs. They save time for the entrepreneur, give priority to the things that matter, cut costs and… boost turnover. So why not get yourself started:
TIP 1 - Make sure you have an uncluttered, well-organized workspace
It may seem obvious, but you can work faster and more efficiently in and tidy workspace. That doesn't mean that you have to keep your desk empty and ‘spic and span’ at all times. Just keep what you frequently use within reach and see that you can quickly find the things you need regularly.
TIP 2 -Don't neglect administration
Keeping an uncluttered, simple and transparent administration (and mailbox) will save you a lot of time and money. No more wasted time searching for documents that have ‘vanished'!
TIP 3 - Plan and make a to do-list
Plan your daily tasks and goals clearly and effectively. Take a few minutes at the end of the day to create a to do-list for the next day. This will help you work with more focus, plus, the list gives you an overview and allows you to set priorities. The payoff is getting work done faster and more efficiently!
TIP 4 - Set priorities
As an entrepreneur, there's so much you have to think about each day. You can quickly get the feeling that there's never enough time or you're losing control of your work. By setting priorities (it's simply not possible to get everything done at once) and getting the most important work out of the way first, you won't be as tempted to spend your time on less productive matters. This will increase your returns from your business.
TIP 5 - Stop multitasking
Do you often zig-zag for one thing to another, without ever finishing any of them? Then you're probably a diehard multitasker. From now on, finish each task separately and completely before starting the next one. Switch off your smartphone, Facebook and other (digital) distractions. Schedule the time you need to be able to concentrate on the task so that you are able to complete it quickly and efficiently.
TIP 6 - Beware of time drains
Time drains are lying in wait throughout the day. They distract your attention from your goals, get in the way of your success and cause you to do things that are unimportant for your work. Determine the ways in which you are losing time and what you need to change in order to meet your goals at work, with less drain on your time.
TIP 7 - Learn to e-mail efficiently
E-mails are by far the biggest time drains in your workplace. Start taking a smart approach to them. A crash course: clearly structure your folders, learn to work with an empty inbox, open each mail just once and immediately decide what to do with it, disable the sound signal for incoming mail, and save yourself a lot of time by processing your mails in batches, 2 to 3 times a day.
TIP 8 - Get your distractions to ‘shut-up'
Your mobile telephone or smartphone is a major distraction. Turn it off from time to time so that you can maintain your concentration. Let your voice-mail take over for a while and answer your messages later. This way, you can get your work done and answer all of your phone calls at once: that's two (time-saving) birds with one stone!
TIP 9 - Use the work day to concentrate on your work
If you don't concentrate on your work during your work day, chances are high you're going to have to work at the times when you really ought to be relaxing. This is a vicious circle that generates a lot of stress, without getting anywhere. Focus on finishing your projects, not on working.
TIP 10 - Home office? Don't peel the potatoes during work hours
The single biggest pitfall of working from home is the blurring of the boundary between your private life and work. It becomes tempting, for example, to do household chores during your work time. The result: you have to stay up late in the evening to get your work done and that's anything but good for your productivity or your family life.
TIP 11 - Don't put off what you can do right away
Don't fall prey to ‘procrastinationitis'. Leaving your tasks till the last-minute creates a lot of (unnecessary) stress. From now on, always immediately finish what you can get done in just 2 or 3 minutes, and that's quite a lot: answering mails, filing documents, making appointments and even taking decisions.
TIP 12 - (Seemingly) lose time to gain time!
Don't forget to take a break! Always schedule breaks, even on the busiest days. Periodically allow yourself a short break, for example, 5 or 10 minutes every hour. Literally take distance from the work. With freshly charged batteries you'll be able to get back to the job much more efficiently and effectively. By seemingly wasting time, you can create a lot of time!
TIP 13 - Start learning how to stop
Just because you're an entrepreneur and you set your own hours doesn't mean that you constantly have to work overtime. Working all the time, never taking a break or doing something for yourself is not good for your productivity. Create a ‘stop routine’ and afterwards, take some time to recharge your batteries.
TIP 14 - Keep an eye on your wellness
Don't forget to make time for the finer things in life. Even entrepreneurs are entitled to a little fun. Make sure that you keep a good work-life balance, don't work harder but smarter, allow yourself proper time and self management and make time for your loved ones and for the lighter side of life. It's to everyone's benefit!
Make this year your best ever! Organize yourself, your family, your time, your life, your work. Realize it together with life & business coach, professional organizer, trainer in personal effectiveness, motivational speaker and published author Sara Van Wesenbeeck.
Sara can coach you to find smarter ways to manage yourself, your time, your family, your budget, your life and your work, so that you can live with less stress, more balance and more time for the finer things in life.
Sara is European Ambassador for Female Entrepreneurship, on behalf of the European Commission. She is also a mentor for women with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and with the Belgian-British ESF-project ‘WE MentorCoach’-project.
Contact Sara Van Wesenbeeck: