The Entrepreneur’s Time Trap

60 minutes an hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days in a year. That’s all we get. Subtract sleep related hours. What remains is allotted to everything else. Raising a family, spending quality time with friends, to running a business and conquering your industry. No wonder entrepreneurs dream of a special day with 27 hours!

What is Time?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines time as “the measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues.” The operative words there being “action”, “process” or “condition.” Time has also been termed as the most precious thing a man can spend.

First, because we don’t get any additional time. Secondly, we cannot spend future time. In fact, there are no guarantees of future time. The only time we get and have is the present. The past is already spent.

Yes, it makes for a complicated relationship with time.

The Trap

How do you, as an entrepreneur, manage to keep your business afloat while spending time on other things that matter, like family, friends and yourself?

There are a million things to do any given day for an entrepreneur. Your to-do list runs large. Taxes to do, teams to put together, customers and suppliers to meet. Each of those takes time. You started the business to escape an enforced time trap, be your own boss and set your hours. Now you are in a time trap of your own creation. Breathe. Take a day at a time.

Escaping the Time Trap

How do you reclaim your life and continue doing what you love? How do you start running your business so it doesn’t run you? You need to get smart about managing time and your business. Here are some concrete steps you can take.

1. Prioritize

You have a hundred items on your to-do list. All important, but not everything there will yield desired results. To claw back your time and put your business on a success path, prioritize. Am a huge fan of the Pareto principle. 20% of efforts produce 80% of the results. And so it is with your to-do list. 20% of those tasks will produce the bulk of results. Identify those, focus on them.

2. Automate

Technology has opened up numerous avenues to automate tasks. From creating email filters to setting up calendar notifications. Study your business critically. Look at what you constantly do each day. Audit your time and activities. If you repeat something often in any given day, consider automating it.

3. Delegate

Delegation is the secret behind extra time in your life. On your own, you only have 24 hours in a day. When you delegate, you get someone else’s time in addition to your own. Look at your to-do list and set aside tasks that are better done by someone else. Focus on what you are good at and let someone else focus on something else they are good at.

If you are solopreneur, why not hire a virtual assistant? Or a virtual team. They are not only affordable but can help you increase output while sharpening your focus on running the business.

4. Systematize

The best businesses are systems on wheels. If you’ve read Michael Gerber’s, The E-Myth Revisited, you know this. (If you haven’t, check out the book, it’ll blow your mind 🙂 ). The more systematic your business, the more time you save. You are more efficient and effective. You can easily scale up or down.

Establishing business systems should be a priority. Consistently look for processes to systematize and build systems around them. Test those systems often. Looking for ways to improve them.

Conclusion

Entrepreneurship is fun. Time shouldn’t rob you of that fun. By taking firm steps, you can escape the time trap and have it both ways. Have a flourishing business and an active family and social life. They key is to focus on what needs to happen and make it happen.

How do you manage your time as an entrepreneur? Share your favorite tips, tricks and processes in the comments below.

 

Simon Elstad

Simon Elstad is a freelance writer, virtual assistant, blog manager and more. He's passionate about smart personal and business growth; about living a meaningful, productive life with a sharp focus on what really matters. Let's connect on Twitter, LinkedIn & Google+

 

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