If you’re a millennial entrepreneur, we already know you’re pretty incredible. You’re a young, savvy small business owner making your dreams come true and that’s extremely impressive.
No matter how driven you are, there are tons of distractions around, and sometimes it can be hard to maximize your productivity. We came of age with technology, and it plays a huge role in both our lives and our business, but it can also kill efficiency if you’re spending too much time online.
To get back control of your own time, follow these ten time management commandments and you’ll be amazed by how much you get done!
Master the “Micro Schedule”
Big chunks of time can be daunting; if you plan to spend an hour a day working out or two hours a day making a marketing plan, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Thinking in hours is too much, and you’re more likely to make excuses and avoid it.Become an expert in the concept of “Micro Scheduling” and learn how to carve out short bursts of time for different activities.Click To Tweet
Instead, become an expert in the “Micro Schedule” – carve out short bursts of time for different activities. For example, plan 10-minute workouts rather than hour-long gym sessions; or schedule yourself 20 minutes to work on a new project, then schedule a 10-minute break to answer emails. Approaching things in small sections means you’re less likely to get distracted and ultimately get more done.
It might seem counter-intuitive, but when you’ve got lots on your plate, it’s important to give yourself time for self-care. Working solidly without a break only causes more stress and less productive work.
Try to unplug often, for instance, and take time away from social media, work and the constant notifications on your phone. This is particularly important for us entrepreneurs because often there’s not a clear place where work ends and home life begins. Creating time for self-care will clear your mind, help you get some distance and give you more productive time later.
Seriously, how much time do you think you waste each day? Starting a task, deciding something else might be the priority, ‘just quickly’ answering that email, checking the news, switching to another project, switching back again.
Establishing routines eliminates the possibility of distractions and helps you streamline your time management. For example, you can create a clear morning routine: exercise, shower, breakfast, coffee, 10 minutes on your emails then move on to tackle some of those big projects. Be strict with yourself and don’t let tasks drag on!
No one likes to say no, but it’s a powerful and affirming thing to do sometimes. Drawing clear boundaries is an act of self-care and will ultimately make you a better boss, colleague, relative or friend.
If you say yes to everything, you will end up overburdened with tasks and completely lose control of your own time. You’ll end up with a to-do list as long as your arm with no time to do things for yourself and your business; so learn to say no now. Thank us later.
Utilize Calendars and PM Systems
Take that millennial reputation for being tech-savvy and make it work for you. There are loads of time management tools and responsive to-do lists out there for you to use to maximize your productivity.
Google calendars help you keep track of deadlines and appointments as well as those all-important personal dates like birthdays and anniversaries. Asana is a gift for entrepreneurs as you can use it to create project management lists for your team.
OK, millennial entrepreneurs, we know you’re innovative and flexible types, but goals are still a vital aspect of time management. They provide you with something to aim towards, a roadmap to success.
Having this focus helps prioritize and optimize your time. You can create clear timelines with milestones to be achieved along the way, working backward from the overall goal, to help motivate you (and your team) to meet goals without them seeming overwhelming or unmanageable.
Sure, we love to think big, but goals need to be realistic and achievable. Be honest with yourself about how much you can accomplish in a set period. Remember it’s much more motivating to reach a smaller goal than to miss the mark of a huge one!
As our mothers used to say, ‘eat elephants in small bites’. Focus on attainable success stories and manage your time around achieving those.
Join the 5 AM Club
According to author Robin Sharma, our “most valuable hours are between 5 am, and 8 am” because “they have the least interruptions.” Now, we’re not suggesting you start getting up at 5 am from tomorrow, or even ever – some of us have family dinners or cocktails with friends that we don’t want to miss out on in order to get 8 hours sleep before waking up at 5!
But waking up earlier definitely shows good management of your time; you’ll have those early-morning hours to yourself, a time to relish the peace and just get stuff done. It’s a good time for ideas, so use this morning time to work on more challenging or creative projects.
Mute Your Devices
As millennials, we’re in constant touch with our cells, which is great on one level, but also means there’s a constant distraction. If you’re trying to concentrate on creating a business plan, for example, and you can see emails coming through on your phone, it’s tempting to stop what you’re doing and answer.
So disable your notifications, mute your devices and create a more focused atmosphere when you’re working on projects that require 100% attention. Trust us, those emails and notifications can wait.
Limit Social Media
Social media is both a millennial entrepreneur’s best friend and, occasionally, their worst enemy. It’s great to have that tool to promote your business and keep in touch with your audience, but it’s so easy to stay on there, scrolling through your Instagram feed for so long that it feels like the world is in grid form.
So boundaries aren’t only about saying no to people; they’re about saying no to social media sometimes! Limit the time you spend scrolling so you can focus on your stuff, not someone else’s.
Remember, time is a powerful tool, so make the most of it!