Tick Tock: How 6 Smart Hustle Entrepreneurs Make the Most of Every Minute
By Rieva Lesonsky
If you’re like most small business owners, you won’t be surprised to learn a recent Sage survey found time management is one of the top personal challenges faced by startups. If you have a lot of ideas and not enough time to implement them—no matter how hard you hustle—it’s time to adopt some smart time management strategies. Here are some simple tips and strategies on how to better manage your time and some inspiration from six smart hustlers that have learned to tame the clock.
- Get your priorities straight and delegate. What are your long-term business goals? To grow their businesses, Smart Hustlers put time and energy into important tasks like business development and marketing. Every day, put something on your to-do list that moves you one step closer to your goals. Do that first, then you can tackle the smaller, day-to-day operational tasks. You’ll feel energized knowing you’ve already accomplished something big. If you find yourself running out of time for the smaller tasks like paying the bills or updating your website, then it’s time to delegate those responsibilities, either to existing staff or hire a virtual assistant.
- Block out your day. Try planning every night for the next day. Make a list of what needs to be accomplished and assign how much time you will spend on each task. It might sound tedious but when your schedule is written down, it’s easier to see where time wasters are occurring.
- Go (more) mobile. With today’s mobile technology, it’s easier than ever to always stay connected. Smart Hustlers use every spare moment to get things done. Make the most of your mobile devices by investigating mobile apps such as Evernote, which allows you take text, photo and audio notes wherever you are.
- Stay healthy. All the time management tactics in the world won’t help if you get sick, so play it smart: Make sure you schedule time for exercise, adequate sleep and healthy meals.
- Ask others for time management advice. Smart Hustlers learn from others; your fellow small business owners probably have some time management tips you haven’t thought of. Ask a peer to lunch or attend a local networking meeting to exchange tips. We asked some Smart Hustlers to share their time management tips:
Takafumi Oiwa, Founder
My secrets to stay on schedule all day are all just common sense. It did take a few years for me to figure it out, though.
1. [In my business] meticulous booking is everything. I know exactly how long it takes me to perform services for all of my clients. I allow an extra 15 to 30 minutes, depending on what I'm doing, for new clients. This prevents overbooking.
2. Wear a watch or have a clock in view at all times. It's so easy to lose track of time when you are working on a client, especially if you talk a lot! I look at the clock often without being obvious. I'm constantly pacing myself and telling myself how much more time I have to finish the client I'm working on. Therefore, I'm always done and ready for the next client on time.
3. Respect your client's time if you want them to respect yours. I find that most people are conscientious and punctual. If you are always on time, they'll get the message and show up on time. If you are constantly running behind schedule, they won't respect your time either.
4. Educate and manage clients who are always late. Clients who are always late can be a big liability. It's important to communicate to them that you are always on schedule, and them being late affects your business. I also hold them accountable if they are late all the time by skipping the much-anticipated complimentary scalp and shoulder massage. After missing the massage a few times, they stop being late.
5. Say "no" to clients who are always calling you at the last-minute. When you try to accommodate clients who are always [do that], it affects the clients who booked their appointments weeks in advance. Learning how to say "no" to last-minute clients when you are booked will help you in a long run.
Adam A. Rizza, Co-founder
Sunscape Eyewear Inc
Work smarter, not harder. Managing my time isn’t about squeezing as many tasks into my day as possible. It’s about simplifying how I work, doing things faster and relieving stress. Understanding and identifying your weaknesses are the first steps to having a successful, efficient overall operation, which in turn gives you the time to grow your business. Hand off projects and tasks to team members who specialize in those areas. There really are enough hours in a day for everything you’d like to do, but it may take a bit of rearranging and re-imagining to find them. Constantly reinvent your time.
Dr. Barry Katz, Founder and CEO
1. Make detailed lists every day for what needs to be accomplished.
2. Don't waste valuable time. When you can do something, do it.
3. Exercise. This gives me the physical energy and mental clarity that I need in order to get through each day.
Alexander Quintana, Cofounder
P3 Artisan Pasta
I take the first 20 minutes of my day, every day, to plan my day. It helps me to keep and meet my busy daily schedule.
Elaine LaPersonerie, Founder
Make a list at the end of every day. Lots of people make one each morning before they get started, but this isn't as effective because a day later, you will have difficulty recalling where you left off the day before. Divide your list into two sections based on priority (A and B) and tackle the important items first. Knowing there’s a part two to your list will keep you committed and focused. I also include "personal" tasks on the same paper, so whenever I refer to the list, I am reminded of everything that needs to get done! They say 20 percent of your thoughts produce 80 percent of your results, so training your brain to get organized is critical in maximizing time.
Jim McFarland, Founder
1. I find that I am most productive in the mornings, so I don't waste a lot of time in bed. I am up at 5:00 a.m. and get my run and workouts in and done by 7:00 a.m. This helps energize me and clears my mind.
2. I am big on "to do" or tasks lists. If a task arises or I suddenly remember something I need to do, I stop what I am doing, add it to my list and create a reminder in my phone with an alert with the specific time to do it.
3. Use the resources that we all have today. Cell phones are huge in keeping organized and taking care of tasks. I use Google Docs, Google Calendar, and Gmail to link all my email accounts and to-do list, along with any other important documents that I might need to reference.