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Small Business Startups & Time Management

You have made the commitment.  You decided to start your own business.  You may have left a full-time job and decided to jump in full tilt, or you may have decided to start a pet project on the side.  You are truly taking your first steps into a greater world.  It is perfectly normal at this point to get overwhelmed with what to do next.

You could spend your time on any of the following:

  • Getting business cards printed
  • Putting up your web site
  • Designing a Facebook ad
  • Writing a newsletter
  • Going to a networking meeting
  • Buying office supplies
  • Figuring out why your printer stopped working

The list seems endless.  This is the very area where I have seen many a business owner get overwhelmed. “I’m just not getting enough stuff done!”

Forget Discouragement

The reason I bring up time management is because it is such a self-defeating topic.  I have not met a single person who feels they are accomplishing enough with their time.  This even includes the workaholics.  Time management is a deep pit with no bottom, a chasing after the horizon.  No matter how hard you try, there is always more you could have done.  “I should have put in a little more effort.  If I was thinking straight I could have spent less time by going through the drive-thru.”  You see?   It never ends.

Instead of managing your time, manage your emotions.

How I Prioritize my Day

I have two rules of thumb that help me prioritize what I do

  1. Of all the items on my To-Do list, which ones are most likely to help me get the next sale?
  2. See number 1.

Once I apply this filter to my world, I can see clearly what opportunities make the most sense to pursue and what opportunities fit in that “nice to have” category.  Why is Sales my most important category?  Because it keeps me alive.  It puts bread on the table and gives me the chance to do this business for one more day.  Selling tells me that I have a product the market wants, and gives me the chance to help more and more people.  When my Sales are in check, my emotions are in check.  When sales go in the tank, my mind starts thinking of all kinds of reasons to quit, and my negative self-talk kicks in. “You should have stayed at your desk job, Jason.”

Biggest Time Wasters (and Emotion Eaters)

For most people I think the biggest time waster has to be troubleshooting some type of technical problem.

  • People might complain about not getting emails that you know you have sent.
  • Your computer is running slowly and you’ve already run the super extensive virus scan 5 times in the past week.
  • Finding just the right font for your blog.

If technology just isn’t your thing, find a way to delegate these situations to one of your suppliers.  Yes, hire someone to do this.  You probably won’t like the price, but here’s what you gain:

  • You don’t have to beat up yourself for making the wrong choice.  “If had had picked Gmail instead of this second rate email system, I wouldn’t be having this problem.
  • You get to focus on what you do best, which boosts your confidence and allows you to produce great work.