For new entrepreneurs founding their startup, all of a sudden, countless tasks that they didn’t have planned bring them to the conclusion that the day will never end. Before this affects your health, you have two options, either you travel back in time or you can be a little more realistic and learn how to manage your time better. Randall Castillo Ortega, the founder of RACO Investment and a business process expert, offers time management tips for busy startup founders.
If you’re overwhelmed with work, it’s probably because you think you should be in everything. Inefficiency becomes more present the more we over-effort, so we need to focus only on those things for which we are essential,” says Castillo. “Define what those tasks you’re better at than others. If you have a business profile, you should probably focus on sales-oriented issues. If you’re the only person capable of making a specific design instead, focus on it.”
If you apply the first point well, you’ll know how to do the same with it. There are likely certain activities where you’re not as skilled as other people. Take advantage of this to assign them to others and not only will you buy time, but it will improve the quality of work and employee morale. By taking responsibility, they will feel useful and gain autonomy. And don’t forget to remind them what the goals are. Your team members should know why you’re tasking them and the results you expect from it.
Prioritizing is not a simple thing. Sometimes, we think the most urgent thing is the most important thing when it really isn’t. Similarly, other times we are wrong to leave for – much – later activities that are not seemingly urgent and we do not dedicate the time they deserve. See if it’s difficult, that even different ways of dividing priorities have even been theorized. Also, think that your concentration level always goes from more to less, so you shouldn’t leave for the end the tasks that require more effort.
Humanly speaking, no one should be working eight hours on the same task. If you plan your team’s activity in short but uninterrupted time fractions, you’ll be able to maintain a high concentration level and higher group performance. To do this, agile project management methodologies are a very useful work organization system to manage time effectively and improve the productivity of your team. The SCRUM model is one of the most recurrent in the startup environment.
It seems obvious that, if you work in a startup, you will move comfortably between the applications that technology offers you for better time management. “One of the biggest advantages offered by such applications is the dynamization of meetings through effective internal communication. In this way, you will optimize the time you usually spend organizing meetings,” explains Castillo.
Although some defend otherwise, the myth “octopus man” does not exist. For practical purposes, we are able to do several things at once, but never as effectively as a cephalopod would. By trying to cover different tasks at once, we can decrease our productivity by 40%. The logical thing is that to do a job better you need to slow down, so if you avoid distractions, prioritize well and focus on a single job you will be faster.
Another technique to put order into your work and manage time efficiently is to organize the week on specific days to perform certain tasks. This way, you will avoid mixing and overlapping the different activities, and you will be able to focus better on each of them. For example, on Mondays and Wednesdays, you can focus on everything that has to do with the development team. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, you can focus on business issues (customer visits, sales, etc.), and on Fridays to plan strategies.
Sooner or later, you’re going to have to learn to say no. As we have been saying, our time is gold and we do not always have it for everything we want. Although this is especially difficult considering that we always try to be nice and look good with others. That said, unless you have a demand for importance, you should learn to reject some offers when you don’t have enough time to satisfy them. To say ‘no’ to external influences is actually to say ‘yes’ to your priorities.
They say modern societies can no longer live without them. As the founder of a startup and as an entrepreneur, you will surely be up to date with everything that is cooked on the network and in your social environment. But sometimes, if you don’t rationalize it, this can be counterproductive. During your working hours, use social media only for what’s essential that can impact your business. For everything else, you’ll find time outside the workplace.
Sometimes, when we have a lot of work ahead of us, we forget that we exist too. In reality, we work so that we can live and not the other way around, so that – no more passion that awakens your work – you must be able to discern between the professional and the personal. “Never think that spending time on you is secondary. Save yourself your time to exercise and eliminate toxins, relax and entertain yourself with what you love most. This way you’ll regain the energy you need, increase your concentration and lower tensions so you can perform better and save time at work,” concludes Castillo.