Time Management 101 – Productivity Tips For Entrepreneurs

Do you ever feel like you spent all day working but have nothing to show for it? You want to do it all but you have limitations of how much you’re able to take on and wonder if you really can find the time to pursue your business without overwhelming your schedule.

And then you STILL want to spend time on the things, like family & self-care that you need to prioritize.

You really wonder if you’ll ever have the capacity to do it all… And to breathe.

Well, you can.

Your time is precious, which means you have to be strategic about how you spend your days.

Time management is an important skill that can increase your productivity & make you more efficient.

Below, I’m going to share tips on how I manage my time to make sure to get the most important things done with plenty of room for self-care.

1. Get all of your to-dos together in one place.

Ask yourself:

  • What are the things you need to do to move you toward your goals?
  • What are the things that need to be done in your business & personal life?
  • What appointments & deadlines do you need to schedule around?

Go ahead & make note of anything that comes to mind, & block out the times that you know you don’t have available.

Once you have a clear picture of your week & your to-do list, I’m betting that you have more tasks than time.

It can be overwhelming seeing every single thing you need to do written in front of you, but don’t worry!

We have a few more steps to go.

2. Decide what things are most important to you.

If you don’t take the time to prioritize your to-do list, you end up reacting to every single thing that pops up & then you wonder where your day went.

There are a ton of methods for prioritizing your tasks, but mine is pretty simple. I look at everything in terms of survival, maintenance, & growth. 

The survival tasks like taking my kids to school, eating lunch, & brushing my teeth happen every day no matter what.  I also have survival tasks for my business that I include as to dos on all but my worst days like staying in touch with clients & checking my emails.

There are also maintenance tasks that need to be done on a regular basis but the world won’t end if they don’t happen. Things like content creation, marketing, & laundry. w

Growth tasks are those that directly relate to your goals. Increasing your visibility, designing a new product, or working your way through a course are examples of things in this category. You’d love to be able to work on these every single day, but it’s not always possible.

Knowing what tasks you’ll focus on ahead of time will give you the ability to save those seemingly urgent (but not actually important) tasks for later.

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3. Determine which things are going to stay on your to-do list.

You have a limited amount of time & energy, so right now you need to accept that you’ll never get it all done.

Like actually accept it.

Let it go.

Never gonna happen.

As a former overachiever & recovering perfectionist, I totally get how hard it is to not be able to do it all. But this is my new normal & I’m going to make the best of it. 

Nothing good happens when I push myself too hard- it’s just not worth it.

If you’re not already familiar with the spoon theory, it’s a concept that explains the energy limitations experienced by many of us with chronic illness.

You start the day with a finite number of spoons and each thing you do reduces that number. If you use more than you have, your ability to function will plummet. Use too many & you’ll be recovering for days!

Take a minute to see if there is anything on your list that can be eliminated so you can save your energy for the things that will move you forward.

4. Create a plan for your week & your days to make sure the important stuff actually gets done.

Now that you know how much time you have & you can sort of predict how much energy you’ll have, it’s time to decide which ones are going to fit.

Just like at Thanksgiving dinner, you have to fill up your plate intentionally to make sure you have room for the good stuff.

Our plates are smaller than most people’s, so we have to be even more careful with what we choose.

Start with the 1-3 most important things on your list that absolutely must get done. Today, my most important things were to hop on a client call, do a Facebook live in my group, & take my girls to swim lessons.

You get to decide what counts as most important.

Once your priorities are nailed down, know that those are the ones you want to get done no matter what. Notice though, that I’ve left some room for flexibility. 

My client call is nonnegotiable, but if I had woken up and was having one of my “bad” days, I could do the Facebook live tomorrow & skip lessons or find them another ride! That takes my list down to just one thing I must do (and it’s not the end of the world if I have to reschedule).

Unless it really is a “bad” day, I’ll start working on additional tasks from my list once the most important ones are out of the way.

I try to make sure that they’re broken down as small as they can go by listing each step involved. 

Clean the kitchen turns into wash the dishes, wipe the counters, sweep the floors, & so on. This way I can make progress throughout the week without running myself into the ground. 

Another example would be writing a blog post. You can break that down into writing an outline, creating your rough draft, editing & formatting, & designing graphics. 

This method of breaking tasks down also allows for built-in stopping points so you can take a break when needed & have time to listen to your body.

Better Time Management Is Possible

Planning your time strategically will ensure the most important things get done even if your days aren’t exactly predictable.

Gather all of your to-dos, decide what’s most important to you, eliminate any unnecessary tasks, & put them together into a plan.

Next time I’ll give you some ideas for automating your repetitive tasks to add more margin into your days.

I hope this was helpful & if you have any questions or additional tips make sure to let me know in the comments!

Haylee Galloway

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