Time Management for Founders
Time management and task prioritization are ongoing struggles for many of the founders and entrepreneurs I know. Sure, there are many great articles and books out there to help you with these issues, but they tend to focus on corporate living and not the struggles of founding a company and working as an entrepreneur.
You will experience extreme highs and extreme lows as a founder. It’s an immensely difficult time and there are never enough hours in the day. Task prioritization takes on a whole new meaning and so many founders seem to parrot the same phrase: “every task is a top priority”.
That, quite simply, is not the case. Prioritization is a must for any founder or entrepreneur to succeed and survive without burning out. Here are some basic concepts that actually work:
- Block out your calendar to work for an entire day. No meetings. No distractions. Just one day a week to knuckle down and get things done.
- Focus the majority of your time (say 80 per cent) on where you add the most value. The rest can fall by the wayside.
- Schedule some nights where you know you need to work late but balance these with some family / personal time. You can’t work 24/7 and it’s important to check in with loved ones to keep you motivated and focused on why you want to succeed. In many cases some of my biggest ideas have come to me while I’ve been away from my work.
- Outsource those time consuming and less important tasks to people you trust and get your focus back up to what’s important for your business. You’re the founder and you need to fill in the gaps to make your idea succeed. If you do those tasks that someone else can do, then it adds no value and creates a bottleneck. Just stop it.
- Keep an ongoing list and stack rank of what is most important. Finish what is top of the list and everything else goes in the backlog. Finish the top task and then stack rank again and keep going.
These simple rules are a great starting point to guide you through managing your time as a founder. They will keep you focused on what really matters.
Your mission is to get your company up and running with real paying customers and to foster its continued growth from successful startup to an established business.
Going to a ton of conferences or meeting with every person that is recommended to you does not matter and is just noise.