Many startups seem to be powered solely by excitement over the new business (occasionally mixed with some Red Bull and Starbucks). Startup founders typically devote every waking moment to their companies, and probably even dream about it too. But while pure passion can propel entrepreneurs 24/7 for a while, eventually even the most committed startup teams need to learn to manage their time.
Burnout is one obvious danger of poor time management. But even more important is the risk that something important will fall through the cracks. If you fail to respond to a potential partner or prospect in a timely fashion because there’s too much on your plate, you could be blowing a make-or-break opportunity.
Time management is one of the top challenges for every entrepreneur I know. After years of experience working with entrepreneurs and business owners, I have learned a few tricks for getting more done in the 24 hours we all have.
1. Know thyself. Everyone has a natural rhythm.
some of us are morning people and some don’t become fully awake until after noon. Pinpoint your “up” times and use them for the most crucial business tasks - like meetings with investors, brainstorming sessions or putting together proposals. Feel your energy flagging? Use that time for tasks that don’t require as much brainpower, like checking email, updating your calendar or organizing your files.
The first step is to recognize you can’t do everything you want to do. Then you need to figure out what’s most important and work on that first. What’s most important is likely to vary from day to day, but in general, focus on the activities that generate the most money or have the potential to do so.
That may mean concentrating on developing game-changing features or product improvements instead of day-to-day tasks.