If there is one thing that life as an entrepreneur has taught me, it is that no day is ever the same. While it can be an incredibly exciting adventure, there are a few problems that arise from having to switch tasks, goals, and objectives so often. Number one on that list of problems is time management. How you manage and prioritize your time is everything, and can mean the difference between a successful online startup, or a fizzled attempt at a business.
To help you tackle this problem head on, here are three helpful tips to managing your time like a pro:
Take Charge of Your Productivity
As an entrepreneur, it is incredibly hard to fight that tendency to allow the first thing that catches your attention to determine where you spend your day’s time. Similarly, it is hard to resist the urge to constantly task-switch as unexpected events, news, problems, and chaos arise throughout your day.
While there may not be an all-in-one powerful solution, outlining and defining the goals and objectives of a productive day’s work can be a very helpful step in managing your productivity. My tool of choice for to-do list and goal management is idonext. Idonext has a simple and intuitive web-based interface that allows you to manage your productivity by: writing up a quick list of tasks, uploading any corresponding files and images to those tasks, and sharing those tasks with others to ensure you get the job done.
Schedule Your Email Checking
Let’s be real for a second. How many times per day do you find yourself checking your email? If you answered more than 2 times then I would suggest revamping your email management strategy.
How do you do this? There are several ways to tackle this problem, but I find that the easiest is simply planning a certain time period a day to manage email. High-peak email times tend to be early in the morning (8:00-9a.m.) and right before the day is over (4:00-5p.m.), so I always make sure these time periods are deemed my “email-management” time.
To help maximize your use of this time and limit unnecessary distractions (whether that be email-marketing messages or spam), try implementing an email-overload tool such as Otherinbox to presort your mail for you and present you with the gist. For those that use Gmail and feel pressure to respond to certain individuals immediately, check out Syphir. With this tool you can easily create sophisticated rules that alert you of incoming messages of those people that you absolutely must respond to right away.
Take a Hold of Your Social Media, Don’t let it Take a Hold of You!
Now I think it is safe to say that most of us understand the vital role that social media can play in everything from marketing, to drawing in readers, to teasing out potential customers, but it is extremely important to ensure that it does not end up consuming your day!
To avoid this, there are a couple of very simple steps you can take, such as implementing a quick social media management system and scheduling your social media marketing time. For most, a simple and effective free management system such as Hootsuite should do the trick. Hootsuite allows you to review brand mentions, keywords and phases, Twitter username mentions, Twitter direct messages, Facebook messages, and Facebook comments that people leave on your pages.
As far as the scheduling goes, reserving social media management time for that period when you tend to see more Tweets and Facebook updates usually works pretty well. Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to bring the highest click-through rates for wall posts on Facebook. As far as Twitter is concerned, Tweeting between 1pm – 2pm has been suggested to lead to the most exposure. So, schedule accordingly!
After reading these recommendations, what do you think? Are there any other killer apps or methods that help you manage your time like a pro?