Launching a new business can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to balancing all the many demands on your time … and unlike a top executive, you don’t have an assistant to draw up your schedule. So how do you keep it all balanced?
Is this a problem of focus and attention or more one of planning? Both? It all depends on your personality and work style, but in most cases, scheduling issues primarily derive from the fact that there’s too much to do and too little time.
If you’re going to reach your professional goals, you’ll need a strategy as well some concrete tools for outlining and tracking the plan. So make every minute count with these four handy entrepreneurial tools.
1. Build a Timeline.
When you’re trying to meet business objectives, you need to think on several different timelines. There are things you need to do each day, tasks due in the near future, and long-term plans.
Some people also break these aims down into long-term career goals, objectives for the next few months, and daily or weekly targets for reaching the goals. Nearly any major business task could be broken down this way.
In fact, we see breakdowns like this whenever a company is developing a long-term marketing strategy; there’s an ultimate goal, but also a series of objectives and target actions you need to complete leading up to it.
It’s all about placing markers along the road, because otherwise big objectives seem impossible to attain. Short-term targets make it easier to feel like you’re making progress … and you are.
2. Manage Your Meetings.
One of the worst things you can do as a new entrepreneur is hold meetings at any time. They’re often a terrible disruption and can take you away from important tasks in progress.
That’s why you need to schedule all meetings and office hours, so there are times to work alone versus times to work with others.
One way to approach this kind of scheduling is to set certain hours and let others fill in the blanks using an on-site program such as Yocale. Yocale allows for custom appointment scheduling, helps you track your schedule from any location, and prevents you from wasting time playing phone tag with people you need to meet or share a phone appointment.
3. Stay Off Social Media.
Social media is one of the biggest distractions in current business, but because we’re so attached to it, many entrepreneurs reflexively turn to Facebook chat and similar platforms to communicate with staff and professional contacts.
Communication in such a manner may be efficient, but just logging on to one of these sites can send your day off the rails. To keep your communications more focused, download Slack, a work-focused chat program.
Slack enables you to set up various channels to talk to different groups of people, and it even has features through which unconnected groups of people can discuss shared topics of professional interest.
Though it works similarly to any other instant messaging program, Slack divorces chat software from socializing.
4. Get On the Planner Trend.
Despite appearing strangely analog, planners are trendy right now and new varieties constantly hit the market. Of course, not all are designed for entrepreneurs, but some can be just perfect for setting goals and organizing meetings.
One of the best work planners currently available is the Hobonichi Techo Planner, which includes entrepreneurship-focused quotes, space for sketching, day-by-day planning space, and room for reflection. In many ways, the Hobonichi is a preformatted version of the popular bullet journal: It offers a way to stay organized but also build in a practice of reflection, which can be a valuable skill for busy professionals.
Planning may seem like just another task on a long list, but in fact, the time you spend organizing your tasks, forming priorities, and reflecting on the work at hand is time saved in the long run. You have too much to do not to be organized about it.