Time management may be the biggest problem faced by entrepreneurs, who wear many (and all) hats. With everything you get accomplished in the hours you do have, how much more could you get done if only you had more? The solution: make the most of it. Like money, time doesn’t grow on trees, so you have to be smart about how you’re spending it.

Excellent Time Management Begins By Creating Goal Lists

Ever get to the end of a day and know you spent the whole day working but can’t remember what you actually got done? How much of it was spent moving your company forward towards your goals? If you have a clear roadmap of goals for yourself, it is much easier to see where your time needs to be spent.

You should have a list of lifetime goals, broken down into annual goals, broken down into monthly goals, then broken down into weekly goals. Your weekly goals then get broken down into specific tasks by day. In this manner, what is on your task list on any given day is all you need to do to stay on track with your lifetime goals. Then it becomes much clearer to see how much progress you’ve made!

As you look at your daily to do list, decide whether each task brings you further along your roadmap. If any task does not mesh with your goals, eliminate or delegate it. If any task does not absolutely have to be completed by you, delegate it. Consistently ask yourself: “Is what I’m doing right now the absolute best use of my time?”

Delegate Tasks To Keep Your Time Management On Track Consistently

Once you know what you need to delegate, find the best people for the job. Whether it is hiring an employee or outsourcing work to freelancers, take the time to find the right person to handle each task. You might have to pay a little more for it, but the savings in hours (and the resulting earning potential) more than make up for it. Use delegation as an opportunity to expand the company skillset in order to grow your business, which is, ultimately, your number one job.

Make sure you are extremely specific as to what you want done. Don’t make assumptions, and don’t expect your help to make judgement calls or major decisions. Tell them exactly what it is you need done. Rather than simply saying “list data in a spreadsheet”, give the direction of  “alphabetically list XYZ in the right spreadsheet column, then list statistic A in the next column.” It might seem like overkill, but take the time to be specific once and your help will get it right thereafter.

Once the ball is rolling, check in with your people but don’t begin to micromanage them. “Letting go is one of the hardest skills for entrepreneurs to master.” Establish deadlines for certain things, and have a quick look to check that things are progressing as expected.

Pace Yourself – There Is Always Enough Time

As an entrepreneur, you are all-in, giving 110% to your company. That means you need to be full-throttle every minute, right? Wrong. Pace yourself. If you are constantly working, you’ll exhaust yourself. Decide what is “good enough” for each of your projects, do that good work, and then stop. Don’t waste your day over-editing or over-thinking.

Keep the whole race in mind. You have to be able to pace yourself, envision how you want your race to go, and know when to pick up the pace or take a breather. Review your long-term goals, make sure your monthly and weekly goals are realistic, and work at everything a little each day. Rushing to meet unrealistic deadlines is one sure-fire way to burn out after investing a ton into a project.

Time Management Means You Do The Hardest Things First . . . Or The Easiest

Do you find yourself avoiding doing the major thing that needs to get accomplished, just because you feel like it is going to take a lot of time, or be a challenge, or open a big can of worms? Get to it first, get it off your plate, and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that it isn’t looming over your head all day.

Alternatively, if you find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer number of things you feel need to get done today, do the easiest thing first and check it off your list. Then do the next easiest thing and get that one checked off, too. Eventually you will hit a rhythm and before you know it the list is complete.

Since you definitely can’t add more hours to your day, using what you have to your advantage will make the most of your working hours. Time management isn’t about managing your hours, it’s about managing how you handle your to do list. “Once you realize that you’re in control of your clock and can tell your time what to do, your work life and personal life will become less stressed.”

Using the skills that lifelong learners employ to help their leadership development will lead to success in many ways: as a Mentor, a Speaker, a Writer, and/or a Teacher.  There are lots of available resources you can use over the course of your career for leadership development. Participating in some online and some in a face to face format will allow you to use both whenever possible. Some of these resources are free and some charge for the services. Set some goals for improving your leadership skill development and get to work!

Very best wishes for your every success,