There a lot of things while you are working in your start-up. There is a huge amount of time which you have to manage to do various thing. It is easy to get confused and mix up your time and end up finishing literally nothing. It is wisely said that Time is the cheapest resource which lost can become very costly. Even if you are a business expert and even if you have the best team available, you need to manage your time wisely to reach the epitome of success and meet the final goals. Someone told me, “Dreams are goals with a deadline” and indeed it is and you have to meet the deadline. Here are few tips to manage your time wisely in a startup.
Useless work shouldn’t be given time: This can be an easy mistake to make in a startup culture since there may not be anyone working above you. It may be easy to run with a great idea without thinking it through all the way or deciding whether it’s the most practical goal for your company at this time.
You are your own boss, don’t wait for others: There are some instances in which you may be waiting on a specific event or feedback from a client to move your business forward. One of the main advantages of a startup is your ability to run faster than those around you. This advantage is entirely destroyed when you have to slow down your pace because you are depending on other organizations to make progress.
Objectives should be ranked: Think about what you want to do, what you’re good at, and what the world needs from you. These are distinctly different — and there may be some conflict among them. Determining what you want to do is critical to your ranking decisions. For instance, if you have a burning desire to invent your company’s newest product, you should rank that objective higher.
Then, ask yourself, “What am I better at doing than others? Which objectives play to my strengths?” Rank an objective higher if you have a comparative advantage in accomplishing it because of your personality or skills.
Time estimation: Once you’ve ranked your objectives and targets, determine how effectively your schedule matches your high-priority goals. Take out your calendar and answer these six questions:
- How many hours do you spend at work vs. other activities?
- What are the three main work activities on which you spend the most time?
- How many hours each week do you spend on meetings, forms or reports, and responding to emails?
- Will your weekly schedule be similar a year from now?
- What will be your three main activities during the next year, and will they change?
- How will you measure success and failure over the next year?
- Compare your allocations of time with your ranked list of objectives and targets. What percentage of your time do you spend on activities that help you meet your highest objectives and targets? How much time do you spend on lower-ranking items?
Team evaluation: When was the last time you spent time evaluating the way your team functions? Go beyond considering their efficiency and whether they’re thoroughly engaged. Instead, hone in on their strengths and weaknesses and figure out ways for them to improve. You may even want to pull your employees aside for a one-on-one to individually to address any issues and gain feedback.
Prioritizing: As humans, we’re all evolutionarily pre-wired to respond to immediate sensory stimuli like loud noises and flashes of light. Back thousands of years ago when our ancestors were hunting for food with crude tools, this mental acuity kept them alive and safe from threats. Unfortunately, when the only thing we go hunting for is the occasional granola bar, immediately breaking concentration to focus on ephemeral, situational cues like the latest, incoming Snapchat is a huge productivity encumbrance.
The first, basic breakthrough is to focus on task importance, rather than task urgency. You don’t need to respond to the latest push notification on your phone or email that emerged at the top of your inbox: arbitrary chronological ordering of content in a feed does not indicate its priority or importance.
Instead, mute or turn off your phone whenever you can use One Tab to close lower-priority browser tabs and focus on what really matters. One simple productivity hack to help you achieve this is the “A-B-C-D-E Method.”
A-B-C-D-E goes like this: write down all your “to-do’s” and then categorize them into bins:
- A: A task that is vitally important that you must complete as soon as possible. There are negative consequences if you put this off
- B: A task that is important, but not as important as your “A” tasks. There might be consequences if you don’t do it, but the impact is not as big.
- C: A task that is “nice to do” but not as important as your A and B tasks and there are no negative consequences for not completing it
- D: A task that you should delegate.
- E: A task that should be eliminated whenever possible.
But how should we think about priorities in terms of importance? For startups, the answer is simple: the priority is growth (unless you’re dying, in which case, the priority is life or a clean slate). Like Paul Graham famously says, “If you get growth, everything else tends to fall into place. Which means you can use growth like a compass to make almost every decision you face.”
As long as you’re prioritizing the four essential avenues to startup value creation- (1) acquisition, (2) product, (3) team and (4) retention-your “A” and “B” tasks become fairly clear, while everything that doesn’t support efforts in these four areas washes out the bottom and off your to-do list. The focus is saying no to distractions (even if they’re fundamentally good ideas), experiment fast, fail faster, learn from your mistakes and always prioritize time and resource investments around acquisition, product, team and retention efforts that drive growth.
Follow some of these tips and you are bound to reach the epitome of success.