Time management tips for solo business owners

Mai Fenton
Chief Marketing Officer
11 December 2020
5 minute read

How do you manage your time like a boss, when you are the boss? And you’re the finance, sales, marketing, credit control and research team too? Being a solo business owner can be tough.

I love my business and I love the freedom being an entrepreneur gives me.

Says Tyler Read, CEO of PTPioneer.

However, when you first make the switch from employee to business owner, it’s difficult to keep yourself from working every free second you have. What I’ve learned is that clearly delineating your work life and personal life will not only make life more enjoyable, but it’s essential to your success.

Time management

We asked solopreneurs like Tyler to share their tip time management hacks. Check out our 9 top tips to smash your goals:

Time block

I diarise time dedicated to what I call ‘departments' of my business, which if I was bigger, would sit under a particular department” says Karen, Founder of Blomma Beauty. “On Mondays I plan social content, email marketing and add copy to the website. Whilst there may be different sub-tasks each week, by blocking out time, it helps me to not get sucked into [too many tasks].

Visualise your time

Once you’ve blocked out time in your calendar so you can see exactly what time you’re dedicated to each task, try grouping and colour coding those activities. You will be able to see at a glance which areas of your business are absorbing the most time, and which are neglected.

Identify high impact tasks

Not all actions are equal. It’s easy to fill your day with low impact busywork, responding to tasks that seem urgent but don’t move your business forward in the future.

Ensure that your understand what your key objectives for your business and then structure your quarter, week, days with specific tasks focused on your objective” says Rafael Rozenson, Founder and CEO of Vieve Protein Water: “If your objective is to grow the business by 50% then your number one priority might be driving sales and you need to be spending 2-3 hours per day on finding sales leads, closing deals, prospecting customers etc.

Outsource

Does that need to be done? Does it need to be done by me? Two simple questions which can transform the way you work. If it’s not strictly necessary, and if you don’t need to be the one to do it, ditch it.
And if it really has to be done, see if you can outsource. Invest in support from a virtual assistant, try affordable freelancing sites lie People per hour or Fiverr, and make sure you’ve set up every possible automation using sites like Zapier, or IFTT, so you’re not wasting time sending emails or processing invoices when you could be creating or strategizing.

Say no more

There's only so much time in a day and you can only do so much.

Says Ramon Ray, the founder of Smart Hustle media.

You must prioritise and decide what's most important on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. Time management is all about prioritizing what's most important. Say NO more often.

Prioritise, plan and protect

Effective time management, especially when you are starting something new, can really be boiled down to three critical steps: prioritize, plan, and protect

Says Samantha Lane , Productivity Coach and Creator of Origami Day. Here’s how that works, according to Samantha:

1. Prioritize – “If everything is important, then nothing is.” What adds to the bottom line? What moves the needle in your business? What has the most significant impact? That is usually a good place to start. Using a tool like the Eisenhower Urgency Matrix is also a great way to evaluate if your time is spent on the most important items.

2. Planning – Time is finite. We cannot make any more, so it’s important to make the most of the time we have. Planning your week in advance is a great way to strategically map out what you can realistically accomplish given all the other aspects of life. It’s important here to be realistic and aim for no more than 3-5 tasks/projects per day.

3. Protecting – Deciding what is important and mapping out a strategic way to get there is wasted time if you don’t stick to the plan. If you decide to spend an hour on creative tasks, don’t let your administrative tasks distract you. Commit to the plan, trust it, and adjust it if needed. Reducing the push notifications from your phone and computer will also be extremely useful in sticking to the project at hand.”

Work in sprints

I find the Pomodoro Technique of 25 minute cycles of intense work followed by 5 minutes of down time really useful for splitting time and increasing productivity.

Says Freya Blount, Founder of Gather and Graze.

Whilst 25 minute slots can seem short, it prevents you from dwelling on a task and ensures all areas of the business can be given the necessary attention.

Eat the frog

Rebecca Newenham, Founder & Director of Get Ahead VA says:

I always ‘Eat the frog’, tackling the hardest tasks first to get them out the way. This frees up my headspace for the rest of the day as I am no longer worrying or thinking about it.

Use the right tools to keep you on track

Okay, the tool is never what decides your results. It’s how you use them. But are you using your productivity tools to make your priorities visible, to boost your drive and keep you focused? If not, all the to do lists in the world can’t keep you on track.

I juggle several different business projects alongside freelance work.

Says Ben Taylor, solopreneur and founder of www.homeworkingclub.com..

There are various ways that I manage my time, and they’re all held together with Trello and Outlook. At a high level, I take time out to establish short, medium and long term priorities every three months. These are documented and there’s a sheet on the wall of my home office, by my bed, and on the desktop of my laptop.

With a visual reminder of your priorities and the dream you’re trying to achieve, you can feel clear on your mission. With clarity comes the confidence you need to say no, strip back distractions, and get back to doing the work you love.

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