mastering time as an entrepreneur: understanding value and setting priorities

Mastering Time as an Entrepreneur: Understanding Value and Setting Priorities

As entrepreneurs ourselves, we understand the challenges when it comes to effectively managing our time, alongside maintaining our personal well-being. 


We know what it’s like to have a million things, all trying to get our attention at any given moment, and how hard it can be to tune in to what you really need to do in that moment while turning down the noise of everything else.


Productivity isn’t about the latest app, or craze, it’s about recognizing your goals and aspirations, and making steady progress (daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly) towards them. It also isn’t about working yourself into the ground and burning out. It’s about taking proper rest and nourishment so that when you are working, you’re properly equipped to do what needs to be done. 


Without clarity on what’s important, you can’t get a balance between work and well-being. And we’re going to state front and center that rest is productive. Yes. We believe that. That’s why we want to give you strategies to optimize your time so that you can prioritize your well-being. 


In this post, we'll guide you through understanding the foundational value of time, the importance of setting clear priorities, and how to strike a balance between productivity and well-being.


Understanding the Value of Time

Time is finite. That should go without saying, but we’re saying it anyway. You can’t get it back, once it’s gone, it’s gone. Boy, that sounds gloomy! But in entrepreneurship, it’s the most precious thing you have. You can always make more money, you can’t make more time. 


While understanding the value of time is foundational, it's also essential to reflect on our entrepreneurial journey.


The entrepreneurial dream vs. reality

Making the leap from the corporate world to entrepreneurship is a bold move. Many of us take that jump with dreams of more autonomy, the allure of flexible hours, and the desire to pursue a passion or make a tangible impact in the world. It's a vision of a life where you're not just working for a paycheck, but for a purpose.


But let's take a moment to reflect. Is your entrepreneurial journey shaping up the way you envisioned? Are you finding that balance between passion and profit, or does it sometimes feel like you've swapped one rat race for another?


It's not uncommon for entrepreneurs to find themselves unexpectedly caught in a whirlwind of tasks, feeling as if they're always on the clock. The freedom you sought can sometimes feel elusive. But remember, the beauty of entrepreneurship is the power to pivot, to adjust, and to realign with your original vision.


The importance of a time audit

The effects of poor time management (or time judgment) can lead to increased stress, burnout, and a compromised immune system. No one wants that. So, how can you master your time to get a harmonious balance between productivity and self-care?


First, you need to know exactly where your time is being spent. If you don’t know that, you can’t see problems, issues, overlaps and other elements that need to change. This is where a time audit comes into play.


And with that newfound knowledge, you can make informed decisions about where you want to invest your time, where you can cut back, and how to align your daily activities with your entrepreneurial goals.


Once you've got a clear picture of where your time is being spent, the next step is to align those findings with your goals and priorities.


What's a Time Audit, Anyway?

Think of a time audit as a magnifying glass for your day. It's a simple yet powerful tool that helps you track every activity you engage in, usually over a week or two. By the end of the audit, you might be surprised to discover those 'quick' social media breaks or 'short' email checks are eating up more of your day than you thought!


The beauty of a time audit is that it doesn't judge; it simply reveals. And with that newfound knowledge, you can make informed decisions about where you want to invest your time, where you can cut back, and how to align your daily activities with your entrepreneurial goals.


Identifying Priorities and Setting Goals

The need for clear priorities

Have you worked out what your priorities are? Have you set weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly goals? Are they working for you?


If your time management is a little wonky, it might help to re-evaluate those and see if you’re putting the right things on your plate at the right time. As entrepreneurs, we have all these ideas, goals, and strategies to get there, but sometimes they need a little tweaking to get them aligned with your well-being as well.


Outcome-based planning

Outcome-based planning can help here. This is where you get clear on your “why” and then work backward from there. This is effective because it’s a more holistic way to approach goal setting. It includes you paying attention to your resources, not just in terms of time but in terms of energy as well. We can’t be 100%, full tilt, rocket-fueled all the time, we’re just not built that way. By thinking more strategically about the desired outcome, we can see road blocks, challenges and problems before they occur. That means we can work out our own interventions in advance of when they happen.


Incorporating well-being into goals

Our well-being can influence our ability to reach a goal, so it makes perfect sense to take our well-being into account when creating goals, and plans to reach those goals. For example, if you have a cycle, and you know that one week out of the month you feel like utter crap, it makes sense to lessen the load on that week when creating your plan. Goals and outcomes don’t just have to be work-related either, you can (and we would hazard, should) have well-being goals. 


They can be as small as meditating for 5-minutes a day, all the way to training daily for a marathon. Whatever self-care and well-being looks like to you, can have a goal attached to it, if that makes sense for you, you don’t have to have goals for them if that puts too much pressure on you and takes the fun out of them!


While setting clear goals is crucial, it's equally important to approach them with a sense of adaptability. 


The importance of flexibility in planning (avoid over-scheduling)

Once you have a goal in mind, try and have a due date of when you’d like to get it completed by. This needs to be realistic and can (and probably will) change. If you know you have a big project and it’s due in 12-weeks, what are the objectives you need to have completed each week to keep it on track? Got ‘em? Great! Write them down!


Now you know what you have to have completed every week, can you get more granular and work out what you need to do daily to get the weekly bench-mark done. Look at your calendar. Get critical. Can you actually do everything in the time you’ve given yourself? At this point, you might be tempted to put everything in your calendar and leave very little, if any, white space. This is a mistake. 



As we've explored the essence of time and the importance of setting clear priorities, it's crucial to remember that the ultimate goal isn't just about getting more done, but about achieving a harmonious balance in our lives.


True productivity isn't about cramming every moment with tasks or working endless hours. It's about understanding the value of time, setting clear and achievable goals, and ensuring that our well-being isn't compromised in the process. 

But beyond the nitty-gritty of planning and scheduling, let's zoom out and look at the bigger picture of what true productivity means.


By aligning our entrepreneurial aspirations with our personal needs and roles, we can create a balanced life where self-care is given its due importance. And remember, rest isn't just a break; it's a productive activity in its own right, recharging us for the challenges ahead.


Stay tuned for our next post, where we'll delve deeper into hands-on strategies for time management, explore the underrated art of self-care, and introduce some tech tools that can revolutionize your daily routine.

Ready to find out more?

Our passion is helping ethical business owners succeed. We want to help you get your good work out into the world. We work to help you design and build a life and business that you love while making a positive difference in the world. If you'd like that kind of support, let's talk.

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