Do you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day? Many people feel like they have too many things to do and not enough time, especially entrepreneurs.
According to this survey by the Alternative Board, 84% of entrepreneurs work over 40 hours per week. However, many of these entrepreneurs could potentially cut their working hours substantially by implementing time-management techniques.
Throughout my entrepreneurial journey, I’ve honed my productivity process, which has allowed me to schedule my entire life right down to the minute. Although this rigid schedule might seem extreme to some, scheduling has allowed me to become the most productive I’ve ever been.
Want to learn how I did it? Here are 4 time hacks entrepreneurs can use to free up more time ↴
# 1 Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals to Free Up More Time
What are S.M.A.R.T. Goals?
S.M.A.R.T. Goals are specific goals with tangible steps that increase your chances of achieving them.
S.M.A.R.T. stands for:
S – Specific: This step refers to identifying what you plan to accomplish and the actions you plan to take. The goal must be specific enough so that you can create actionable steps to achieve it. You’re less likely to achieve vague goals because no defined objectives exist.
M – Measurable: This step refers to the data you will measure to track your progress. Using tangible data can help you see what areas you need to improve and what areas you’re succeeding at.
A – Achievable: This step determines whether the goal is doable and realistic for your lifestyle. Within this step, you can also identify whether or not you have the resources to complete the goal. This step can allow you to set realistic goals without burning out.
R – Relevant: This step analyzes whether your goal is relevant to your big goals and the relevance of the outcome. Setting goals that move you closer to your life’s vision is important. Setting irrelevant goals wastes time and energy that could be better spent elsewhere.
T – Time-Bound: This step sets the time frame in which you hope to accomplish the goal. This final step is critical to achieving the goal because deadlines create urgency.
- S.M.A.R.T. Goals are great tools for breaking up large goals into actionable steps, especially if you get overwhelmed by large goals.
- Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals can help you measure your progress more tangibly. Measuring your progress is a great visual for those who need a boost in motivation to progress forward.
- S.M.A.R.T. Goals can identify your strengths and weaknesses. Understanding where your strengths and weaknesses lie can help you adjust your strategy to move you closer to your goals.
# 2 Use Leverage to Free Up More Time
“Leverage” is something that can give you an advantage. You can use leverage to increase your return on investment.
As an entrepreneur, using other people’s resources can save you time because you’re not having to use your own resources.
Types of Leverage
Other People’s Time
Leveraging other people’s time means offloading specific tasks that take up too much of your time and hiring someone else to help you complete them.
Other People’s Ideas
Leveraging other people’s ideas means finding an idea that already works, such as the electric car, and putting your own unique spin on it to improve it.
The purpose of using other people’s ideas is to avoid trying to come up with completely original ideas that may or may not work. By leveraging other people’s ideas, you already know they work because the ideas are successful. Just be sure to make it your own and to check on trademarks and copyrights!
Other People’s Work
As entrepreneurs, it can be tempting to do everything ourselves. However, we don’t have the time and resources to do that. So, hiring highly skilled individuals can help your business run smoothly without you having to do all the work.
Other People’s Skills
Leveraging other people’s skills means curating your relationships to find highly skilled individuals you can learn from. Learning from books and videos is important, but learning from an experienced individual can provide valuable insight that you can’t anywhere else.
Other People’s Network and Resources
Relationships are a powerful tool for increasing your chances of success. Forming relationships with successful people can open up a world of possibilities and knowledge you didn’t have, which may save time.
Relationships are a powerful tool for increasing your chances of success.
Automation and Systems
Leveraging automation and systems means automating tasks that take up time. For example, setting up bills on autopay, so you don’t have to spend time completing them. Using automation and systems can save you time because you’re not having to perform these tasks yourself.
#3 Develop Discipline and Habits
Wake Up Earlier
Many people might disagree with me on this one. However, waking up earlier has allowed me to accomplish much more than I used to.
When I was in my twenties playing piano professionally, I would play piano until 2:00am, have a jam session with the other artists until 5:00 or 6:00am, eat “dinner,” and go to sleep at 7:00am.
It wasn’t until after I stumbled across old notes I took at a seminar featuring Wayne Allyn Root that I began to change my morning habits.
Wayne Allyn Root did a presentation called “Positive Addictions,” where he talks about getting up one hour earlier each day to take a morning walk. However, he didn’t immediately start getting up one hour earlier; he got up one minute earlier each day. In two months, he was getting up an hour earlier with ease.
Inspired by his story, I took it upon myself to implement the same habits into my own life. I went from getting up at noon to 6:00am in 320 days, eventually reaching 4:00am, then 3:30am.
The Purpose of Waking Up Earlier
I’m telling you this story because waking up earlier has been a huge time saver for me. Because I wake up at 3:30am every day, I have much more time to get work done, spend time with my kids, and fill my days with productive habits.
#4 Improve Your Time-Management Skills
Day chunking involves breaking up your day into multiple segments dedicated to specific tasks. For example, I break my day up into four chunks – early morning, mid-morning, midday, and afternoon.
Breaking up my day like this allows me to set my focus on certain tasks within that chunk that need to be done, increasing my productivity.
Most people have a peak time of the day when they’re the most productive. For example, I feel the best in the early morning, which is why I wake up so early.
Time-chunking involves breaking up large units of time into smaller units. For example, I break up my time within my day chunks into 15-minute intervals. I found that 15-minute intervals were the sweet spot for accomplishing tasks.
The 60/60/30 method is where you work for an hour, take a 10-minute break, work for another hour, take another 10-minute break, work for 30 minutes, and then take a 10-minute break. At the end of this method, you should have worked 2.5 hours. I find this time-management method to be super useful for people who like deadlines or timers when working. You can repeat this method as often as needed to complete your work.
Project chunking is where you break up your day according to the projects on your to-do list. This method aims to perform similar tasks related to one project to boost productivity and efficiency. Instead of performing one task and then moving on to another unrelated task, do all related tasks in one sitting.
Delegating and Automating
You can delegate and automate any tasks that take time and don’t require your expertise. For example, you can hire someone to answer your emails and schedule social posts. You can automate your bills so that you don’t have to take the time to pay them. These small things accumulate over time, allowing you to free up more time.
Creating a Daily Schedule
Creating a daily schedule is a great way to prioritize your time and see where you could improve. Creating a daily schedule also allows you to map out all your daily tasks, maximizing productivity and freeing up your time.