Most entrepreneurs waste a lot of time by not having a productive system in place for managing their time. We will now discuss three of the most popular, proven and effective systems for managing time as an entrepreneur.
The Getting Things Done (GTD) System
The GTD system involves basically making sure that there is nothing on your mind that isn’t written down somewhere. Any time you have a thought that entails a task or action you need to take, write it down. A small notebook you can carry with you everywhere is perfect for this. At the end of the day, everything you have written down is put into some sort of task-tracking system, such as an app or spreadsheet or project management software.
As you add them, sort out all your tasks into categories. Prioritize the ones that have a set deadline. Divide by where you can accomplish the task. For example, you might sort your categories into At Office, At Home, At Store, Online and At Phone. Any time you are at the office, you can look at your At Office list and do any one of the tasks that you have sorted into that task file.
This is a simplified version of a very complex and powerful system. To learn the ins and outs, either purchase the original book or Google “Getting Things Done” by David Allen for a more in-depth explanation.
The Pomodoro System
The Pomodoro system seeks to eliminate time wasting that often comes with checking email, wandering online and other such activities that aren’t productive. A Pomodoro is a time unit of 25 minutes. Once you start a Pomodoro, you cannot stop. A Pomodoro is pure work, with no email or bathroom breaks in between. You get a 5 minute break at the end of each Pomodoro.
The word Pomodoro is Italian for tomato and refers to the timer used in the system. You can use any kitchen timer or online timer. Set the clock, work right through, then enjoy your 5 minute break. At then end of 3 Pomodoros, you get a 30 minute break. Use your Pomodoros and breaks wisely and you should soon see a difference in efficiency and productivity.
The Steven Covey System
The Steven Covey system ranks tasks by two scales: Whether the task is important or not important, and whether the task is urgent or not urgent.
A task that is urgent but not important might be answering a ringing phone from a friend. It feels like you must do it now, but it is probably not that important. A task that is important but not urgent might be finding your life’s purpose, spending time with your children or managing your finances. They are all important, but there is no immediate pressure to perform the task.
Stephen Covey has spent his life looking at the habits of successful people. He asserts that we tend to spend too much time on things that are urgent, but not important, and not enough time on things that are important, but not urgent. To remedy this, rank your task list by how important tasks are and how urgent they appear to be. Put an emphasis on getting important tasks done, even at the expense of tasks that seem urgent right now. Work with your deadlines and priorities to get it all done.
These are three very different systems for managing your time as an entrepreneur. Each system has avid followers that swear by it. Learn more about time management and see which system/s work best for you, for increased productivity and success.