In today’s fast-paced world, there never seems to be enough time in the day to accomplish everything you want. Making the most of every hour is important for any busy professional, but it’s especially vital for entrepreneurs, who often wear many hats and juggle a long list of responsibilities in their business.
If you frequently find yourself wishing for an extra hour or two, there are ways to maximize how you use your time. Below, the members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their 14 favorite strategies to stretch those 24 hours and accomplish more each day.
Q. Today’s world is fast-paced, and there never seems to be enough time to accomplish everything we want. What’s one suggestion you’d give entrepreneurs who are looking for creative ways to stretch the hours of their day, and why?
1. Accept What You Can Successfully Do in a Day
First off, you have to accept that there’s only so much you can accomplish in a day and that’s OK. Get in a positive headspace about what you can successfully get done in a single day and what may take longer. From there, try block scheduling! Dedicate time to every task (both professional and personal commitments) to eliminate distractions. This will help keep your mind clear and efficient. – Shay Berman, Digital Resource
2. Complete Quick Tasks Immediately
One of my productivity secrets is simple but harder than it sounds: If a task can be completed in five minutes or less, do it now. I used to put quick tasks on my list and they would pile up and up. After years of doing that, I discovered there’s no time like the present! So now, I do it now. – Kelly Ann Collins, Vult Lab
3. Improve Your Focus with Meditation
I find that many tasks take longer than needed simply because we’re unable to focus on them continuously. Taking half an hour each day to meditate can pay off when you save hours a week because you have an improved ability to focus. It’s not necessary to sit and meditate either. You can do a walking meditation and get your exercise for the day out of the way too, creating more time for work. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
4. Prioritize What’s Truly Important
The first step is to prioritize and decide what’s truly important. After that, I find it helpful to set aside specific blocks of time to tackle these tasks. I’d avoid multitasking as much as possible, as it can have you running back and forth between projects and not getting anything finished. Giving something your full attention lets you get it done faster. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
5. Make a Daily Plan
Organization and daily planning must be key priorities for an entrepreneur. Whether in the early hours of the day or even the day before, making time to plan different aspects of your day will allow you to know the time you have and the main tasks you must perform or commitments you must fulfill. This in turn will help you delegate those tasks that can be done by others and thus increase your productivity for the day. – Kevin Leyes, Leyes Media
6. Be Selective About What You Say ‘Yes’ To
We should learn to live by Steve Jobs’s advice: Say “no” to almost everything. Even though it may feel like you will miss out on opportunities, in reality, you’re just focusing more on a few and ignoring the rest. This is very important when you’re striving to reach your big goals so you don’t waste time with too many irrelevant tasks. – Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz
7. Block Out Your Time
Work in blocks and take frequent breaks. Breaking down what you want to accomplish in the next 30 minutes on a notepad helps keep you focused and aligned. During these blocks, avoid checking email, answering phone calls, and multitasking. – Chase Williams, Market My Market
8. Break Tasks Into Smaller Ones
Devise a weekly schedule and then break down each task into smaller tasks. For example, if you’re working on recruiting new employees, pick a specific day of the week for reviewing applications, another for responding to shortlisted applicants, and another for conducting your interviews, etc. This helps you stay focused on one task at a time, making things more efficient and saving you time too. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
9. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep well without oversleeping to avoid acting like a zombie the next day. You can’t stretch your hours for sure, but you can definitely maximize your day by being ready for the day and healthy. Being too busy may seem like a good thing, but a restless body leads to a deteriorated one, plus an inefficient entrepreneur. – Daisy Jing, Banish
10. Set a Timer for Your Task or Project
Oftentimes, working on a daunting or overwhelming task can seem so intimidating that starting is the hardest part. Or even worse, when working on a big deliverable, the research takes you down such a rabbit hole that you waste hours with no results. Set a timer when you start working on a project and aim to achieve your goal by the time it rings. It turns the task into a game! – Steven Knight, Mosaic Home Services Ltd.
11. Combine Activities on Your List
There’s no reason you can’t have a brainstorming session combined with a trip to the gym. Every meal is a networking or check-in opportunity as well. These opportunities to be efficient also give you an opportunity to share some fun experiences with partners, mentors, friends, and colleagues. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts
12. Establish a Set Work Schedule
I’d suggest that entrepreneurs sit down and think about how long they are willing to commit to work every day. If you walk in with a free-form approach, there’s a good chance you will not reach your maximum productivity. Instead, establish the time you are willing to work and get as much done during that period as you can. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC
13. See What Tasks You Can Drop
There are many tasks that can be automated or even given to a virtual assistant. Create a list of your daily activities and look at whether you can drop doing some of them on your own. For example, you can use a social media management tool or an online assistant to publish posts to different networks. Small changes like this can free up hours a week. – Blair Williams, MemberPress
14. Do the Most Important Tasks First
I find doing my most important tasks (even if I’m dreading them) first thing in the morning is the best use of my time because then I won’t be thinking about them for the rest of the day. My thought is to get it over with so I can move onto the most exciting things on my list. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.