Time is precious and the ability to spend it right is the predominant thing that define successful entrepreneurs from the amateurs.

Time is a crucial and valuable resource, especially when you’re working on a startup. Due to the fact, time burns money (and money is the foundation to keep startup alive) it is crucial to be able to prioritize your tasks while starting a business. It’s super important to use your time in the best way possible to maximize your small business's chance for success.

Read the article Startup: Expectations vs Reality

Surely, trying to squeeze all the required personal and business tasks while having only 24 hours in a day is quite daunting. On the other hand, smart time management will let you prioritize your time right and having to allocate those hours across the startup versus everything else that is important to you like your family and friends, leisure and hobbies.

Everyone has different situations and different routines, so the article aims to help you figure out how to spend those several hours that you’ve decided to use for your startup development. Note, that prioritizing the time will be more beneficial when you already know the approximate scope of the project. So, having a visionary idea, a task list, and other elements will only be a plus.

Read the article 7 Expert Development Tips for Building a Startup

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Real vs Fake Progress

The predominant thing that might become an obstacle to success is the fake progress. You should do a clear distinction between the fake and real progress to maximize your time efficiency.

This is the easiest way to classify whether the task goes in the “should do” or the “should not do” list. If it contributes to real startup progress, you should consider doing it and if it doesn’t, then don’t. Real startup progress is when you’re focused on the growth of your startup. In the beginning, the best way to show this is through the growth of the primary KPI.

Primary KPI is a thing to focus on growing and it should be the one to pay attention while prioritizing time for your small business. The primary KPI is either revenue or active users. The tasks may include direct talking to users and iterating your product while you should do weekly goals for these activities.

In fact, talking to users can help you with many things, like it converts them into customers and revenue, helps you to understand if you’re one the right track of the product development process, and providing solutions to the users to see if it actually translates into more customers and revenue. So, as you came up with these ideas, you should log them into your spreadsheet, and keep doing that, as every idea you get.

On the other hand, fake progress is when entrepreneurs do not focus on the things that directly related to growing the primary KPI. For instance, attending conferences, optimizing the wrong metrics and organizing team events. These activities are many steps away from delivering real value to your customers. The goal is to optimize startup vanity and delivering value to your customers which eventually will help you to increase your KPI.

But how to know if you’re prioritizing the right tasks? How to know that you’re concentrating on increasing your primary KPI? In fact, there are a lot of possibilities to do so. For example, you can try to write your daily tasks and activities in the journal. This is a good practice to identify the low-value work that takes a lot of your time. The thing is people tend to do things on autopilot so we don’t give much thought to what we’re doing with our time. In addition, low-value work is usually the easiest and quickest thing to accomplish; therefore, it is sort of the instinct to start with such tasks first.

But the key is don’t do them right away. Just write them down, while tracking this list. Then, once a week, go through each item in your spreadsheet and grade the new and re-grade the old items based on how impactful you think the task would be on achieving the weekly goal for your primary KPI.

There are three grades you can give to each task on your list: high, medium, low. In general, high means its a task you believe that will help you meet your goal for the week with high probability, the medium is you’re not sure, but with okey probability, you can hit your weekly goal, and low is with very low probability. It ‘s pretty easy to figure out what those low and high-value tasks are when you compare them against everything else you could be doing.

Another crucial thing is to understand how complex the task is and how long would it take to finish them. Due to the fact there are many tasks within each category, the ranking system is crucial here. Low is for easy tasks and something that could be done in less than a day, a medium is usually takes one or two days to finish and the hard task is the one that takes days and even weeks to finish and implement. Once you grade all of your tasks, you’ll have the chance to look through the complexity of them and revise if you need it. So, given the objective is to hit your weekly goal, the smart decision is to combine different grades of the tasks like low and difficult or difficult and medium. To go for the combos of high impact and is easy to do you should always do those first and then do to the high-impact and medium-complexity tasks.

Another crucial thing to remember is that selecting the right task to work on. You shouldn’t do everything at once. But what you should do is to choose tasks that you will be able to complete and do it well. Quality before quantity is a key here. Eventually, you know you’ve done things well when you will hit your weekly goals. Additionally, do an ongoing evaluation of your weekly updates, it will help you improve how you select and prioritize tasks. Once in a while, you should review all your weekly updates from the beginning, the first one you ever wrote for your startup, to the current one. If you are not satisfied with your progress, ask yourself did you learn something new? Did you let fake progress intrude into your schedule? Reviewing your updates will help you realize that, and will force you to try to get yourself out of that bad loop.

Read the article Top 5 Startup Challenges and How to Deal with Them

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Top Time Management Tips

Set goals

The foundation of good time management is knowing where you're going and how to get there. Setting goals can help you create a plan to guide your business where you want it to be.

It is difficult to accomplish anything without specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound (SMART = specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) goals. When it comes to time management, productivity, and goal attainment, working to accomplish the small, short-term goals matters the most.

You can start by breaking down your long-term goals into monthly goals, then break them down even further into weekly and daily goals. Your goals for each day will help you set a target and measure when you've hit it successfully.

Prioritize wisely

You may not get everything done, every day. Most of us will always have a few items leftover every day that we didn't get completed. You might think about establishing a priority task list, or at least know which ones you can drop. In order to avoid dropping a glass ball, take time to clarify what your priorities are and schedule the time to do your most important tasks when you are most productive. Or, as mentioned previously, use the pre-planned time to catch up.

Plan ahead

Plan your month, week, and days based on the goals you have set for yourself, and the work that needs to be done. You might need to make book entries every day, so plan this time. Plan your feedback sessions with employees in advance. Plan time for everything you need to do.

If you have set monthly goals for your business, work backward from the date you want the goals accomplished. Plan some checkpoints for the tasks that need to be completed for the goals to be reached.

Prioritize the checkpoints by subtasks that need to be completed—for example, if task A needs task B to be completed, plan the activities needed for task B by the end of the first week so that task A can be finished at the end of the second week. Do this for all your weekly, monthly, and semi-annual goals.

Delegate more often

There is nothing wrong with passing the buck to someone else. When you have more on your plate than you can handle, it might be time to delegate. A good way to start delegating is to determine what tasks you can pass on that are not essential for you to do personally.Then, identify an employee capable of performing the task, and ensure you are briefed on the results.

Track your time

Time tracking with a dedicated time tracking tool can be an excellent way to manage time, even when you don't need to track your time spent on the client or billable work.

Tracking your time throughout the day can help you increase productivity in two ways. First, it can keep you focused on the task you're working on right at that moment.

Second, time tracking can give you a picture of exactly where your time is being spent. If you have never done this before, it is eye-opening and provides valuable insight into how you spend your time.

If you're honest in documenting your time and activities, you'll be able to identify some strengths, weaknesses, and how much time you actually spend working on tasks.

Read the article 3 Steps to Evaluate Your Startup Idea

Conclusion

So, while it’s great to know how to prioritize your most valuable tasks and work, you should also be realistic about how much can actually be done. You should distinguish between real and fake progress and concentrate on growing your primary KPI. We suggest you write your daily tasks and activities in the journal and grade each task to high, medium and low priority. Additionally, define the complexity of each task so you will know approximate time you need to deal with them.

We hope that you will find this article useful in your future career endeavours. In case you still have any questions or suggestions feel free to contact us and we gladly assist you in any inquiries.