How to Optimise Time Management for Start-up Success Part 1
Updated: Aug 20
Being a founder of a start-up, you may often feel there aren’t enough hours in the day. You're on the third take of your promo video, you’re frantically scheduling in your social posts, chasing that invoice that’s 6 weeks overdue, whilst rewriting your deck after it got torn to shreds in your last pitch. Oh, and your website just went down…
This is the real-life of a start-up founder. So how can you manage your time more effectively, when there is so much going on?
Firstly, it’s important not to fall into the trap of trying to get ‘everything done, as this is an impossible task in a start-up. Instead, you need to be ruthless with your priorities and adopt great time management techniques.
Let’s be honest. You’re wearing so many hats, your diary appointments are packed like sardines and you’re being pulled in every direction. This can result in losing motivation and missing important deadlines.
But good management skills can increase productivity, reduce stress, and improve your sense of achievement. Using an effective time management system ensures your goals are clarified and the most important tasks are prioritised, which will leave you with more time to focus on the things that matter.
Top tips for time management
1. Create a to-do list
Creating a list is a simple yet extremely effective way to work out everything that needs to get done. Start off by writing out everything that you need to accomplish over the next two weeks and then plan out how each task will get done with a rough time frame. Creating a visual to-do list is also proven to help your memory, productivity, motivation, reduce anxiety and bring a sense of accomplishment when you tick off that task later.
Look at your list and flag high priority tasks putting them at the top. Reduce your list to one week using the most important tasks and then sort them again picking out which jobs need to be accomplished on each day considering the time frame for each. Group tasks by project or type to make it clearer to arrange and sort into your schedule. Check out The Eisenhower Matrix for a great system to do this.
Work each task into your diary with a time frame for completion, but add on 50% extra time. Things always take longer than you think. Use a calendar scheduling tool and categorise tasks using a colour system. This will create a way for you to glance at your calendar and know what each task is regarding during the day.
4. Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system that encourages you to work with the time you have. It uses a specific method by breaking a workday into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks, these intervals are referred to as Pomodoro’s. This technique is proven to increase work turnover and quality meaning more work, better quality all with the same hours in a day. It helps you resist self-interruptions and re-trains your brains to focus. Each Pomodoro is dedicated to one task and each break is a chance to reset and bring your attention back to what you should be working on.
5. Avoid multitasking
Resist the urge to change between multiple activities as much as possible. Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time therefore, multitasking takes longer as you will need to refocus on a task when you switch. It also can reduce the quality of work when full focus is not implemented as your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.
Running a start-up can certainly be stressful but we hope we have helped make the journey a little easier with these time management tips.
Here at Enterprise Orchard we constantly advise and support start-ups. If you are trying to grow your business and need advice and guidance, join our Engine Room programme now. It’s a ground-breaking peer learning programme providing expert guidance through weekly Zoom sessions. Each group is small with only 6 founders in each.
We also include expert-led masterclasses delivered every 3 weeks by our partners, this programme is a chance to be part of an engaged community of founders, delivering business growth and collaboration for start-up success.
Find out more about our Engine Room programme here: https://www.enterpriseorchard.co.uk/the-engine-room