Time Management Series: The Solopreneur

Life as a solopreneur is as exhausting as it is rewarding…but maybe more so exhausting at first. Your to-do list is never-ending, and you have many personal obligations to balance with your time spent working on your business. Interruptions are inevitable and the plan always seems to change day to day.

How do you manage your 24 hours? As a solopreneur, you undoubtedly put in more hours per day than the average person so it’s important for your health, and the health of your business, to maximize the time you spend on tasks. Developing time management skills is crucial to your success. If you haven’t already, start by implementing a time management system, use it for time blocking your entire day, and learn how to effectively manage interruptions.

Implement a Time Management System

Maybe you’re more traditional when it comes to managing your time and you prefer to physically write your to-do list down and eliminate items as you go. You can’t beat that sense of accomplishment when you cross off one of the tasks you’ve been dreading. However, among the many benefits of the digital world, one of the most advantageous is the real-time analytics offered.

There are many time management systems available to help you better understand how you’re spending your time and to simply make life easier for you. This software can block distracting websites, set reminders, allow you to easily build to-do lists, and link many of your other apps such as Slack. Above all, you can track where you’re spending most of your time and decide if it’s really beneficial to your business. 

Time Blocking for the Solopreneur 

This is a big one, and arguably the most important. Time blocking is one of the best ways for you to manage your time. Time blocking is a way for solopreneurs to schedule all of their activities within their day. This includes activities such as family time, breaks, exercise, and your work to-do list. 

Invest some time to set up your time blocking infrastructure, but once you get set up, it’s truly a problem solver. This is a great guide to helping you get started with time blocking, it’s broken down into steps:

  1. Establish your priorities – Figure out what’s urgent and what’s important, then tackle those tasks first. 
  2. Start outside the workday – This highlights the idea that you should block time for everything, this could look like scheduling your morning meditation, breakfast, and time for reading before you get started. Since it’s blocked out time anyways, there’s no need to feel guilty about making time for yourself.
  3. Factor in time-consuming tasks vs. quick tasks – Be sure to start with meaningful work tasks (tasks that take more than 15 minutes) and then knock out the quick daily tasks.
  4. Factor in time for reactive tasks – Again, make time for everything. If you don’t include the reactive tasks, like follow-ups, getting ready for the day, making dinner, etc. you’ll find that your time blocking is failing you. The beauty of time blocking is that is accounts for everything and gives you more control of your day.
  5. Write your to-do list and add it to your blocks – Whether these tasks are temporary or repeating, remember to add or sync your to-do list. It’s recommended to create categories and color code the different elements of your day. Google Calendar works well for time-blocking. If you have an app you already use for your to-do lists, such as these, you can sync it with Google Calendar. 

Manage Interruptions

A solopreneur must master the art of handling interruptions. The good news is now that your schedule accounts for all aspects of your day, it’s so much easier to manage interruptions. If something time-sensitive comes up, you can clearly see what you can move around in order to address that matter. Or, you might see emails flooding in, and it’s probably in your nature to read and respond right away. Try to refrain from this until the allotted time. 

As a solopreneur, you must account for all aspects of your business and the same concept translates to how you spend your time. Take a step back and analyze every part of your day – your personal, family, social and work-related tasks. Keep track of how you spend your time with a time management system. You can’t fix what you don’t know is a problem. Time blocking will not only save you time, but make you more available for personal time, keep you on track with your goals, and help you manage any and all interruptions headed your way. Take back control of your time.