If you investigate the lives of super successful people in any depth, you soon realize that they’re obsessed with time. Take Donald Trump, for instance. Back before he was president of the US, he ran his real estate company according to the clock. Every morning he would rise at around 5 am and just sit for a couple of hours, reading all the news and absorbing information. He made sure that he used every hour of the day to maximize his output and deliver the performance shareholders wanted. In the process, he made himself very wealthy indeed.
But he’s not the only billionaire entrepreneur known to be completely obsessed with time. There are many others. How about Elon Musk? Musk has repeatedly stated that time is an entrepreneur’s best friend and that people who are beginning their own startups should throw every hour of the day that they have available to make them as great as possible. Then there’s Jaron Lanier, a Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs who founded a string of companies and sold them for millions of dollars. He says that people should work as hard as they can to produce the best product because if they don’t, other people will.
The problem for many entrepreneurs is that they just aren’t that good with time. They’ll spend a couple of hours in a meeting without even thinking about how their time could be better spent. Other entrepreneurs are those who spend too much time focusing on small issues without looking at the bigger picture. It’s easy to get bogged down with a difficult client rather than abandon a project for the long-term viability of the business.
Here is some hard-won advice on how to make best use of your time.
Block Out Distractions
Distractions are a time killer. Even if you think that you’re good at multitasking, it turns out that you’re probably not. People are, in general, very bad at switching between tasks. It takes a lot of time for your brain to adjust to the new activity and then flip back to what you were doing before you were interrupted. Things like Facebook can be a time sink without you even realizing it and take you away from tasks that are really adding value to customers.
Incorporate Planned Interruptions
Working out how to structure your work day with constant interruptions is difficult. That’s why many entrepreneurs plan for them explicitly. Interruptions are a fact of life when you’re running a business, so they should be included in your schedule. Make sure that you have some equivalent of “office hours” where anybody is free to approach you with issues and questions.
Prioritize Tasks That Yield Results
As an entrepreneur at the helm of a business, your time is precious. How you decide to spend it can mean the difference between a business succeeding and failing. Make sure that you spend at least half of your time doing the things that produce the greatest returns. If that means being out of the office meeting with clients for half of the week, then so be it.
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