The life of a startup business leader is a busy one, requiring 24/7 multitasking and extreme organization skills. Here are a few tips to help you keep the chaos under control and keep track of your many responsibilities.
Hire a Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants can be hired to make phone calls, schedule appointments, mail packages, and do other administrative tasks that take up your valuable time. You can hire a virtual assistant through an online marketplace, but you may be able to get a better price by hiring someone privately. Think about finding a VA you like working with through a marketplace and asking them if they would be willing to work with you independently of the marketplace. They will get paid more, and you will likely pay less.
Of the many things you have on your to-do list for the day, there are probably some you can delegate. This goes not only for work-related tasks but also for household responsibilities. Could you free up another half-hour by asking your kids to help pick up the house at the end of the day? How about asking your partner or roommate to take care of dinner a couple of nights per week? Ask for help. The first few years of a business’ life are busy for everyone involved. It is okay to lean on your supporters for a little while.
Use One Calendar
You will have many, many meetings in your first couple of years, and you will also still have personal appointments. The key to keeping track of all of these obligations is to record them all on the same calendar. If you use multiple calendars, it is easy to double-book yourself and lose track of appointments. If you choose to use the calendar on your phone, you can usually create multiple sub-calendars to categorize appointments, although it really is best to have a single calendar, because you really can only be in once place at a time.
Lists are one of the oldest methods of keeping track of what you need to get done, and they still work to help keep you focused. Whether you use a smartphone app or a notepad that you carry around with you, whether you make short-term lists for what to accomplish in the next hour or long-term lists for what you want to accomplish over the next year, you should make lists. Don’t forget the list you keep beside your bed at night that you can write down all of the important thoughts you have as you drift off to sleep.
Declutter Your Workspace
When you are busy, it is easy for clutter to pile up. Working in a messy, cluttered environment will make it difficult for you to find things and work efficiently. For a big purge, organization experts recommend removing everything from your workspace and then only putting back the things that you use regularly. Everything else can be tossed. To keep the clutter under control, tidy up your workspace at the end of every day. Papers should be filed, garbage thrown away, and your desk cleared for the next time you come sit down to work.
There are some tasks that we need to do every day. Try to develop routines that include these tasks so that they aren’t forgotten, but they don’t take up too much time or mental energy. Email can be a huge drain on your energy, so consider only checking your email at set times throughout the day. Try to make phone calls at around the same time every day, all in one block, so you get them all done together. Include some breaks and exercise into your routines to make sure those important things happen, too.
Take Time for Yourself
Lastly, be sure to schedule time for yourself. Most small businesses like Hampton Creek Foods encourage all employees to take personal time to avoid burnout. Doing so will give you the energy you need to handle the long days and stressful situations that come along with starting a business. It doesn’t need to be a lot of time, but making time for a purely pleasurable lunch with a friend, a quick basketball game on the weekend, and cuddle time with your partner and kids in the evenings will keep you happy and motivated to do your best work.
By managing your time, clearing your workspace regularly, and making time for yourself, you can keep on top of your busy schedule. With planning and delegation, you can free up time for innovation that will help make your business successful.