As a startup founder, time management and priority setting are very important. There are many things you need to do every day and at times it can be overwhelming to decide what to do first. These four steps will help you better understand where you should focus your efforts.
Step one: Formulate your long-term goals.
I recommend splitting your goals into three categories: “must have”, “would like to have”, and “nice to have”. This allows you to assess the importance of each initiative as it relates to the overall objective of building your company as well as to what you aim to achieve near-term. Once you set your goals and prioritize them, you can determine the individual steps for accomplishing each of them.
Step two: Determine interdependencies between different tasks.
Sometimes certain tasks are dependent on others being complete first. Therefore, it is important to identify such “bottleneck” tasks in the beginning so that you can schedule them accordingly and ensure that the project moves forward smoothly. Furthermore, if you are working as a team, you need to take into account what activities other teammates need to complete before you can do your part of the work and vice versa.
Step three: Structure your day effectively and know when to take a break.
I recommend that you do your emails in blocks of time because answering email after email can be very disruptive to your workflow. Similarly, it is best to schedule your meetings and calls in blocks of time as well. Lastly, it is essential to take a break when you need to and not to force yourself to work because likely you will not be productive anyway and your next day’s productivity may also be adversely affected.
Step four: Find time to reassess and reflect upon your progress.
It is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day details and lose sight of the bigger picture. Taking time regularly to reflect on what has been accomplished, what has worked, what has not worked, and most importantly determining what needs to be adjusted is crucial to maximizing your weekly productivity and overall success. One effective way to do this is to have a weekly or bi-weekly meeting with your Board of Advisors.