Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future…

Posted: March 18, 2012 by Chuck Matthews in People, Planning, Startup

Did you remember to “Spring Forward” this past weekend?  As we set our clocks ahead one hour, I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes attributed to humorist Art Buchwald, “Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got.”  Very insightful on a number of fronts, but especially for nascent entrepreneurs, who are always time challenged whether it is daylight savings time or not.  When combined with management guru Peter Drucker’s sage counsel, “Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else,” it raises two questions, “What can entrepreneurs do to optimize the ever increasing demands on their time, especially when getting a new venture off the ground?” and “What can we do to manage time to preclude it managing us?”

 “Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future…” Steve Miller

With so many distractions, interruptions, and options, sometimes staying focused is next to impossible.  For a nascent entrepreneur, however, time management is critical.  Resources are often scarce and time is one of the most precious resources entrepreneurs possess.  Getting a new venture off the ground, often while working full- or part-time and/or going to school full- or part-time, balancing family and personal time, requires good time management skills to facilitate moving from ideation, to conceptualization, to formalization, to implementation.

Investing in time vs. saving time

There are three aspects of time management that are critical for starting a new venture.  These include 1) establishing a timeline; 2) setting objectives and goals (preferably quantifiable, measurable, and attainable); and 3) integrating milestones in the timeline with budgets, evaluation, review, and feedback process.  Having this tied to a complete business plan can greatly facilitate keeping progress moving forward.  Taking a little time up front to plan out the timeline, milestones, and metrics can actually save time in the long run as you grow and build a new venture.  I once had a professor tell me not to think of it as saving time, but rather investing in time.  The busier we get, the more tempting it is to avoid taking time to plan, but the general rule of thumb is that for every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.  That is not a bad return on your investment.

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.  Albert Einstein

The old adage goes, “work always expands to fill the time available.”  The trade-off for the entrepreneur is it is better to manage your time, or it will manage you.  Three techniques have served me well regarding time management both in business and in other pursuits: 1) stay organized/set schedules; 2) make lists; and 3) prioritize.  There will always be times when it seems there are never enough hours in the day and despite Einstein’s insight, everything is happening at once.  Having a plan of attack will give you an advantage both when things are smooth and when things get hectic.  Of course, making time to write and having a business plan for your new venture can be one of the most helpful aspects of managing one of the most precious resources we have – our time.  You can find more on our web site at https://cincyentre.wordpress.com.  Till next time, all the best for continued entrepreneurial success!

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