Of all the resources available to mankind, time is the only resource that is given to all equally. We all have been allotted the same number of hours in a day –24hours; everything else rests entirely on how we choose to use it. What I choose to do with my time will determine the outcome of my life. If my life turns out well, it means I used my time well. Your time and your life are inextricably linked, what you do with one will be the direct outcome of the other.
As entrepreneurs, we are not excluded from the burden of time; rather, we bear more of this burden. As people who take on risk in order to make change happen, entrepreneurs are held more accountable for the use of their time. Because humanity relies on entrepreneurs for the provision of goods and services that can improve the quality of life, the burden of time is heavier on the shoulders of entrepreneurs. We cannot afford to be lazy as entrepreneurs with the use of our time!
So here’s the million dollar question; how should entrepreneurs be spending their time?
In this unusual article, I will be sharing 5 high impact activities that successful entrepreneurs spend their time on. I call them the 5C’s of effective time management for entrepreneurs. Don’t just read this and keep it to yourself, help someone else out there by sharing this article on twitter, facebook, linkedin and google+.
The 5C’s Of Effective Time Management For Entrepreneurs
As an entrepreneur, here are 5 highly productive ways to be spending your time;
The first use of your time as an entrepreneur is for creation. The very word entrepreneur describes a person who undertakes risk for the purpose of creating something worthwhile. Entrepreneurs make ideas happen. That’s who they are, that’s why they exist and that’s what makes them different. The day you cease to create is the day you start becoming irrelevant as an entrepreneur. Your purpose as an entrepreneur is the creation of unique and useful products or services that helps humanity solve their everyday problems cheaper, faster or better. If you don’t create, you’ve failed mankind as an entrepreneur!
How often should entrepreneurs create?
Creation is not something you schedule or plan to do; creation is something that gets done through you. So you must always remain in the creative process daily. How? By inventing play. How do you invent play? By searching for better ways and ideas for improving on what you currently do. In the invention of play, you must be willing to make mistakes, don’t be deterred, keep on playing with ideas for improvement.
Never stop asking; how can we serve humanity better? The more of this question you ask, the more ideas for improvement you’ll come up with and when these ideas flow through you, you must never hesitate to act on them however foolish they might seem.
The second use of your time as an entrepreneur is for consumption. What should you be consuming as an entrepreneur? Knowledge, ideas, thoughts and experiences. After creation comes re-creation – the refilling of used up energies. Every act of creation is emptying yourself into something else greater than you. Creation is bringing ideas to life; you cannot bring something to life without giving up something in the process. Creativity is simply using up existing energy or resources for the production of more.
Consuming is how you sharpen yourself as an entrepreneur. It is time spent on personal development. As entrepreneurs, to do more we must be prepared to give up more and as we give up more it becomes naturally expedient that we take in more. You’ve heard of the saying; “you can’t give what you don’t have”.
Your time after creation must be spent learning, thinking and observing. All three are essential to your success as an entrepreneur. If you learn more, you will ultimately do more. If you think more, you’ll ultimately come up with more ideas for improvement. And if you observe more, you’ll ultimately discover more opportunities to exploit.
How often should entrepreneurs consume?
Every single day.
You must become an incurable learner, thinker and observer. You must keep on developing your natural talents, skills as well as business competencies. You must be open and aware to your environment, trends and your personal experiences, including your mistakes. They are all different forms of feedback that you must consume in order to produce more.
Read great books, blogs, magazines and reports; get a coach or mentor; listen to great tapes and watch informative videos. Whatever it takes, always strive to be better today than you were yesterday. The moment you think you’ve known it all, seen it all and have it all, and stop consuming, before long, you would have lost your capacity to create. As an entrepreneur, your cup is never full or empty; it must always be half-empty or half-full. You are never fully done, so keep on keeping on. The path of an entrepreneur is a never ending one!
No man is an island and one is too small a number to achieve greatness. The third use of your time as an entrepreneur is for collaboration. Because you cannot do it all by yourself, you must always be on the lookout for worthy vision partners to synergize with. Collaboration is the use of your time for networking and forming of strategic alliances.
As an entrepreneur, you cannot afford to be a jack of all trade and master of none. You need others to make ideas happen. Trying to go it all by yourself will only lead you to the deadliest business trap ever. So a good use of your time must be spent looking for other like minds to team up with and make great things happen.
Join trade associations or professional associations, attend industry building events, form strategic partnerships with other companies and build a global support team through the help of the internet via social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, Behance, and others. Don’t waste your valuable time on the internet visiting one site or another; make use of that time to build strategic relationships with someone, a company, or group of individuals. To get to your dream, you need people way smarter than you in other areas. Spend your time finding, initiating and cultivating a win-win relationship with them.
How often should entrepreneurs collaborate?
As often as possible.
Always be on the lookout for potential vision partners. That’s what I call them –vision partners. If you have a vision, then you would need some partners for the fulfillment of that vision. I try not to use the term business partner, because it is not just about business, it’s about the dream or vision. Collaboration is about how you can both promote one another’s causes. If money brought you together, trust me, money will easily drive you apart. But if it’s an idea, vision or dream bigger that what the both of you can achieve individually, then you’ve found yourself a worthy vision partner!
The fourth use of your time as an entrepreneur is for communication. Your ideas won’t speak for themselves; your products won’t speak for themselves neither will your vision. The first customer of your business is you the entrepreneur, are you happy with what you’ve created? Do you believe in what you’ve created? Can you bet your life on what you’ve created?
If yes, then a good use of your time must be spent spreading that idea, product, service, vision or dream. You must become the chief evangelist of what you’ve created. You must get out there and spread the word. Your time must be spent talking about whatever it is you do and how it is beneficial to the world. If you don’t, no one else will.
Communicating is the use of your time as an entrepreneur for marketing. You must become the spokesperson of your ideas, products, services, visions or dreams. The legendary Steve Jobs of Apple was exceptionally good at this. He literally made a festival out of everyone of Apple’s product launch. He put his money where his mouth is. He was a huge fan of his own creations and he never missed an opportunity to tell the world how great he thought of them.
How often should entrepreneurs communicate?
All of the time.
The world doesn’t care about your ideas, products, services, visions or dreams; they’ve got theirs to worry about. So you’ve got to make them care by showing them how much you care about them. The more of a big deal you make about your ideas, products, services, visions or dreams, the more confidence you give to the world to buy into your ideas, products, services, visions or dreams. And if they are as good as you claim, a trial will convince them.
The fifth use of your time as an entrepreneur is for controlling. After all is said and done, nothing no matter how great can continue to function without adequate attention. Every creation needs to be tended to properly. The whole of your time spent on the four previous highly productive activities would have been a complete waste if you overlook this last one.
Entrepreneurs make ideas happen and then build a business or businesses around those ideas. To ensure that what they have built lasts, entrepreneurs would have to spend their time keeping things in order.
Controlling is the use of your time as an entrepreneur for managing your business. You certainly don’t want things to fall apart in your business, controlling is how you ensure things go according to plan. It is the use of your time to create an organizational culture, and design an operational structure built around core business processes or systems of how your business can run successfully over a long period of time with or without your physical involvement.
If you don’t ensure what you created as an entrepreneur is built to last, then of all you’ve done, you would have only succeeded in failing mankind. As entrepreneurs, we can’t live forever, but what we spend our lives creating should stand the test of time. Steve Jobs is dead, but his legacy to the world Apple Inc. lives on.
How often should entrepreneurs control?
All the time.
You should always be on the lookout for lapses in your business and fix them. You should always look for more efficient ways to systemize work such that anyone can perform routine tasks successfully. You must always keep creating better ways of organizing work into processes and assigning capable people to supervise their performance. Control is a management function; and so it calls for a day-to-day use of your time as an entrepreneur.
How do you spend your time as an entrepreneur?
What other highly productive use of an entrepreneur’s time would you recommend?
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