As an entrepreneur you’ve got a lot going on—building forecasts, managing roadmaps, attending community and networking events, and spending some time for yourself and your family. It’s exhausting just thinking about all of the things you need to do this week, this month, this quarter, and this year.
With everything moving a mile a minute in the Silicon Prairie, it’s easy to get disorganized and lose track of your priorities, time, and maybe even your phone (although really, losing your phone might sound nice). Luckily, we’ve pulled together some tips to help you stay focused and make sure you have time for all of your most important priorities.
First, Set Your Priorities
Whether you’re your boss or you have a board or CEO who you are reporting to, you need to know what your top priorities are, and you need to be able to say “no” to or push off lower priority tasks.
If you don’t set your priorities, then you’ll fall into the trap of doing everything or nothing. Are you trying to launch your own business on the side, but also trying to keep up with your freelance work? Can you do it all? Chances are that you can’t do everything that you want to do—at least not immediately.
Write down everything that you want to accomplish in the next three months, six months, year, and three years, and take a look at your list. Choose the most essential items, and make sure that the short-term tasks can help you achieve the long-term goals. Once you’ve done this, you can set out a realistic roadmap for yourself with items to complete within specific time periods.
Use a Task Management System
Now that you have your bigger milestones in mind use a task management system, such as the ones listed here, to assign yourself smaller tasks that will help you achieve your goals. Among this list is a popular and free project management tool, Trello.
With Trello, you can create and assign yourself tasks on individual cards and then move the cards to different columns, signifying different stages in the completion of that individual task. This will help you stay on track and ensure that you will reach your milestones on time.
You might not be able to plan out three years of your life, but plan out the next three months in order to get yourself to the first milestones. About a month out from the end of the three-month period, check in with your goals, adjust tasks as needed, and start planning in order to achieve your six-month goals. You may need to adjust timelines or re-prioritize, and that’s fine—as long as you’re holding yourself accountable and managing your priorities.
Organize Your Calendars
Busy, hardworking people are likely to have multiple calendars—you may have a work calendar, a personal calendar, and a roadmap that’s not quite a calendar, but definitely has dates on it. Make sure you don’t book yourself for a meeting with an investor at the same time as your daughter’s dance recital by combining your calendars in one place.
Sync your task management system with your work calendar and make sure to look at both your personal and work calendars when booking yourself for meetings or events. The Google Calendar app allows you to look at all of your calendars at once making it an easy, and free solution for busy people like you.
It can be exhausting trying to do it all, but by prioritizing, managing, and organizing your time, you can stay focused and on track.
Kelsey Reaves is a content-focused Marketing Manager at TrustRadius, a trusted site for B2B software reviews. When she’s not sharing her knowledge on the latest trends in software and B2B news, she nurtures her passion for travel by exploring new cities and binge-watching Anthony Bourdain.