A clock and journal surrounded by numbers, representing time management
Management Startup

Launching and Growing a Startup: Time Management, Or How to Get It All Done

As a business owner, you have plenty of jobs to worry about. Work smarter with these productive strategies.

This article on mastering time management is the second part of our series on launching a startup. For part one, click here.

What is the key to having good time management in business? It starts with having the right people doing the right job. Here is a system I used in my business for many years that worked very well. It aligns business tasks with the people that are best suited for those tasks.

How great would it be if everyone in your company could focus on what they enjoy? Of course, this isn’t 100 percent possible. Still, striving to this end makes employees more productive, happier and more loyal.

Having the right people doing the right jobs starts with you

Ask yourself these three questions.

After you answer these three questions, provide each team member the same questions and have them write down their answers. When ready, have a one-on-one meeting with each team member and review their answers to assure you fully understand what they are telling you.

Next steps

Make a list of all the ongoing tasks for the smooth running of your business or department and list each team member including yourself. Keep in mind that some tasks may be better outsourced.

Use this as an example.

Name of TaskOwnerJohnBeckyTomOutsource
Sales     
Client/customer meetings     
Scheduling     
Marketing     
Planning staff meetings     
Inventory management     
Bookkeeping     
Training     
Social media     
Office technology     
Managing vendors     
Human resources     
Business strategizing and planning     

Assign each task to one staff member as their main responsibility and a second staff member as the backup for each task. Then hold a staff meeting to share and discuss the assignment of tasks and how everyone can pull together to make it work.

Monitor the implementation and its effectiveness and make adjustments as needed.

What keeps you from good time management?

People will say that anything and everything hurts their time management. Too many interruptions, too few hours in the day and a lack of organization or training can cause problems.

Utilize a model week

To gain control of your time, consider implementing a “model week”. A model week is categorized into three types of days.

Core days

These are the days that provide income to your business, such as:

  • Key appointments/meetings
  • Sale, business and client presentations
  • Closing a sale
  • Marketing – i.e., participating in a client event or trade show (not putting it together)

Strengthening days

These are days for you to concentrate on behind the scenes work and business planning, such as:

  • Paperwork
  • Continuing education, reading, non-essential meetings
  • Business planning
    • Meet with a coach, managers (yours or those under you), wholesalers/salespeople, other support people, etc.
  • Marketing – planning
  • Tracking to better assure all work is completed on time and correctly

Be specific – plan in advance what you will do during this time.

Personal days

These are days you are separated from work, such as:

  • No work of any kind (no reading, e-mail, phone, etc.)
  • Time with family
  • Time with friends
  • Alone time
  • Vacation
  • Personal appointments

Core and strengthening days consist of 90 percent or more of your working hours being spent only on the tasks in those categories. Personal days consist of no more than 10 percent of your waking hours spent doing work of any kind, including business reading, phone calls, e-mails, travel and anything else related to work.

When I first heard about a model week, I said there was no way I was going to do that. I needed to be available if a client called or my staff needed me. I learned that when we are interrupted when in the middle of a task, it takes more time to get back to the place we left off. By having specific uninterrupted time to complete tasks start to finish, we can get more done and often do a better job.

Establishing your model week

Determine how many days per week you will allocate for each type of day. When you first implement this system, you may need more strengthening days. The goal is to work toward having fewer strengthening days and more core days providing effective and efficient work. This is along with personal days free from work of any kind.

If you’re not good at sticking to your schedule, assign someone else to hold you accountable, such as the team member that is responsible for booking your appointments.

Sample model week

Model week key:

  • CL – Client meeting
  • A – Staff, technology, mail
  • B – Work on plans 
  • C – Meeting prep
  • D – Work on marketing
  • ## – Return calls, finish up work after client leaves, mail, e-mail, break 
 MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
 CoreStrengtheningCoreCoreStrengthening
7:30-8:00##A## A
8:00-8:30CL MeetACL Meet A
8:30-9:00Calls Calls
9:00-9:30D B
9:30-10:00##B## B
10:00-10:30CL MeetBCL MeetCL MeetB
10:30-11:00CC
11:00-11:30CC
11:30-12:00##C####C
12:00-12:30BreakBreakBreakCl MeetBreak
12:30-1:00
1:00-1:30CL MeetCallsCL MeetCalls
1:30-2:00C##C
2:00-2:30CBreakC
2:30-3:00##C##C
3:00-3:30Cl Meet##CL MeetCL##
3:30-4:00BD
4:00-4:30BB
4:30-5:00##B##CL MeetB
5:00-5:30 ##CL Meet##

Managing your model week for success

Work with each team member to establish their own model week and share your version with your team. After you agree to each member’s model week, have a meeting to ensure that everyone is aware of each other’s schedule.

After the team’s model week has been in place and is being followed, re-evaluate quarterly to assure it is efficient and effective making any adjustments needed. The first few months may require the most adjustments.

Article contributor Nancy Butler, discussing time management

About the author

Nancy D. Butler built her business as a single parent with no other income and $2,000 to her name to $200 million in assets under management, before selling it. For the last 14 years, she is an international speaker, award-winning author and for 2018, 2019 and 2020 a delegate to The United Nations for The Commission on the Status of Women. She has coached businesses to provide better service to their clients while increasing their bottom line by an average of 300 percent. Butler has over 35 years of business experience.