Time Management Tips for Busy Entrepreneurs: Get More Out of Your Day

clock representing schedule for entrepreneurs

Being an entrepreneur is no easy ride. If you’re here because you’re working all the hours going but not getting back what you put in, how can you improve time management to get the most out of your day? 

When you’re pouring all your energy into your business, it can feel so demotivating to see others around you who seem to be working less and earning more. But I want you to know that it is possible – which is what I’m going to talk about today.

As a life and business coach, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of taking a holistic approach to your business and your time management techniques. Contrary to popular belief, really productivity isn’t about squeezing every minute out of the day. Instead, it’s about optimising the time you have to achieve your goals efficiently, and making more time to nurture your most important asset: yourself. 

In this article, I’ll share actionable tips tailored for busy entrepreneurs like you to enhance time management skills and reclaim control of your days. By putting these tips into practice, you can see what it means to show up fully, more present and more energised to make your business success a reality. As simple things I put into practice every day, I know they really do work.

photograph of coins piling up - money in business and entrepreneurship

1. Embrace Consistency in Your Day

Picture this: the alarm is blaring on Monday morning and you groggily hit snooze, setting off a chain reaction of rushing about, missing breakfast and arriving at your laptop wondering what it is that you’re supposed to tackle first. Sound familiar?

Hey, we’ve all been there. We might get into a rhythm of getting up at the same time on weekdays, but by the weekend we’re staying up late, sleeping in, throwing our body clock out of balance and starting the week confused and rushing about.

Our circadian rhythms don’t respond instantly; it actually takes a few days to adjust, which is why things feel a little easier from midweek onwards (and why it takes a few days to get over jet lag when travelling, too). Sleep scientist Dr Jason C. Ong says: “An irregular wake-up time, whether that’s on the weekend, or after a bad night’s sleep, confuses your biological clock in just the same way — in fact, sleep doctors sometimes call this ‘social jet lag.'” 

To overcome this, try setting a consistent get-up time. I know it’s tempting to lie in on a Saturday after a long week of work, but trust me your body will thank you for it. It thrives on consistency. In fact, research shows that sticking to a regular sleep schedule improves decision-making and reduces stress, setting the stage for a smoother, more productive day ahead.

What time do you set your alarm on a weekday? Set it on a Saturday and Sunday, too. By improving your focus every day, you’ll spend less time panicking early in the week and more time thinking about what you need to do that day so you arrive prepared, focused and with time to reflect over a coffee before you scramble to your laptop.

Better time management means more preparation and less stress.

man meditating and thinking about opportunities for business growth

2. Practise Meditation

When there’s so much on your plate as an entrepreneur, finding a moment of calm can seem almost counterintuitive. Surely you can’t possibly have time to sit down and do…nothing?

There’s a saying that goes: “Everybody should meditate for 20 minutes a day – and if you don’t have 20 minutes, you should meditate for an hour.” Why? 

Because it saves you time in the long-run. Let me explain this in a little more detail.

To meditate is to connect with yourself. It essentially allows your thoughts to “catch up” with you. When I meditate (and this could simply be a case of just literally sitting down, closing my eyes and not even trying to clear my mind, but just allowing thoughts to come up), I find it gets rid of a lot of the noise. Within minutes, it starts to bring a sense of peace and calm. 

And after a while, it helps me think more proactively.

Take just 20 minutes each day to quiet the noise, centre your thoughts, and recharge your mental batteries. You’ll be amazed at how it clears the mental fog and sets you up for success. It allows you to reflect on what you’ve learned, think about the next actions to take and saves you so much time wondering about what the next steps should be.

The 275 million people worldwide practising meditation know the benefits; by joining them in just 20 minutes a day, watch how much time opens up for you with that renewed mental focus.

Journalling for time management

3. Harness the Power of Journaling for Time Management

I’ve talked before about the benefits of journaling for entrepreneurs. You don’t have to be a writer to do this. Your journal is for your eyes only, and a place where you can express yourself exactly as you want to. At the start of your day, when you can find just 10 or 15 minutes to yourself, sit down quietly and explore any thoughts that come up in your mind. Think of this as a private little conversation with yourself, free of judgement. All you’re doing is exploring ideas, letting your mind flow and writing down what comes to you.

This is a perfect time to reflect on your goals and think about your next actions. What are you feeling good about? What’s bothering you right now? This is ultimately so much more than just jotting down thoughts. What you’re actually doing is creating a short, manageable ritual that sparks clarity and sets the tone for a successful day and this will serve you so well long-term.

Oftentimes when thoughts don’t go away it’s because we haven’t found our learnings from a past challenge or experience. Reflecting and learning can help give us gratitude. Journalling also helps me think about the day ahead; for example, if there’s a meeting, what do I want to get out of it? How would I like a conversation to go? This helps me show up more present and my day will flow so much better for me with less time wasted feeling ‘stuck’ (and I promise it will for you, too).

setting boundaries for better time management

4. Establish Clear Boundaries for Better Time Management

There was a period a few years ago where I found myself having no time at all, with a packed schedule that was booked minute-to-minute. It was at this time that I was struck by a phrase that has stayed with me: “Schedule your priorities, don’t prioritise your schedule.”

I once did a study and initially wanted to ask 100 entrepreneurs about their work-life balance, but it’s been so rewarding that it’s just been something that I’ve continued since. I’ve now interviewed hundreds! You can listen to them here if you want some valuable insights. 

One clear pattern that I’ve found among so many of them is that the ones who had strict boundaries around their working hours were more successful. Generally speaking, the ones who worked less earned more and the ones who had loose boundaries were actually earning less. How?

Well, the key thing I learned from this is that if you work every hour of the day, then essentially your life becomes work. Yet the truth is, we work to live not the other way around. Setting boundaries actually makes us more proactive in work because we have something to work for. 

On the flipside, when all we end up becoming demotivated as the joy starts disappearing from what we do. We start to wonder what we’re even doing all this work for. By prioritising living well, getting into balance and showing up with a high energy, the entrepreneurs I’ve interviewed prove that they ultimately have more success. 

Another thing to note is that when you have every hour of the day to work, you’re less selective of the work you take on. You end up valuing yourself less (which is a common problem when so many of us undervalue ourselves). By working less, you can be more selective and pick the most positive work that aligns with you, and you become more efficient and productive simply because you have to be in the time that you have. 

You’ll also be able to price yourself accordingly when you only have so many hours of the day, helping you to overcome that barrier of constantly underselling what you do.

Entrepreneur doing yoga for self care

5. Cultivate Discipline

 Discipline is the bridge between intention and action, guiding you toward optimal time management. Life will so often try to pull you off in different directions, but take inventory of your habits and identify areas where greater discipline is needed. Whether it’s resisting distractions or adhering to a structured schedule, discipline empowers you to make the most of each moment.

There’s a philosophy in coaching which is that we have all the answers we need to know deep inside us. Part of getting those answers is to slow down and connect with ourselves, so journaling and meditating as I’ve mentioned above are useful here. And the other part is discipline – what are the key things you know that you’re just not doing? 

Applying a more disciplined approach to how you live is no doubt going to save you a massive amount of time. Reading this article, trust that you already know what you need to do. If you were to just take a few minutes to jot down what these are, I promise this would save you so much time in the long-run.

6. Set Agendas for Meetings – and Stick to Them

A simple but important one when it comes to time management is don’t have meetings without agendas. It is so easy to waste time in meetings and get carried away with going off tangent. Have a clear agenda and stick to it. 

I remember sitting in a meeting and clocking up everyone’s hourly rates – as the meeting ran off course and went on, it all added up with little value actually gained from that time. As entrepreneurs, we need to make sure that when we plan meetings, they are as quick and efficient as we need them to be. 

You can still have your catch-ups (after all, building relationships and connections is important!), but try to schedule them outside of your meeting times. You’ll find you’re less disrupted and can more easily separate your work from your relationships.

According to MIT Human Resources, an agenda improves preparation and collaboration, and leads to more successful outcomes in your meetings. And this is always a good thing.

Entrepreneur at laptop making business decisions

7. Make Decisions Quickly

Decisions can be torture, can’t they? When you’ve got a big decision to make, it can often be all you think about for days and you completely lose focus on anything else.

In essence, indecisiveness can be one of our greatest productivity killers. This is why improving your decisiveness also improves your time management.

Making decisions is something pretty close to my heart when I think about what I do. When people think of life coaching, they tend to overcomplicate what it means, but essentially a big part of what I do is to help people make better decisions. Because I know that for many of us, decision-making isn’t always as easy as a quick ‘yes’ or ‘no’. It often leads to days, weeks, months or even years of playing ‘what-if’ scenarios in our heads.

For every day that we put off making a decision, we are said to be 50% less likely to make a decision altogether. Yet if we think about it, putting off a decision is a decision in itself. If we decide to keep “sleeping on it” rather than taking action, we have chosen a path of inaction.

How many great opportunities have we allowed to slip away by procrastinating? How many leaps forward have we held back from because the fear of failure has been too much?

Instead, we might find ourselves retreating. And as bold entrepreneurs, retreating is never the best option if we really want to push ourselves and our businesses forward.

Give yourself a set time to make a decision and don’t go over it. . If you don’t, your head will go into overdrive thinking about every scenario. And this takes up an enormous amount of brainpower, affecting the rest of your work and making the decision-making process so much harder. We only have so much capacity and when we are consumed by a decision we’re struggling with, we’re going to show up less efficient and less productive as our minds become so distracted by it. Indecision slows us down. 

Go with your gut, lean in and go with your decision without constantly ruminating. If you can get yourself to a point where you can confidently make decisions quickly, you’ll find so much more time opening up in your day.

The decision might not work out, but you’ll have learned from it. Or, in a best case scenario, the decision might be one of the greatest ones you’ve ever made and you’ll propel yourself forward. The conversation you’ve been putting off could go amazingly. The course you’ve been putting off signing up to might open up exciting opportunities.

But these outcomes only happen by taking action. Don’t allow yourself to be constantly held up by indecision.

8. Prioritise Downtime to Improve Time Management

Last but not least, don’t forget to recharge your batteries. Take time for yourself, indulge in your hobbies, and spend quality time with loved ones. This is key for better time management, even if it seems like you’re being unproductive at the time.

The key thing that I find with the entrepreneurs I interview is that they spend more time working on themselves. Because the truth is, the more we look after ourselves, the greater the benefit to those around us and the things we’re involved in. 

Are you resting as well as you should? Are you engaging in the hobbies you love? Are you energised and able to show up fully? 

It’s not about how many hours you work – it’s about what you bring to your work in those hours. The more time you spend learning and growing, the better that reflects itself in your professional life, and the rest of your life too.

We’ve been led all our lives to believe that to do well, we need to work hard and commit more and more of our time.

But that’s simply not true.

I want you to know that if you can work smarter and focus on impact rather than quantity, you can preserve the time you need to do your best work. If you can drop some of the unnecessary commitments no longer serving you, you can show up all the more in a much greater capacity for the things that matter most.

Only then can you achieve results that you could only ever dream about before. 

If you need more help prioritising and you feel like things are just that little bit over your head, then I’m here to help you out. Get in touch and we’ll see how we can free up space in your life so you can show up as your very best self. 

What’s working for you in terms of time management right now? How are you getting the very best of your time? I’d love to know how you’re getting on, so drop me a comment or message over on my Instagram – perhaps your top time management tips could inspire others too.