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How to Prioritize as an Entrepreneur?

Why is it that on a good working day we feel as if time is always overtaking us by many miles? Entrepreneurs work long hours, take shorter lunches, try to curtail business meetings as much as possible, take calls sparingly and even slash family time to get things done. But is all of this apparent ‘busyness’ and time-racing worth it?

A recent study shows that working professionals only spend 50% of their time on value-added work. That’s a miserly percentage for entrepreneurs who want to leapfrog several milestones and get their brands pasted on that irresistible Fortune 500 list. Well, the good news is, there are work-throughs that can set the time-activity clock in order. And the difficult news? It takes smartness and consistency to get better bang for your time-buck.

Getting back to basics

These days, time zips by so quickly that it becomes a gargantuan task to keep track of our tasks (pun intended). You can never feel satisfied if you don’t know what all you’ve done during the day. Here, something as basic as jotting down all your activities first thing in the morning and ticking off those you’ve completed will give you a good sense of achievement. For the ones who are tech-savvy, their phone app stores have a horde of different task management apps that could help.

Compartmentalizing work

Startup founders are continuously faced with demands that get more and trickier. At some point, it may feel like the task list has piled into a mountain! As an entrepreneur, the key is to be able to gauge what tasks really need your attention and the ones that don’t. You could set priority numbers to these tasks like priority 1, priority 2 and thus. When you fragment your day into smaller units, suddenly your list doesn’t seem so daunting. Successful entrepreneurs have the prowess to deconstruct a burning issue into its component parts, solve each one individually and then piece them back up to give a brainy solution.

The Eisenhower Matrix

Dr. Eisenhower is a genius. Entrepreneurs and star employees alike have him to thank for the decision matrix that he postulated. The matrix helps you to sort out tasks according to their importance and urgency. As a rule of thumb, most important and most urgent tasks take precedence – these could be deadlines, contracts and team integrity problems. Planning, forecasting and preparation for investor meetings are important but not urgent, so they come second in priority. Internal meetings, follow up calls to that client who’s considering your product and business talks with your right and left hands are urgent tasks but not important – these are third. Any other task is least on the priority list, so you can do them last and when you have spare time

Delegating and asking for help

Have you ever been to a breathtakingly scenic place and asked a random stranger to take a picture of you against the backdrop? Well, if you can do that, you can certainly ask for help in your organization when you need it. Entrepreneurs are hard-pressed for time – all the time. Delegating responsibility to people in your team will help you focus on doing more worthwhile tasks and make better decisions. When you need help with your own work, you always have your CFO, or CMO, or CTO who will undeniably grab the temporary chance to get into your shoes.

Don’t expect to be perfect

It’s never possible to hit targets all the time. In the shaky world of entrepreneurship, the only thing constant is hard work. There will be times when you’ll have to leave a task mid-way to shift focus on another that could get you better results overall. For instance, if you’re forecasting sales for the next quarter along with your current investor, but get a phone call from another investor who wants to put money in your new product, wouldn’t your eyes light up? In the quest for success as an entrepreneur, perfectionism must take a back seat. In this century, time is a currency and prioritization is the market. The pressure for getting things organized will never stop, but entrepreneurs can surely act the right way, lead their troupe and put processes in place so that the entire organization can work harmoniously and drive growth.