Cost-Effective Time Management Strategies for Startups

Time management is the key to success for any startup. When there are too many tasks to handle, you need effective time management that can help improve your team’s productivity.

While there are many different ways that startups can manage their time to increase productivity, it’s important to know what strategies to follow if you want to make everything work right.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into learning more about the top cost-effective time management strategies you need to follow for your startup.

Set clear goals with the SMART approach

Setting clear goals is the best way to simplify time management and learn more about effectively managing your time as an entrepreneur in the digital era. Clarifying your objectives dictates your task direction, making sure that you are aligning with your goals and progressing every day.

Setting clear goals can be done by using the SMART approach:

  • Specific: A goal needs to be specific and answer important questions like: What needs to be accomplished? Who is responsible for this? What kind of steps do we need to take to achieve these goals?
  • Measurable: Quantifying your goals makes it much easier to track your progress and know when you’ve reached your desired area. For example, you want to grow your signups, but you need to state by how much.
  • Achievable: Your goals need to always be realistic. For example, increasing your monthly sign-ups by 1,000 is a realistic approach.
  • Relevant: You need to know why you are setting the goal you are setting. Does it align with your team and organization?
  • Time-bound: What’s the time frame that you think you can achieve a specific goal?

The SMART approach helps you clarify your goals and become more aware of how you can effectively manage your time while doing so.

Use an employee punch clock system

An employee punch clock system, or in other words, a shift punch clock system allows you to easily record your employees’ clock-in and clock-out times. Each employee is assigned a PIN and this means you are good to go. Let’s not forget that the security level of an employee punch clock system is excellent as well. You have an optional facial recognition feature that allows you to see that the person is actually who they claim to be.

The software can be installed on your iPad, Android tablet, or even desktop to allow employees to easily use it every day. Even if you don’t have internet access, you can allow your employees to clock in and out from phone numbers. After they’ve been identified, the system will record their working hours in the required timesheets.

Additionally, you can also add self-service timesheets that allow employees to file in their own timesheets, which is great for paperless time tracking. Not every employee punch clock system might have this, but it’s a feature to pay close attention to.

Differentiate urgent tasks from important ones

If there’s one thing that many businesses can’t do right, it’s to know which tasks to differentiate. Urgent tasks are the ones that have consequences if they aren’t done, which may be a missed phone call, deadline, email, or some other task. However, important tasks impact your long-term goals.

If you always focus on completing your urgent tasks, your entire day might be lost, and this leaves you with little time to complete important tasks.

To make everything simple, you can classify your tasks into the following categories:

  • Category 1: Important and urgent
  • Category 2: Important and not urgent
  • Category 3: Not very important and urgent
  • Category 4: Not very important and not urgent

The first category of tasks should always be prioritized while the ones in the last category are something to not worry too much about. Always see which urgent tasks can be rescheduled, delegated, or even declined.

Never be afraid to say ‘no’ and focus your time and energy more on a smaller number of projects and do them well instead of leaving everything behind.

The next step is to always make important tasks urgent by setting early deadlines so they get prioritized before they have to get done.

Calculate your time return on investment (ROI) for your projects

Similar to money, return-on-investment (ROI) of time can be measured and is used for assessing improvements to your business processes. For example, if you are doing a project, it’s important to take into consideration how long the product will take to streamline the investment and how much time it’ll save you in the long run.

Assess if the time return is worth the investment, and this helps you better identify if your decision is valuable enough for scaling the company. For example, if it takes you half an hour to do a task manually, but more than three hours to automate, it’s best to do it manually.

Don’t be afraid to delegate

Repetitive tasks are not something fun to deal with. It’s a one-time investment and preferred unless it’s too expensive or the work is better when manually done by someone. You can delegate tasks to other team members who have more available time throughout their day or use software like Buffer, Zapier, Google Drive, or other software that can help the company save enough time in managing its central database.

Delegation is a huge time saver and recent studies have shown that it can save you more than 20 hours a week. As your business grows, you must outsource tasks to others that have more free time for doing them. This may involve hiring a new employee, creating a contract, or something else that matters, but remember to always delegate to your team members who are specialized in the same field. For example, don’t delegate an HR task to someone who is responsible for writing blogs, or in another field.

Leverage your usage of productivity tools

Productivity tools like Asana, Trello, and Slack, are all important in making internal communication easier and helping you effectively organize your team’s tasks and priorities. These communication tools have improved project management and collaboration, reducing time consumption and helping your team stay focused.

Moreover, you can use time-tracking tools that will help you create accurate weekly timesheets and handle your team’s billable and non-billable hours. Time-tracking software has automatic time-tracking, and this means that you can say goodbye to all note-taking and manual inputs.

Also, you have a people dashboard that allows you to learn more about your team’s capacity and learn more about where they’re spending their time. Using real-time data seriously helps in managing your deadlines and this matters a lot when you are running a startup.

Limit meeting times

Did you know that most employees spend on average 31 hours per month in group meetings? That is up to 50% of the employee’s weekly time. While you might not realize how much time is wasted, when you start to calculate it, meeting times might take up more than you’d expect.

If you think it might be hard to limit your meeting time, here are a few short tips to follow:

  • Review your recurrent meetings: Identify the relevant ones and cancel the rest. There are many parts of a meeting that you can pass on to email and other collaborative apps.
  • Only invite team members that need to be in the meeting: Team members that don’t need to be part of a meeting shouldn’t waste their time. Only invite people that need to be in the meeting.
  • Decline irrelevant meetings: Avoid joining irrelevant meetings. There’s no such thing as having to join every meeting that won’t bring any extra value to what you are doing.
  • Cut meeting times: Only hold meetings as much as you need to, and don’t waste more time than you should. For example, if your meeting takes 15 minutes to deliver all the necessary information, avoid setting it more than that.

Being a startup, you need to focus your energy on trying to grow your business and making sure that you are using all your time efficiently.

Time is money and you need to value it

Being a startup isn’t something easy, since you are at the very beginning and have much more competition. However, if there’s one thing that you can do better than the rest, it’s to implement effective time-management strategies.

Time is money and if you don’t value it, you won’t progress. Therefore, implement the mentioned time-management techniques and make sure that you and your team members are being as productive as they can.

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