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  • Writer's pictureMichael McClanahan

Enabling the Entrepreneurial Mindset: Step 6 – Managing Time Effectively

Entrepreneurs are people who have the vision to identify and capitalize on risky and new business opportunities. These skills are not necessarily something the individual is born with, but a conviction and willingness to seek out and exploit innovative ideas. The first five steps in maturing the creative mindset recommend unleashing the mind for opportunity recognition, maintaining resiliency to learn and recover quickly from setbacks, establishing financial fortitude and sound fiscal decision-making, nurturing long-term personal and professional relationships, and relentlessly developing lifelong learning habits. In Step 6, time management becomes center stage and the critical role it plays holistically in shaping the ideal mindset.

Time management, in light of the entrepreneurial mindset, is the planning, organizing, and controlling the effort spent on activities to fulfill the business dream. The expectation is overall efficiency and productivity through how the approach is defined and executed. The outcome is allocating the appropriate time for each task and maximizing results in a structured and orderly fashion that results in the most productive outcome.

The first step to achieving these ambitious results is establishing clear goals for a desired outcome. Goals are long- and short-term objectives to achieve the desired result. The goals must have a clear outcome but not be bound to a specific set of unachievable completion criteria to progress. The journey must be iterative, allow for change, and maintain agility throughout the process.

A ranking process is necessary to identify the importance and urgency of task completion to manage overall time effectively. Prioritization may come in mapping user stories, timeboxing, MoSCoW methodology, risk-based decisions, milestones, etc., or a combination of techniques designed to optimize the approach. The desired result is agility in execution and the ability to maximize productivity.

Creating a schedule and optimizing from lessons learned help to keep the outcomes on track. Examining past accomplishments and learnings provides critical insights into execution moving forward. Daily reflection on the current situation encourages what went right, lessons learned, and making the necessary changes on the spot to move forward successfully. The approach also fosters the examination of rational time blocks for task management, examination of unexpected events during execution, and identification of breaks to improve focus and recharge to remain alert and fresh.

Multitasking can be a severe threat to enriching the entrepreneurial mindset. Although, on the surface, it reinforces efficiency, it can reduce productivity and increase mistakes and errors in judgment. Focusing on the task at hand allows the entrepreneur to yield a high level of quality and identify areas for improvement by examining the interdependencies of other functions in the plan. One way to avoid multitasking is leveraging the power of delegation.

Delegation is a crucial function to enable success. There should be no hesitation on anyone's part to delegate tasks that are either suited to other's skills or allow the entrepreneur to free up time to focus on tasks that require direct attention. Assigning tasks to others shows the devotion and commitment one has to the team they are working with, and recognition of subject matter expertise is throughout the team and not in the hands of just a few.

Distractions must be eliminated throughout the process. The entrepreneur must eliminate unproductive tasks such as exorbitant time on social media, excessive reading and sending emails and working in inefficient work environments that are noisy and lack mature business processes. The goal is to create an enabling environment that maximizes the utility of technology in an enabling work setting that releases the creative energy of the entrepreneur and their team. Sometimes, the entrepreneur will have to say no professionally to avoid overcommitment and remain committed to priorities, which is a healthy sign of time management.

Well-being is part of the foundational framework for the aspiring business leader. Investing in oneself through getting the necessary sleep, eating correctly, and engaging in exercise to reduce stress matters. A healthy work-life balance ensures that everyone on the team is putting their best foot forward and is committed to balancing their personal life with the entrepreneur's vision.

One overlooked factor in seeking the entrepreneurial dream is overcoming and mastering time. Recognition of and setting goals, prioritizing tasks, and allocating the time for tasks can be challenging. It is imperative to leverage lessons learned and course-correct daily to maximize productivity and reinforce efficiency in the approach. Eschewing procrastination, ending each day with a sense of pride in accomplishment, and setting time to recharge and focus on what matters in life go a long way to maintaining harmony and achieving one's innovative dream.

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