Five essential time-management tips to ease the pressure of being self-employed

You don’t need a coach to tell you that time management is make or break factor for entrepreneurs running their own business…. Here’s five amazing ‘hacks’ that’ll help you do a superhuman amount of work – and go home on time.

You need to squeeze as much into each day as possible, without running yourself into the ground by burning the candle at both ends. If you want to work hard and have plenty of time for your family and friends, you need to master your own destiny when it comes to superfluous time consumption.

  1. Stop telling yourself you are self-employed: Be your own boss.

When you a little kid, your mum or dad or whoever looked after you will have made sure there were rules and boundaries. At school, the teachers imposed rules and boundaries. When you finally got a job, you got a boss – and guess what, they laid down rules and boundaries and demanded you stick to them.

Now you’re your own boss, the weight of the freedom might be crushing you. That’s because with great freedom comes great responsibility – to yourself. Establish rules and boundaries, about what you will and won’t do, should and shouldn’t take on, will make you feel accountable to yourself – after all, you are the boss.

  1. Fluffy time kills productivity

You are the boss, and thus accountable to yourself. Just like any other boss could walk up to an employee and ask them what they had been doing all day, you should be ready to answer the question with a good degree of certainty.

I’m sure you feel very busy but to truly test how busy you are, keep a fluffy time diary. It’s the best way I know to break bad self-management habits.

Get a diary or calendar on your computer that has half hour time slots. Everything you do, write it down. Not just the productive stuff either: include the time on Facebook or scanning the news or making coffees. Be honest: you can’t hide from yourself, there’s no point lying. Who are you trying to kid?

At the end of Day 1, you’ll be looking at you list and thinking ‘I’m sure I did more than that’ – after Day 2 you’ll tie yourself up in knots justifying all the little bits of time you waste, trying to feel less of a fool. By Day 3 you’ll be on the road to kicking whatever your specific fluffy time habits are – and long term, you’ll be so much the better for it.

  1. How to shoot down time bandits

You know the scenario: somebody walks up to your desk and says, ‘have you got a minute?’

Best way to respond to that is boom: “LIAR!”

That’ll put them right on the back foot, they say: ‘er, what, I don’t know what you’re talking about, what do you mean?’

Let me explain. Nobody who asks for ‘a minute’ actually ends up taking a minute of your time. They want to get involved with whatever problem they’re having, and they don’t mind intruding on your productivity for as long as it takes you to sort it for them.

Shooting them down with a LIAR is a good way to challenge their brain to think differently. Promote the idea that rather than coming up and asking for a problem to be solved for them, they must come armed with at least two solutions for you to pick from.

  1. Treat time waste as physical waste

We’ve all done this one: you come back from a meeting all excited, because there was a bit of chemistry and they sounded interested in doing a deal… then you sit down for a few hours and do a some research, ready to make a detailed proposal.

Don’t! If you were in the manufacturing business, you wouldn’t land back at HQ and crank your machinery into action just because there’d been a hint of a subtle suggestion of a potential sale. In businesses where your time is your product, respect time as much as you would material – you’ll find to don’t expend effort where it’s not commercially astute.

  1. Don’t wish things were easier, wish you were better

Being your own boss is hard. If it wasn’t, there would be no employees. If you are struggling with it all, just remember a quote from the late Jim Rohn, a legendary American entrepreneur and motivational speaker.

He said: “Don’t wish things were easier, wish you were better”

At least with that particular wish you have the potential to make it come true!


If you are lonely leading a business, a coach can be a huge source of support, helping you get big results with just few well thought out tweaks. To find out more, drop me a line at


Now read: 7 free (ish) CRM systems to help keep your business at the forefront of customers’ minds 

Image Credit, with huge thanks.

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