Time utilization for startups - Your Startup Guru Time is a finite resource

One of the top five reasons people say they cannot start their own business is lack of time.  I always, always, ALWAYS emphasize time efficiency to my clients.  For example, scheduling calls in advance, taking notes during meetings, making checklists, etc. all can help maximize time efficiency.  I cannot tell you how many times people have called to discuss business but do not have their materials in front of them…even worse, while driving.  Invariably they do not remember everything that was discussed and another meeting will be had.

In a startup, there are so many things to consider and juggle.  Rent, advertising, staffing, licenses, etc.  It becomes very easy to become overwhelmed in the thousands of tasks that need to be done which can cause us to lose sight of direction and lose creativity.  However, according to Economist Joseph Schumpeter business people would be better off if they did less and thought more.

All this “leaning in” is producing an epidemic of overwork, particularly in the United States. Americans now toil for eight-and-a-half hours a week more than they did in 1979. A survey last year by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that almost a third of working adults get six hours or less of sleep a night. Another survey last year by Good Technology, a provider of secure mobile systems for businesses, found that more than 80% of respondents continue to work after leaving the office, 69% cannot go to bed without checking their inbox and 38% routinely check their work e-mails at the dinner table.

Managers themselves could benefit. Those at the top are best employed thinking about strategy rather than operations—about whether the company is doing the right thing rather than whether it is sticking to its plans. When he was boss of General Electric, Jack Welch used to spend an hour a day in what he called “looking out of the window time”. When he was in charge of Microsoft Bill Gates used to take two “think weeks” a year when he would lock himself in an isolated cottage. Jim Collins, of “Good to Great” fame, advises all bosses to keep a “stop doing list”. Is there a meeting you can cancel? Or a dinner you can avoid?

Your time is valuable. Make sure you’re spending it wisely.