Entrepreneurs manage time most effectively & efficiently because they know time is only thing which cannot be controlled.
Incredible Time-Management: Pawan Agrawal
The Mumbai Dabbawala is a 118 years old association. They are engaged in the delivery of homemade food to the working class at their offices. The success of this institution seems justified owing to the fact that Mumbai is a hugely sprawling place and transportation is generally crowded. Dabbawalas have become the quintessential example of hard work, supply chain management triumph, team work and time management. Their models have been a topic of interest for many national as well as international B-Schools. According to Dr.Pawan Agrawal, CEO OF Mumbai Dabbawalas, the three point formula which the organisation owes its success to is of Discipline, Unmatched Time-Management and Hard Work. Perhaps the only thing that differentiates the Mumbai Dabbawalas from other organisations according to Dr. Agrawal is the utmost importance they give to customer satisfaction. Without any technological backup and logistical support the dabbawalas are able to perform day-in and day-out with utmost precision, highlighting the reason why the organization is the only one in India and the second in the world to have got the elusive 6 Sigma rating i.e.1 error in 6 million transactions! Dr. Agrawal says that it is the passion and devotion towards work which drive the dabbawalas; else they couldnt have read the address in English, being illiterate. The best part about them is that they are still dedicated and devoted to their only motive that is: delivering Dabbas on time. Around 2, 00,000 dabbas get moved daily by an estimated 4,500 to 5,000 dabbawalas, charging a pretty meager fee and with utmost punctuality.
As an entrepreneur, time can be one of your most precious assets. Effective time management involves planning the amount of time you spend on all of the tasks of running a business — and your personal life — to get things done in the most effective and productive manner.
You can improve your time management skills by using a range of tools and techniques used to accomplish specific tasks, projects and goals. Some of the elements of effective time management include creating a productive environment, setting of priorities and reducing distractions.
As a busy entrepreneur, here are some tips on how to manage time:
1. ‘Calendarize’ everything. Schedule everything you do in the day including studying business plans, reviewing documents, conducting meetings. Have a clear idea of your tasks at hand to plan effectively. While it may take time to schedule your day, doing this will allow you to make the most of every hour of your day and make efficient use of your limited time.
2. Face difficult tasks at your peak. Generally, it’s best to face the most challenging, tedious tasks in the morning. Why? Because counter to what you may think, the morning is generally when you are at your optimum performance level. Any follow up or repercussions can be managed during the same day, and you can breathe easier by putting the task behind you.
3. Organize. Don’t start a ‘file pile.’ File everything as soon as it is completed. This will save you from wasting time looking for documents later. The same goes for contact names. Scan them into Outlook along with specific notes about people you meet. For example, where you met them, what relevance they are to your business or people you may have in common, etc. This helps down the road when you want to quickly revisit that person’s profile to remind yourself of key details that they may have shared with you.
4. Delegate. Whether at the office or at home, when you have the right people working with you, you worry less. Delegating tasks is an essential art that every entrepreneur should learn. By delegation of work you save yourself from being overburdened and at the same time develop the skill set of your subordinates. Delegation clears some of the tasks off your plate and allows you to focus on those which require your personal attention.
5. Take advantage of technology. They call them smartphones, but are we smart enough to use them to their full capacity? Helpful apps and tools such as Skype, synching, calendar reminders, etc. are available at your fingertips – use them.
6. Prepare the night before. Take time in the evening to plan for the following day. Avoid a last minute scramble or risk forgetting something critical.
7. Every minute counts. If you are travelling or going somewhere where you will need to kill some time, download documents to a USB key and to your laptop. Long waits can be best filled by responding to e-mails or working through documents. Make sure your laptop is fully charged.
8. Reduce distractions. You can shut your door, turn down music or forward your phone messages, but this does not stop people from knocking on your door. Reducing distractions means training people around you to respect the time you have scheduled to focus on a task at hand.
9. Ask for an agenda or just say ‘no.’ The busier you are, the more people will demand your time. If you are invited to a meeting, ask for an agenda. If you learn that the meeting is about something that you are not suited for or is not in line with your business goals, then politely decline and suggest a person or company that may better suit their needs. You don’t want to waste your time or theirs. If you are not prepared for what will be addressed in the meeting, ask for a later date. When time is limited, you need to prioritize how to best use those valuable hours. By organizing your meetings ahead of time you will find them to be more effective and efficient.
10. Focus. If you choose to do something, then be prepared and focus. Give your undivided attention to the task at hand whether it is a meeting or an event. If you do not stay in the moment, you’ll miss something important and all of your preparedness will be for naught when you overlook a relevant detail.
Personal and financial success of an entrepreneur relies heavily on ability to manage his time effectively.