When you're trying to start your own company, one of the biggest obstacles can be effective time management.
Even if you've got the necessary business skills, a talented team and plenty of funding to get started, you'll still need to make sure you're using your time as efficiently as possible.
Marty Hu, a Stanford alumnus and co-founder of analytics firm Predictive Edge has some excellent strategies for improving time management in a startup environment.
Here are some highlights from his lengthy blog post, which made the rounds on Hacker News this morning. You can read his full post on Predictive Edge's blog.
Think about the big picture. In his post, Hu stresses the importance of building better long-term habits rather than finding short-term fixes, such as getting up earlier in the morning or cutting down the amount of time you spend on Facebook. While these may seem like strategies to help you create a more productive workday, it can also cause you to burn out faster.
Don't waste time doing useless work. This can be an easy mistake to make in a startup culture since there may not be anyone working above you. It may be easy to run with a great idea without thinking it through all the way, or deciding whether it's the most practical goal for your company at this time. Hu cited examples from his own experience co-founding Predictive Edge, saying that his team spent time building features that were never used. Ask yourself, 'Is this the most important thing you should be doing right now?' If the answer is yes, schedule an execution plan.
Don't wait on answers from other companies or clients. It can slow you down. There are some instances in which you may be waiting on a specific event or feedback from a client to move your business forward. Hu advises that you put this specific task or project in the background while focusing on other goals. He writes:
One of the main advantages of a startup is your ability to run faster than those around you. This advantage is entirely destroyed when you have to slow down your pace because you are depending on other organizations to make progress.
Invest your time. Hu's post describes investing time the same way you would invest money. He mentions that it's important to put time into activities that will save you work in the long run. This can include writing code designed to take on a task that you typically perform manually each day, which would ultimately save your time.
Don't cheap out on products that can help you be more productive. Sometimes coughing up 10 bucks a month for a business application that will save you hours of coding efforts is worth the price. In some cases, it's better to pay for a service than try to take care of it yourself. It also saves you the burden of having to update and maintain the program you've written yourself to keep up with your company's needs.
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