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Why Time Is The Most Valuable Resource

Do you ever create a to-do list for the day’s tasks and feel absolutely defeated when you can’t finish it? Sometimes, that feels worse than losing a sale. Why? Because time is the most valuable resource. And that rings especially true for today’s entrepreneurs. Business owners know more than anyone that time is a fleeting resource, but it’s even more valuable than money. 

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We’ll explain why and offer practical tips to optimize your time. Once you grasp time management, you’ll feel sharp, refreshed, and energized enough to keep on moving upwards.

What Is The Most Valuable Resource?
You have many business resources to help you operate. Human resources for contractors and staff; physical resources like money and equipment; educational resources like skills and courses — but none are possible without the most valuable resource of all: time. In North American culture, time and money are in constant battle.

We constantly feel like there is never enough time, so it feels like a scarce resource, but time must work for you, not the other way around.

Christina Lyon, CEO of Lyon Content Agency

Studies show that choosing time over money leads to longer-term happiness. Scholars Dunn, Macchia, and Whillans found they could predict university student lifepaths based on their higher priority: money or time.

The universities of Pennsylvania and California conducted a study with thousands of Americans that offered even more assurance: People who valued time over money were happier. And if you scoff at happiness as a priority in your business, think again.  

Happiness makes you healthier and live longer, reducing depression and physical pain. Sounds like a great way to tackle your day’s business tasks, right? But happiness isn’t the only reason backing time’s claim as the most valuable resource. 

Related Reading: Accounting for Startups: A Complete Guide

Why Time is the Most Valuable Resource

Here are a few reasons why you should prioritize your time:

Time multiplies all your other resources: You need time to strategize your business goals, onboard employees, seek the right investments, and basically keep your business running. A disintegration of time leads to a slow decay in every other aspect of your business. 

“Early in my business, I had no boundaries about time management,” says Lyon. “I would work from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on weekends, and this led to burnout. To honor my time, I outsourced my most time-consuming tasks, hired an assistant, and set shorter hours for myself. I now work less and produce more, freeing up my time to focus on revenue-generating tasks for my business and knowing when to close the laptop and sign off.”

You can never get it back: If you’re a business owner, it’s easy to forget that there’s always money to be made. Canada takes eighth place in the list of best countries for entrepreneurs, trailing closely behind top spots held by Germany and the US. Despite inflation and rising costs, you can always make more money or at least try to. But no matter how hard you try, you won’t regain lost time. 

Time mitigates business problems: If you’re scrambling from one task to another with no handle on time, a crisis can trigger a total business meltdown. Time management gives you the tools to handle pertinent business issues with calmness and grace, just enough to resolve them with minimal effects. 

Related Reading: Business Risk Management: What to Know

How to Optimize Your Most Valuable Resource

As an entrepreneur or business owner, managing your time is quintessential for success. Here are some times on how to optimize your most valuable resource.

1. Assess your situation

Do you know where all your time is going? You won’t until you actually record it. Go about a regular day and examine where you’re spending your time. An easy way to do this is to have a notepad (online or physical) with a line for every hour of the day. Set a timer each hour and record what you’ve done in that hour. 

If you realize you’ve spent 45 minutes browsing ideas for your next vacation, don’t worry. It happens! Let’s get you back on track. 

2. Prioritize tasks

Habits and improvement expert James Clear advocates doing the day’s most important task first. Do you ever find yourself completing smaller tasks while a looming, giant obligation haunts you for the rest of the day? Avoid that by knowing exactly what your biggest priority is and tackling it. 

Sarah Mackenzie, Owner of Sarah MacKenzie Copywriting and Web Design, agrees:

Get the hard thing out of the way at the beginning of your day. That way, you (hopefully) feel more motivated to get the rest of the day’s tasks done. As a copywriter, that task is typically editing for me. I like to always edit with a fresh mind so I can more easily recognize errors.  And the best time to do that is first thing in the morning.

You might also find it helpful to categorize every task based on priority, like urgent, important, or minor. Start by listing your priorities for the day and categorize them based on importance and urgency. Once you’re left with only the minor tasks, you might complete them or gift yourself a little extra time in your day. 

There are tons of prioritization strategies out there, like time boxing, weekly goal setting, the one minute rule and many more. To take charge of your time, test out different methodologies and see what works best for you. When things start to feel dull, switch up your tactics!

3. Use a calendar for hours, not just days

Calendars are intuitive enough, right? If you have a meeting with a client, your Google calendar will notify you. 

But if you have trouble managing time, why not plan your calendar by hours-long blocks for different tasks? This helps you stay accountable as you know exactly what tasks each hour is dedicated to. By allocating time to each tasks, you’ll also prevent yourself from working on a task for a disproportionate amount of time. Remember, perfection is the enemy of progress, as said by Winston Churchill.

Related Reading: 14 Business Terms Every Entrepreneur Should Know

4. Stop Multitasking

We hear you groaning, but studies show your multitasking keeps you from optimal productivity. 

The Cleveland Clinic says you spend more time and energy switching back and forth between different tasks. You’re preparing your brain for new activities and settling in too many times in a short period to be productive. The result? You’ll take longer and make more mistakes. 

5. Get comfortable saying no

Warren Buffet once said:

The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.

New business owners, especially in the art scene, deal with a feeling of scarcity. If you say no to work, you might not make enough to meet your financial goals. If you say no to a client, you might lose them. And so on. 

But if you say yes to things that take up too much time or aren’t contributing to your greater goals, you’re not just saying yes to a potential work task. You’re actually saying no to the chance of making more money or a better opportunity. Even though it can be nerve wracking, sometimes you have to hold out for the right opportunity.

“Clients that monopolize your time take you away from work on other projects,” says Lyon. “Time is money, so if they’re taking too much time, they’re taking too much money from your revenue.”

6. Outsource or hire

The Forbes Coaches Council describes “trying to do it all” as one of the biggest makes you can make as a business owner. Say you’re a talented entrepreneur running an artist residency program. Are you skilled at web design, data entry, and sales calls? Perhaps. But if you try to accomplish every business task under the sun, three things could happen: 

    • You won’t have enough time to grow your business. 

    • You’ll burn out. 

    • Your quality of services might suffer and you’ll feel less productive. 

Lyon elaborates:

“You simply cannot do it all. If you want to stay small, don’t invest in outsourcing. If you want to scale your business, start outsourcing on day one. This is hard to accept for new business owners who don’t have the budget to outsource, but even outsourcing a task that takes up five hours of your time every week will free up precious time for you to focus on revenue-generating tasks like lead nurturing and networking.”

Although, outsourcing and hiring can be a bit of a double edged sword. Often, it’s not a simple as handing off a task to someone and then going about your business. You need to communicate your objectives, train people, provide feedback and conduct quality control.

Related Reading: Canada contractor vs. employee: Which is better?

7. Don’t be so hard on yourself

It’s easy to feel guilty about being unproductive. Still, your mental health and sanity come first. If you need to take a break and reclaim some of your precious time, do it without regrets. 

And if you get too distracted by a social media scroll sesh? Sucheta Khurana, the owner of The Grounded Creative, has some advice:

I get as much work done as possible in a time block so I can have time to chill after. Being your own boss is tough sometimes, so it’s all about figuring out how you get in your way, and setting up measures so you don’t sabotage yourself!

At the end of the day, we’re all human. Some days will be more productive than others. And some days you might not meet all your objectives if you’re just not feeling motivated. Be kind to yourself when this happens! We all need a break sometimes and that’s perfectly okay.

Time Management Resources

Maybe your tech stack needs a refresh. Check out these fabulous time management tools: 

    • Toggl: Toggl records your time spent on anything you describe in the title. It’s a great way to record billable hours for clients, or simply assess how long it takes you to do certain tasks. You can even leverage the analytics section to see your time spent over the course of a week or month. These insights can help you strategize.

    • Asana: This project management tool is accessible, mobile-friendly, and helpful for tracking individual tasks and projects with assignments, calendars, and Kanban views. It’s also a great tool for delegating tasks to your team.

    • Todoist: Productivity expert Ali Abdal describes how difficult it is for your brain to remember things you don’t write down. That means every little task you do each day won’t be cemented in your brain. He advocates for the app Todoist — a way to record every single task that pops into his head. We especially like his categorized “someday” section, where your inspirational ideas can stay recorded for when you finally get to them. 

Manage Your Time with Creative Clan!

Still, having trouble managing your time? You might need an extra pair of eyes to perfect your strategy.

Here at Creative Clan, we love putting business operations under the microscope to help you find efficiencies. If you need support with time management, contact us today for a consultation! 

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