You are Responsible for Your Time


I struggled to create time for my business while trying to meet the demands of my 9-to-5 job and my family. I wished I had more time!

However, with consistent effort, I have learned to create time for my business, without dropping the ball at work.

In this post, i share 11 tips tips that have helped me to remain focused and become more effective with my time, especially for my business.

1.    Uncover Time Sink

The first step to effective time management is self-awareness. The more aware you become of your habits, the more data you will have to make better time-management plans and decisions going forward.

Assess yourself on how you typically spend your time daily: in the office, in transit, at home, on social media, on entertainment etc. Some activities may appear legitimate, but they don’t contribute to accomplishing your daily goals. Such activities are time sinks.

Time sinks also include spending more time on an activity than is required. If I wanted to catch up on latest news and ended up spending several hours surfing the web, I will be doing more harm than good.   

There are numerous time tracking apps available to help with assessing how we spend our time. Check the best 5 time tracking apps here.

2.    Own Your Time

Own Your Time
Your Time is Yours

Now you have a good idea of which activities are taking the most of your time, and a general sense of how those realities measure up against your goals. You will need to figure out how to find more time to spend on your highest-priority activity.

Take possession of your own time and do not allow other people to make commitments of your time without your permission. It is not selfish to keep other people from consuming your time.

Give your time freely when you want, but do not make the mistake of undervaluing this resource or feeling guilty when you do not allow other people to waste it.

If you want to create time for your business, especially as a 9-to-5er, you have to own your time and make it count.

My greatest turning point was when I am realized that I am ultimately responsible for the outcomes of how I managed my time.

3. Break Down Tasks into Manageable Pieces

One of the sources of procrastination is that some tasks can seem too overwhelming to even begin. Learn to break down a large task into manageable pieces and then begin with a piece you know you can handle.

The most challenging step on major undertakings is often the first one. Besides, you will have a greater sense of satisfaction as you complete each individual portion of the task and this can keep you motivated to the end. Think of a major task you have ahead of you. How could you break it down into manageable pieces?

4.    Prioritize

One of the things I initially struggled with was interruptions. I was always cut up in a rush trying to respond to everything as they come irrespective of their urgency and importance. However, I realized that in order to be on track, I have to set some ground rules to ensure that if my attention is diverted, it must be for the right thing at the right time.

Treating every task as equal is a recipe for overwhelm and frustration. So I Continually check myself that I am working on the most significant thing per time.

I filter my daily tasks through the priority frame shown below.

Do not think of priorities only as tasks that need doing. As you remember to direct yourself to the most important tasks first, you will find yourself letting go of tasks that really did not need to be done in the first place.

5.    Focus and Learn to say “No”

When I began my entrepreneurial journey, I started doing several things at the same time: I enrolled for different courses, joined different groups, began reading several books. I was doing everything I thought was best for me to do.

Unfortunately, I got burnout and my health broke down. I was chasing different things at the same time, without any form of clarity. I could not say no to anyone trying to sell “business-made-easy” stuff.  

The lesson for me was that I needed to focus on one time per time. Don’t dissipate your energy chasing different things. It’s not productive, especially if you are a new entrepreneur.

Don’t feel guilty when you decline something which is not part of your priorities.

6.    Use Time Boxing

Time Box is a technique I read from the book MANAGING TIME by Harvard Business Review (20 MINUTE MANAGER SERIES). Check out my video summary of this book here.

The book defined Time boxing as a planning tool. It involves breaking down your schedule into a number of small time periods – say, 30mins, 1hr, 2hrs chunks- and then slotting tasks into each chunk.

Time boxing prevents randomness and instead brings the following:

  • Accountability- If you commit to a schedule to paper, you are more likely to follow it
  • Efficiency – Grouping similar tasks together will allow you to get more done in less time because you won’t be shifting metal gears between tasks
  • Time awareness – You will be more focused and productive
  • Healthy Pressure – When you know you only have a set period of time to accomplish something, you are more likely to push ahead and get it done
  • Focus – When you set time constraints, you are more likely to keep your attention on the task at hand
  • Effectiveness – Setting a time limit will help quell the urge to spend too much time on minor, inconsequential details and force you to see the big picture instead.

7.    Delegate

We do not have the time to do all the tasks. Delegating means assigning the responsibility for a task to somebody else. That signifies you no longer have to do the task, nor do you have to remind somebody else to do it.

Being able to delegate some tasks is a way of freeing up some of your time for the jobs that only you are able to do. As somebody else learns to do a job, do not be tempted to take over if they are not doing it quite right. You have to learn that “done” may be “good enough.”

Starting a side business on a budget, may require you to do a lot of the tasks yourself. If that is your case, then you need to extend your result time frame. However, if you can afford to outsource some services, don’t hesitate to do so.   

There’s an intimate relationship between time and money, where one can often be substituted for the other. The more hectic your schedule, the more reasonable it is to buy time by selecting goods and services that save you from investing time. Paying somebody to clean your home or transport your kids to football practice are examples of purchasing time.

8.    Understand Your Biological Clock

We all have a peak time of day when our energy is at its highest and concentration at its best. Determine which time of day is your peak performance time and plan your work accordingly. Keep meetings and routine tasks for other parts of the day when you have the choice.

When I return from my 9-to-5 job, I try to have a nap before starting to work on my business. I usually have one to two hours max to work on my business; I want to make sure I am giving it my best concentration.

9.    Practice Overcoming Procrastination

I am often tempted to put-off work. I want to remain in my comfort zone. In fact, I have used preparation as a form procrastination.

However, I have practiced below remedies as recommended in the book MANAGING TIME by Harvard Business Review (20 MINUTE MANAGER SERIES).

•Set deadlines – Deadlines hold you accountable and particularly if you just don’t want to do something

•Start small – The dread to do a task dissipates when we actually get down to work. The key is to start small

•Ask for help – If you are having trouble with something, ask for assistance rather than postponing your work on it. 

10. Celebrate Your Small Wins

Celebrating Small Wins
Celebrating Small Wins

Celebrate when a major task is completed or a major challenge is met. One of the problems with a hectic life is that you can be so busy that you fail to notice the completion of a major piece of work. You just move on to the next job without celebrating your previous success.

This leads to focusing on what is still left undone instead of enjoying what has already been accomplished.

Set up a reward system for yourself that serves as both a motivator to get certain difficult tasks done and an acknowledgment that you are making effective use of your time. Be it a bubble bath, two chapters of a new book, or a phone call to a friend, acknowledge your accomplishment by rewarding yourself.

11. Repeat The Process

Time management is not a one-off thing. It doesn’t matter if you are extremely organized and self-disciplined; you are going to face challenges from time to time. There will be roadblocks along the way, and you may fall back into bad habits. If you are deviating from your goal, through the process again. It’s a continuous cycle to remain on track.

If you are considering starting a business, but you not sure what niche to focus in; I have complied a list of 1834+ product niches to start a business. You can read it here.

Please post a comment and share this post if you found it useful.


  1. This post contains many insightful tips on how to utilize time wisely.

    Some of the things that caught my attention are:

    1. Set daily activities into time box
    2. Do not allow yourself or people waste your time and don’t feel guilty about it too
    3. Outsource things you can to save your time

    Thank you for his very insightful post

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