“If only there were more hours in the day.” If you don’t wish this on a regular basis, you’ve probably at least heard someone else mention it at one point or another. Time is a valuable and precious commodity and as a student entrepreneur with a busy schedule, time management can be challenging.
With so many stakeholders vying for your time, from friends and family, to business partners and customers, to professors and coaches, it’s not easy to achieve a work/life/school balance. To help you become more successful at managing life as a student entrepreneur, we’ve compiled the top 4 tips from student entrepreneurs that you can apply to your life.
1. Prioritize to Organize
Setting priorities is a key to staying organized. While juggling so many things and wearing so many hats, it’s important to know what needs to get done immediately to successfully execute and move the ball forward. “Prioritize things according to importance and immediacy. This allows you to objectively determine how to divide your time,” advises Victor Kung, an alum of the University of Chicago. Following a list of priorities as a schedule can help you to manage stress and manage many tasks at once.
Once you’ve set your priorities, how do you keep track of it all? Take advantage of free online tools! Luke Zhang, founder of DINE Concierge and a student at Northwestern University, lives by color coded sticky notes and his Google calendar. Eric Tendian, founder of Clarify and a student at the Illinois Institute of Technology, uses the virtual visualization, whiteboard-esque tool Trello. Many entrepreneurs swear by David Allen’s book Getting Things Done as a resource for learning and implementing organization techniques.
2. Learn to Say No
Your time is valuable. This is important to remember.
Although there may be many things you want to do, people you want to help, or projects you may want to take on, remember that your time is limited. As Sunny Shah, a student at the Illinois Institute of Technology and president of his campus CEO club, said “Don’t do things you don’t like. Don’t take classes that aren’t important and don’t join clubs just because you think you should. It’s not as hard as you think.”
Be conscientious of your time and once you know your priorities, it’s okay to say no to something that is not pertinent to what you want to achieve and what is going to add value to you and your business.
3. Build Relationships
It’s easy to get wrapped up in your business or idea and neglect those around you. No matter how busy you get, take time to build and cultivate relationships. As the saying goes, it’s not who you know, but what you know. Relationships are important to growing your idea and your business and finding the people who will support and promote you.
“Socializing is number one; making friends is interesting and important.” Although Liliana Leon, a student at DePaul University and founder of Flight Wines International, is busy launching her first wine brand 24kPINK, meeting and engaging with people not only keeps her focused and grounded, but it’s also a strategic move to understand her customer and create sustainable partnerships. Whether it’s attending networking events, conferences, meet-ups or just getting out of your house, socializing can be beneficial to your business and to your sanity.
4. Don’t Forget About You
In the hustle and bustle of building a company, focusing on school, and maintaining relationships, don’t forget to take time for yourself. This can include time for reflection, gratitude, self-improvement or pursuing a passion or learning a new hobby. You are your most valuable asset, so don’t neglect your personal development. Ryan Hesslau, founder of foreverU and a student at Trinity Christian College, takes one hour each day to relax and reflect. For example, in conjunction with the #MakeTime campaign, Bianca Perry, founder of BBands and a student at DePaul University, makes time to read even when she’s busy, whether it’s on the train or in between classes.
The key to obtaining a successful work/life/school balance all comes down to knowing yourself and understanding your productivity patterns. Achieving better time management skills will help you be more successful in all aspects of your personal and professional life.
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