One of the things I love about my clients is that they are all entrepreneurs. They’re excited about their work and they’re passionate about their ideas. They love their businesses (sometimes) as if it were one of their children. And they spend a lot of time working.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that many entrepreneurs don’t always feel like they’re getting anything done … despite the long hours and hard work. They’re pretty sure they’re being inefficient and feel like there’s never enough time.

And that’s exhausting.

Here are four simple ways to stop wasting time!

1. Get clear about what you’re trying to accomplish. I see clients every day who are heading in 15 directions all at once. They jump from one thing to the next and back without any clear destination, always chasing the next shiny object.

 The best way to get clear is to take time to make measurable goals that are easy to articulate. For example: “In 2022, I want to increase revenue by $20,000;” “I want 10 more monthly retainer clients;” “I want to delegate 10 hours of work per week to an assistant.”

2. Make a plan that supports your goal. If your goal is to increase revenue by $20,000, identify five or six activities to support that objective. This might include raising prices, additional public speaking, attending more networking events, writing a newsletter, publishing on LinkedIn, etc.

Be deliberate about this. This is how you are going to spend your time.

3. Set up support systems. In order to know whether you’re carrying out your plan, it’s important to track what you’re doing. For example, part of your plan to increase revenue might be to attend at least one networking event a month, meet with one new person every week, publish a newsletter every other week and speak at six events. Instead of trying to track all of that progress in your head, set up an excel spreadsheet to track your successes each week.

Do you need to be flawless in your execution? No. Does it help to see what you’re actually doing in case you need to make mid-course corrections? Absolutely.

4. Don’t be afraid to say no. If you get a request that’s not aligned with your goal, it’s important to say no. If you have a bright idea that’s also not aligned with your goal (no matter how bright) it’s equally important to say no.

Do your goal setting and planning in quiet. Also, do it separately from your day to day activities. Be clear in your language and remove any ambiguity. Stick with it, even when you’re feeling short on time or energy. Be sure to add time to keep updating your systems.

In the end, you’ll feel more focused, get more done and enjoy your business a lot more than you thought you could.