Time Management - A vital entrepreneurship skill
Entrepreneurship education fosters skills and mindset not only to prepare learners for the future within complex economic environments, but also as a means of fostering personal and social development. The objectives of entrepreneurship education and training are to impart those critical skills that prepare learners for the journey, such as collaborating with others, expressing creativity in problem solving, adopting the "can-do" attitude of a growth mindset, and time management. This last skills should perhaps top the list of tools needed to become an entrepreneur, as it ties into being able to identify potential roadblocks and solutions to success and overcome them.
In time management, having the mindset to be punctual is paramount to understanding the reasons behind actions taken. The journey toward successful entrepreneurship is also a journey in self-discovery. Getting to know your "personal clock", technically called circadian rhythms, will help you recognize that many external factors influence the internal variations in the body controlled by the brain, where certain genes control everything from body temperature to blood sugar and possibly even mood. Getting to the root of a habitual tardiness problem helps you prepare yourself to face daily challenges, whether that means setting your alarm for an earlier wakeup time or finding an alternate route to work during inclement weather. Getting to know your personal clock also helps you plan your day.
The first thing every entrepreneur learns is that everyday, both essential and urgent matters must be addressed. These can be grouped into categories that prompt action:
- Urgent and vital — these are matters that are pushed to the top of the "to do" list since they are critical to achieving important goals
- Important, but not urgent — tasks that can be scheduled for later.
- Urgent, but not important — do these require your attention, or can they be delegated?
- Neither urgent nor important — take them off the list
A recent article in the Journal of Consumer Research prompted the question: when faced with choices between tasks of varying levels of urgency and importance, how do people choose? Researchers suggest that people may choose to perform urgent tasks with short completion windows, instead of important tasks with larger outcomes, because important tasks are more difficult and further away from goal completion; urgent tasks involve more immediate and certain payoffs. This "mere urgency effect" results in a tendency to pursue urgency over importance even when these normative reasons are controlled for.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins, University of Florida and University of Chicago
conducted experiments to demonstrate whether people are more likely to perform
unimportant tasks (i.e., tasks with objectively lower payoffs) over important tasks
(i.e., tasks with objectively better payoffs), when the unimportant tasks are
characterized merely by spurious urgency (e.g., an illusion of expiration). The
mere urgency effect documented in this research violates the basic normative
principle of dominance—choosing objectively worse options over objectively
better options. People behave as if pursuing an urgent task has its own appeal,
independent of its objective consequence.
The important note here: resist biting off more than you can chew. Spreading yourself too thin could have serious repercussions, not only in preventing you from moving forward with your venture but also is keeping healthy. Ditto for multi-tasking - a topic left for another time.