Time is progressive. There is a limit and you cannot get back what you have wasted. Working in a startup is fast, agile and demanding. Teams at startups work at least 40 – 50% more in a lifetime compared to an average worker. A great amount of time is spent on planning, innovating, execution and maintenance of a certain product / service / culture. As a startup, being aware of your time makes you ahead of time. Here are 5 ways you can maximise your time to stay ahead and build a progressive startup.

1. Set Short-Term Goals

Long-term goals is a point of victory. Develop shorter sprints to ensure higher intensity and regular wins. Sprinting allows for multiple checkpoints, this creates quicker decision making and assurance; pivoting if the need arises. Realise your short-term wins to fuel you; use them as your compass for the “what’s next” questions.

2. Utilise Your Calendar

Dates and time go in tandem. Don’t trust your brain to remember your appointments. Be intentional and set them on your calendar. If you have a smartphone with a calendar app, use it (find your calendar fit)! Make it a habit to create an ‘event’ in your calendar for all occasions, both work and personal – WIP meetings, interviews, team meetups, dinner dates, car wash. Use the ‘invite’ functions to ensure those attending are aware. Most importantly, check your calendar daily to ensure you do not over commit and respect each others’ time.

3. Have An Agenda

There is a saying in our company – “No agenda, no meet.”. The reason is simple and practical – if you call for a meeting, the intentions need to be clear, the achievements need to be made known so that all attendees are of the same mindset and can prepare beforehand. Since we work in a fast-paced environment, every minute counts in a meeting, make full use of it.

4. Be Productive, Not Busy

There is a stark difference between busy people and productive people. You can find a multitude of written articles about being busy vs being productive, but it all boils down to 3 keywords of a productive person – ‘focus’, ‘purpose’ and ‘executors’ (less talk, more action). So, do not be afraid to be less “busy”. Less is more, slow is fast.

5. “5-Minute Victories”

This is an effective method to maximise your time. The “5-minute victory” is simply a concept that suggest the usage of small windows of your time for smaller, less ‘brain juice’ tasks. The task may not be urgent, but rather important. For example, you will notice that in a day, you will have multiple time-outs (in-between meetings, breathers, waiting for your lunch buddies to wrap up), take advantage of these small windows of opportunity to reply quick emails, make that quick phone call, talk to that colleague that owes you a quick status update. Be aware of those small pockets of time and turn it into a win.

Owe it to yourselves, whether you are founders or co-workers of a startup, guard your time, use it to your best effort so that you can achieve so much more than what you set out to do. Remember to use your time for rest and fun too. Being in a startup ain’t just about the work – create a holistic and integrated approach to your startup career.