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You run your own business and have total control over your schedule. But here’s the catch: because you’re the boss, managing your time actually becomes even more challenging and critical.

Making sure you spend your time wisely is important in any career. But it’s even harder and crucial for an entrepreneur.

In many ways, time management is easier if you have a boss or a team telling you what you need to do and when you need to get things done. It’s a trickier and a bigger challenge if you’re building your own business.

There simply aren’t enough hours in a day for a business owner. There are always things to do, problems to solve, issues to think about. This is particularly true when you’re just starting your company.

That was my experience when I gave up my career as a venture capital investor to launch my startup in 2013. I had to do everything in the beginning. I mapped out our strategy, handled our finances, reached out to potential investors and partners, wrote code for our back office platform, prepared press releases and even made sure our office had enough supplies.

As my business grew and I started to get pulled in many directions, doing all this got harder. I reached a point when I realized that I had to get smarter about my time — that if I didn’t become more effective in time management, I would fail as an entrepreneur.

Here are three tips on how you can manage your time wisely as an entrepreneur:

  • Layer big tasks with small ones

I don’t believe in multitasking, typically described as being able to focus simultaneously on multiple tasks at the same time. But I do believe in layering big tasks that take time with small tasks.

There are things you need to do that require heavy lifting and you need to allocate enough time for these. That doesn’t mean that those are the only things you should focus on in a day or a week. Otherwise, you may feel that you’re progressing really slowly.

So while I focus on one or two big tasks in a day or a week, I reserve time to knock off the smaller, routine or even tactical tasks.

For example, I could spend a day intensely focused on rolling out a new product or preparing for a board meeting.

But there are gaps in my schedule that I use to knock off the less time-consuming tasks: responding to non-urgent emails, signing off on standard agreements, scheduling meetings, reviewing short documents. In fact, I make it a point to end my day making sure these small tasks are done before I go to bed. That way, I wake up the next day with a clean slate, and not feeling like I have a hangover from the previous day.

  1. Make sure you have enough setup time

Preparing a presentation, reviewing product initiatives, or responding to a proposal takes time, most of which are minutes and even hours spent reading, reflecting, absorbing information, and mulling over what to do next.

I call it setup time. And I’ve found that it’s important to make sure you have enough of it for major tasks.

The act of actually writing most presentations could take just a couple of hours. But you typically can’t just jump into that task, and it’s not all execution. The time it takes to gather and organize your thoughts, to get your head around what you’re trying to accomplish — those hours are the most important.

  1. Learn how to say ‘No’ to meetings

You’ve heard of how too many meetings can be counterproductive for any organization. This is definitely the case in a small business or a startup.

As a business owner, you will likely be pulled in many directions. You will be invited to all types of meetings, to seek your opinion and your blessing on a range of issues, even minor questions.

Accepting all those invitations is a mistake.

You need to figure out which meetings are really important, in terms of getting information and taking part in making decisions. You need to have a clear idea which decisions need to be made at the CEO level, and which ones do not require your active participation.You must learn how and when to say ‘No’ to a meeting invitation.

Remember, if every decision needs to be made at the CEO level, a company can’t function. In some cases, it’s even more beneficial for you not to attend a meeting because that makes for a more open conversation for the other members of your team.

Discipline is key in running a business, especially when it comes to how you make use of your time.