In start-ups, time really is money

Heads down, prove fit, get traction, raise funds. For a founding team, there’s little opportunity to review how you’re using time. Nonetheless, time is money.

Every team is diverse from a time-management perspective. Every member brings their own visions of start-up culture and ingrained assumptions about email availability and how to run a meeting. They have different personal priorities, energy levels and sleep quotas.

It’s no place for one-size-fits-all solutions. Roles are evolving, teams growing, priorities shifting. Traditional time management training can only go so far in this environment.

Enter: TimeBeings.

The entrepreneurial work/life challenge

Growing up in an entrepreneurial household, the interdependency of work and life was always clear.

As a family, we celebrated business milestones and enjoyed freedoms enabled by business success. We also shared the stress during downturns, when employees were laid off and suppliers couldn’t pay. I watched my mum find hours in her day to work extra shifts, run the business, get another degree. I’ve seen business failure and resurrection, relationships suffer in recoverable and unrecoverable ways.

When my brothers’ start-up raised seed funding, and I was incredibly proud and a little jealous. I’d loved supporting them and my husband’s business from the sidelines, but also wanted to build something of my own. By this time, my second child was born and I’d resigned from an ambitious corporate job I loved. I didn’t want to work or parent by halves, and knew that once I was done with full-time parenting, there’d be a new chapter in my career.

As I was contemplating my options, I knew I had to solve for work/life balance first. So I dived deep into time management theory.

Data is power

When I came across the concept of time tracking for self-development, I was skeptical. Could the benefits would justify the tedium? I was already pretty productive, after all. You can imagine my surprise when, after a half-hearted tracking attempt, the data revealed solid scope for getting much more out of my time. Not just to get more done, but to work on my health, to have fun, to volunteer: I had the pieces to build the life I wanted.

“You don’t build a life you want by saving time. You build the life you want, then the time saves itself. Recognising that is what makes success possible.”

Laura Vanderkam, I Know How She Does It

So I dived deeper, and tested more strategies. I was interested in our perceptions of time, why our estimates are often inaccurate and how this plays out in business. The idea that I could use my time data not only to diagnose problems, but also to prove my progress was particularly satisfying. When I couldn’t find a tool that set out the data as I wanted it, I put together something myself.

We are all time beings

The pandemic triggered lots of conversations around time. Those unable to work struggled to keep themselves busy. Working parents panicked about supervising homeschooling children while meeting work deadlines. For many, it was an opportunity to enjoy simpler weekends and reflect on the commitments we didn’t know we could do without. People wondered how to hold onto the benefits of the forced-slow down once their old activities were available again.

I knew the answer would be in their time data, if only I could raise entrepreneurs above the day-to-day long enough to see the potential of time well spent. That data would reveal their blind-spots and inform targeted strategies to hit their time goals, whatever they may be. Research showed me this would improve their productivity, work/life balance, job satisfaction, staff retention, and ultimately their business performance.

Since 2020, TimeBeings has been helping start-up leaders and teams own their time. This looks different for each individual and team, but has included creating more space for deep focussed work, developing new meeting protocols, improving sleep consistency, managing distractions and supporting leader accessibility and boundaries.

Time is money, but it’s your life, too.

Jenna Polson

TimeBeings helps fast-growing teams smash their goals sustainably. Data-driven, research-backed, guaranteed.

Ready to explore options for your team? TimeBeings offers employee experience design and 1:1 coaching customised to your needs. Book a discovery call to chat with Jenna about your vision of time well spent.