Ilya Pozin is an entrepreneur, writer and investor. He is the founder of Open Me, a social greeting card company, and Ciplex, a digital marketing agency. He’s a columnist on entrepreneurship and marketing.


As an entrepreneur or startup founder, being stretched thin comes with the territory. Juggling a busy schedule may be second nature for you, but are you really using your time wisely?

As the founder of two startups, I’ve grown so accustomed to being busy that I don’t think I function as well without a lot on my plate. But it’s taken years of practice for me to fine-tune my time management to ensure I’m not just getting things done but also maximizing every spare minute. This is especially important when it comes to your downtime–even if it’s just 15 minutes per day.

Here are seven things to accomplish while making the best use of every spare minute you have:

1. Reprogram your schedule

Using your brief moment of downtime to work on scheduling could save you a lot of time in the future. How much time are you allocating toward meetings, projects, or anything else you’re encountering on a daily basis?

Focus on slivers of time where you can cut back. For example, rather than scheduling a one hour meeting to chat with your team, cut out the fluff so it’s 30 minutes or less.

2. Brainstorming

Idea generation is crucial to every startup founder, but it can be challenging to find time in your busy schedule. If you have 30 minutes of quiet time in the morning, brainstorm some ways to improve your business or just let your creativity flow for a while. Or, if your team is having a slow work day, invite them to the meeting room and divide them into teams for an impromptu brainstorming session.

Give the team with the best new ideas a reward, like flex time or a day to work from home.

3. Strategizing

Every minute counts when it comes to strategizing ways to grow your business. This could mean researching new ways to reach your customer base via marketing strategies or simply improving your website.

To put your spare time strategizing to better use, consider bringing in your business partner or trusted employee to help you further your thinking.

4. Evaluate your team

When was the last time you spent time evaluating the way your team functions? Go beyond considering their efficiency and whether they’re thoroughly engaged. Instead, hone in on their strengths and weaknesses and figure out ways for them to improve. You may even want to pull your employees aside for a one-on-one to individually to address any issues and gain feedback.

5. Rework internal processes

Is your business running as smoothly as you think it is? Take time to figure out ways to improve your internal processes and boost company-wide efficiency.

For example, you may find a software program that can automate menial tasks. Or maybe you’re struggling internally with the management and delegation of your teams. Consider restructuring your organization to remove hierarchy and function in a new manner.

6. Uninterrupted general focus

Balancing a busy schedule often means struggling to find time to sit down and truly focus on something for a long period of time. Take advantage of every spare moment of down time to achieve uninterrupted focus on a pressing matter, even if it’s just organizing your inbox.

7. Catch up on reading

Believe it or not, reading is a great way to make use of your time. Make time to read up on the latest industry news, check out what your competitors are doing, or even finish up that book that’s been gathering dust on your shelf. Feeding your mind also enhances your creativity and productivity overall.

Use your spare moments of relief from a busy schedule as effectively as possible to help your business.

How do you use your downtime?

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