Time Management for Founders and Start-Ups

As a founder, you wear many hats, and competing priorities can absorb your whole workday without allowing for any real progress. In this article, you will learn how to manage your time and get stuff done effectively.

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Do you struggle to check items off your to-do list? As a founder, you wear so many hats, and competing priorities can absorb your whole workday without allowing for any real progress. 

To help you navigate time management as a founder, we’ve put together this article full of time management strategies. We’ll cover the following:

  • How to Determine the Amount of Time you Need for Tasks
  • Time Blocking
  • The Pomodoro Technique 
  • The Eisenhower Decision Matrix

Let’s get started!

Determining how Much Time you Need for a Task

Before you can begin to efficiently manage your time, you have to figure out how much time different tasks will take you. As a founder and a start-up, you can do this by focusing on your North Star metric(s). 

To do this, we recommend you work backward from your North Star metric to figure out how much time you’ll need in total to accomplish your goal. 

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you need to double your monthly recurring revenue (MRR) by closing three new clients this month. 

To close those customers, you know you’ll need nine new demos. For those nine demos, let’s say you’ll need to send 90 cold emails. And each of those emails will take 5 minutes. 

With the easy part done, you now have to do some math to figure out how much time you’ll need to devote to achieving your end goal. 

To give you a little wiggle room for brain breaks, round up to an even 8 hours of work. 

This means to meet your North Star metric of doubling your MRR, you need to have 8 hours of time on your calendar for this overall task. 

Replicate this process for your own tasks, and you’ll know exactly how much time you need to schedule when you time block.

How to Time Block

Time blocking is a time management strategy that involves breaking your day into chunks of time and scheduling activities for each time block. 

This time management method can be great for one reason, in particular, Parkinson’s Law. 

Parkinson’s Law says that a specific task will take as much time as you give it. For example, if you give yourself all night to update a web page, it will likely take you all night. 

Time blocking helps you avoid spending unnecessary time on tasks by confining tasks to a set period of time.

Unfortunately, only some tasks will fit nicely into a repeatable block of time. For those tasks, consider using the Pomodoro technique. 

The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro technique is a system that helps you increase productivity by breaking tasks down into short bursts of work. 

To start, decide what task you’d like to work on. 

Gather what you need to get started, and when you’re ready to begin, set a timer for 25 minutes. 

When the timer rings, take a 5-minute break. 

Repeat this cycle 4 times (for 2 hours), and then reward yourself with a bit of a longer break. 

The Pomodoro technique is an excellent technique for tasks that require a bit more flexibility or will take a long time.

The Eisenhower Decision Matrix for Founders

Developed by former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Eisenhower decision matrix is a great tool for organizing your priorities. 

The matrix divides tasks into four categories: 

  • Urgent and important
  • Not urgent but important
  • Urgent but not important
  • Neither urgent nor important 

By assigning different priorities to each task, founders can better organize their time and focus on what's most essential. Here’s how we recommend approaching your tasks based on which quadrant they fall in.

Final Thoughts on Time Management

As a busy professional, you can’t afford to waste time on tasks that don’t move the needle for your business. By taking the time to understand how much time you need for a task and using techniques like Eisenhower Decision Matrix and Pomodoro Technique, you can optimize your workflow and get more done in less time. 

Have questions? Visit us online for content designed to help founders in their journey. Or, visit us on YouTube, where we have a library of helpful videos for start-ups. 

In addition to our regular posts and videos, we offer a free 12-week course. All you have to do is apply

Kelly Schricker

Kelly is a Principal at LAUNCH, an investment firm founded by angel investor Jason Calacanis. She spends her time supporting founders. She co-hosts Founder University’s 12-week program and Founder University Podcast. Prior to LAUNCH, Kelly was VP of Operations at, and helped grow revenue from <$1M to $4M+ in 3 years. She's spent over 10 years in early-stage startups, as a founder and early employee focusing on growth and operations.