If you ask ANY entrepreneur what is the ONE commodity they wish they had more of, it's almost always time.
Time to attack that massive task list. Time to spend with family at the end of the work day. Time to pursue other passions outside of the business. (WAIT, you do know there are other things you can be passionate about besides your business, right?)
Take a look at these 4 productivity habits that help Entrepreneurs manage their day to day with room for family and fun:
1. Build routines that ensure progress and consistently track that progress.
Once you figure out what is holding you back, it's much easier to move forward.
The most successful entrepreneurs have daily routines that are in line with their identities, and in turn, their routine feeds that same identity.
James Clear, one of the experts on the science of productivity and habits, advocates choosing goals that are important to you and then scheduling to work towards them consistently.
“For top performers, it’s not about the performance, it’s about the continual practice. The focus is on doing the action, not on achieving X goal by a certain date.The schedule is your friend.
You can’t predict when you’ll have a stroke of genius and write a moving story, paint a beautiful picture, but the schedule can make sure you’re working when that stroke of genius happens.”
– James Clear, Productivity Expert
And no worries, if you slip up. Adopt the mindset of 'Never Miss Twice' and stick to it. That takes the stress off when you do miss a day and prevents you from feeling so defeated that you stop your good habit altogether.
Don't forget to track it, either. We tend to become those things that we measure. There is no room for growth for that which we can't recognize. More importantly, it is critical to your success that you be able to document small wins.
What goal have you been itching to achieve but have been unsuccessful in doing so? How can you reframe this goal into a habit that can be scheduled on a regular basis?
Homework: Just visit James Clears site and read EVERYTHING. His blog posts are insightful and mixed with a healthy dose of science and motivation. You can start with this article here, where he goes more in depth on scheduling goals.
2. Minimize low impact decision making.
We only have so much willpower throughout the day. As the stresses of the day progress, our willpower diminishes. That means that making important decisions are easier when you haven't spent the day depleting your willpower already.
Saving your willpower for the important stuff, means that the important stuff will get the attention it deserves and you're more likely to make the right decision.
How can you minimize low impact decision making?
Well, implementing habit #4 of building routines will do most of the work automatically.
When you have a routine of which cafe you choose to work out of that day, or what protein packed breakfast you choose to eat, and it's built in, you no longer have to make those little decisions.
Your routine does it for you. Other ways include wearing your own version of a uniform to work every day, like Mark Zuckerberg does.
What parts of your day can you 'program' in that will reduce the amount of low impact decisions you're making?
Homework: If you suffer from decision fatigue, then you should read this awesome article by James Clear. He talks about ways to navigate it with you guessed it...SCIENCE!
3. Don't strive for perfection, just act.
I get it. You just wanna get it right.
It needs one more bug to be fixed, one more link to be added, one more piece to complete the puzzle. In some ways, having a bit of a perfectionist streak can be good. It pushes you to put out better quality work.
But, there are two kinds of perfectionism.
There's the one I described above, and then there is the neurotic perfectionist. The neurotic perfectionist is NEVER satisfied because their work is NEVER good enough.
This is where great, wonderful, beautifully imperfect businesses go to die. In the rush to make it to market first, it's the doers and their slightly flawed startups that end up changing the world.
"Put simply, in the face of an unknown future, entrepreneurs act. They deal with uncertainty not by trying to analyze it, or planning for every contingency, or predicting what the outcomes will be. Instead, they act, learn from what they find, and act again."
– Excerpt from the book 'Just Start.'
It boils down to a simple formula:
Act → Build → Learn → Repeat.
The path to success is littered with failures, so FAIL FASTER.
Seriously, if you know that there is a lot of failure up ahead, might as well push your best content out, take your calculated risks, and lower your expectations. But whatever you do: DON'T DO NOTHING.
We all have those side projects, and we all are waiting for the perfect moment to do something about it.
THERE IS NO PERFECT MOMENT, YOU FREAKING PERFECTIONIST.
Now is your moment. Chances are whatever you create will probably be amazing no matter how flawed it looks to you. It's your obligation to the world to create it, though.
What aspect of your current business trajectory are you holding off on because you're waiting to meet all the right conditions first?
Homework: Check out the book 'Just Start' if you're looking for tips on how to prevent action paralysis. These guys really know their stuff.
4. Take small risks and take them quickly.
There's a myth that the BEST entrepreneurs are the ones that take the BIGGEST risks.
This is false.
Truthfully, the BEST entrepreneurs are too smart to take sloppy, giant risks. Successful entrepreneurs are actually RISK AVERSE. To be more specific, they are BIG risk averse.
Small, calculated risks on the other hand are encouraged. The best entrepreneurs ask themselves instead:
"How can I take this step more cheaply and/or by using someone elses money; how can I do it faster so that I don't have to invest as much time and how can I do it better than I initially planned?"
These are the kinds of calculations they make before they make decisions. These are the kinds of calculations you should make, too.
What parts of your current business/brand could be done cheaper or faster if you invested in hiring someone else (for example) to do it?
Homework: Margie Warwell wrote a great piece on taking risk and WHY we're psychologically so afraid it and how to turn that around.
This post was the second post in a 4 post series, so if you haven't checked out the first post on how the best entrepreneurs take care of themselves and their mindsets, then you should definitely give it a look.
The next post in this series explores the ways in which we can take our teams and our businesses to the next level. From how to find the most profitable niche to why putting customers first is actually a BAD idea, you don't want to miss this next post.
And don't forget to comment below! We LOVE hearing from you.
What systems and productivity resources do you love that help you stay on track as an entrepreneur?