We all want to do more things in less time. It's a common theme throughout all of corporate America, and it even extends into professions like healthcare, education, and civil service. We can't rely on the institution we've placed ourselves in to help us accomplish this goal. Rather, I believe we must rely on multiple paradigm shifts in our own life. No longer can we say, 'Oh, I'll do that tomorrow', or 'Staying up an extra hour won't mean much tonight'. 2012 is a new year, a new opportunity to do new things with our lives, and more importantly, our personal lives.
If you're an entrepreneur like me, you probably work 50+ hours per week every week of the year, with the exception of maybe one or two 30 hour weeks around the holidays. You probably have a tight schedule of meetings, development time, and HR priorities. What you may not have is a highly organized and efficient manner of completing all these tasks. Success as an entrepreneur is not failing — ultimately it is a self-sufficient business that runs well under the guidance of a highly skilled team. Every entrepreneur wants to be freed up enough to go back to the dream board, either starting a new project or removing oneself enough from the business they started so they can look at the big picture. For the entrepreneur this means navigating major strategic decisions and focusing on creating new innovative products and services.
50% of What You're Doing Might Be A Distraction
You probably follow many entrepreneurs, on Twitter, Facebook, or even their personal blogs. The ones you follow probably have posts like "Top 10 Marketing Tips & Strategies", or "Content Marketing 101: Must Read". These things can be a distraction — at the end of the day, every business boils down to lead generation, conversion, and a sale. All of the social media marketing gurus who want to tell you about how Twitter or Google Adwords makes them thousands of dollars really aren't relevant to you. If you run aÂ product or service business, you must understand they run a business telling you how to run a business or make more money 'socially' in your business. These are two very different things. Bottom line — if you know what makes you money, you know who buys from you, and you know how they buy — build a well oiled machine before you switch to a hybrid motor. Unless you run a social media business, you do not need to spend more than 30 minutes a day using social media. I know… that sounds extreme, but really it's true. Remember, we're talking during business hours here, how much following, Tweeting, Facebooking, blogging, and eGuide reading do you really need to do?
Consistent Effective Patterns = Long Term Success
Sounds simple right? So many people don't understand this principle though. This year I've started a new series of daily habits. I wake up at the same time everyday, I exercise for 30 minutes, I eat breakfast (you've gotta try it), I drive to the office, and then I spend two entire hours doing only the things that are directly correlated with earning myself money. For me this is focusing on lead generation, contact vetting, and reaching out to event planners to book gigs and then following up. Here's what it's not — Tweeting, reading blogs, Facebooking, redesigning my website, writing an eBook, participating on forums, HR issues, attending meetings, checking email (unrelated to buyers), etc.
Find Someone Else to Crack The Whip
If you're at all like me you may struggle with getting the hard things done first, or other action items done in priority order. It's very easy to look at a to-do-list and complete all of the things that take the least effort or all of the things that you want to do. Doing things this way though is a recipe for disaster. I find that it helps to have someone hold you accountable. Whether it's a team member or an assistant, ask them to keep on you about getting things done. Sometimes the best way to make sure you do the things you need to do is by positioning the involvement of other people. That way, you aren't just letting yourself down if something doesn't get completed, you're letting them and maybe the entire team down. And depending on how critical the tasks are, that could mean meeting payroll.
Cheers to newly found focus in 2012!
Michael Costigan has earned a reputation as a leading young authority on self-identity, making positive choices, and becoming a leader. He succeeds in getting through to teens and offering both them and the adults who care about them practical and realistic advice. Read more about Michael here.