Doing too Much in too Little Time or Doing too Little in too Much Time – the Paradox of Every Entrepreneur
As I look back over my entrepreneurial journey, I see three phases that clearly define my journey:
1. Trying to do too Much in too Little time – When I first started my own business, I still had a hangover from my day’s working for others, where I gave myself ultra-tight deadlines and ended up working longer and longer hours to meet them. I was trying to fit too much into too little time.
2. Trying to do too Little in too Much time – After a while, the penny dropped and I realized that I was my own boss, I could set how much I did and how long it took. This new found freedom was soon enjoyed a little too much – as I started setting myself too Little to do in too Much time – which now meant that I started to procrastinate and not be as productive as I could be.
3. Doing the Right Amount in the Right Timeframe – Finally I found the right balance, I could do the right amount of work in the right timeframe – which meant that I was hitting my targets, working too my full potential, getting things done efficiently and, most importantly, enjoying the process!
In this post, I’m going to share with you a few of the golden rules that I learned from getting from Phase 1, through Phase 2 and finally to the Promised Land, Phase 3 – where I’m earning more, working less, performing at my peak and enjoying life the most!
Rule 1: One Focus Per Day…
The very first statement I make in my head when I wake up is this:
‘I am one day away from…..’
Each day this statement changes – it could be that I am one day away from a great post, a new ad campaign, a better strategy that is mapped out, a successful client meeting – whatever that may be.
Once I know what I’m one day away from, I then look at the steps I need to take to get there, if I’m one day away from a great post – I meditate on what I want to write about, think of a few angles that I can take, set myself a certain time to write the post, set myself a time to post the post and then set myself some time to review the comments and feedback.
If I’m one day away from a great strategy being mapped out – I often like to do this away from home as my mentor taught me that when you are in a different place, you have different ideas and see things from a different perspective. I first look to find a nice place to strategize, I then travel to that place, I spend some time walking around (as although the brain is only 2% of your bodyweight, it uses 20% of your oxygen, so you want to do some exercise before thinking so that your brain has an abundance of oxygen to utilize), I then find a nice quiet place to strategize, I then strategize, I then take a walk around and have some lunch and then come back to look over my new strategy.
What are you one day away from and what are the steps you are going to take?
Rule 2: The key to achieving more is doing less…
I can remember the days when I had a to-do list of 30 items. I would often go after the quick wins first and then life would get in the way and the big, impactful items would get left to the next day. Now, the opposite is the case, my to do list doesn’t have 30 items, it has 4 or 5 at the most. This means that the important ones get done, what isn’t important can be done after the ‘big rocks’ have been dealt with.
How many items are on your to do list? Are you doing the most important or trying to feel busy by doing all of the quick wins that won’t matter a year from now?
Rule 3: Relax and Enjoy your work…
The reason why we are entrepreneurs is because we want to do what we love! What’s the point, otherwise? Why would you go through all that you have to build a business if you’re not doing what you love to do?
One of the biggest learnings I undertook was the ability to say no. Just yesterday I got myself a new notepad that says: ‘Do More of What Makes You Awesome’ – this is one of the key questions I now ask myself before I begin something – will this be an awesome experience, will it lead to an awesome result, will it help build my awesome legacy?
Back when I started, I would ask a very different question – would this help pay the bills, would this get me a quick sale, would this lead to a project?
Notice the difference in the questions. What questions are you asking yourself before you start something new? What questions did you ask when you started what you’re currently doing?
The questions you ask yourself are the seeds from which everything will grow. Ask better questions and the fruits of your labour will be more and, more importantly, be more enjoyable too.
Rule 4: You Cannot Fail…
Back when I started as an entrepreneur, I had a lot of fear about making the wrong decision or doing something wrong. I made a lot of mistakes, of course.
However, I then met a lot of other successful entrepreneurs and realized that many had made even worse decisions than I had and had made bigger mistakes than I had!
As I started to look deeper into my journey and their jouney, I realized 2 key things:
1. Mistakes happen more when you’re doing more – when I started to slow down and spend more time on doing something right, it saved me a lot of time in the future with having to go and re-do or rectify what I had done
2. Mistakes are journey accelerators – every mistake I made helped me get to where I wanted to get much quicker than if I had not made that mistake – the lessons I learned from it, the experience, the distinctions I got and the understanding I got about myself and the situation were actually catalysts that got me further.
Now, I try to have the best of both worlds, I speak with people who are where I want to be so I can learn all of the obstacles that they faced and the mistakes that they made – so that I can learn from their experience without it becoming a part of my experience.
What’s your attitude towards failure? Does it scare you or does it fuel you?
What phase of this journey are you on? Are you in Phase 1, 2 and 3? What is holding you back? What’s helped you move forward? What are the golden rules that you have learned along the way?
I would love to hear your thoughts.