I was fortunate to spend 25+ years working for and with some of the smartest and most successful entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. I learned a lot from them and most of it wasn’t techy stuff. Those learnings were about how they approached the day, a strategic goal or a daily objective. I watched them move huge mountains in really short spans of time.
Over time, I applied what I learned from them in my own everyday life and my businesses. I use these lessons because they work. Really well.
Here’s what I learned…
1. They Have Annual Goals
Those goals are real, attainable and measurable. They are broken down into annual, monthly, weekly and daily objectives. Spend the time to figure out where you’re going and the tasks that will get your there. It is an investment in yourself and will actually save you time and effort over the year.
2. They Set Daily Objectives
Determine your most important tasks that you MUST get done every day and get them done in the first two hours of your morning workday. These tie back to your weekly/monthly/annual goals.
There are 1,440 minutes in a day. Be intentional with every minute.
3. They HATE To Do Lists
Lose your task list. Toss it. Right now. Your “to do” list just creates stress which saps your energy and creativity. Instead, if a task is important enough to make your old list, then simply put it on your calendar and block off the time slot to get it done.
4. They Say “NO“ To Just About Everything
Focus on your daily and weekly objectives. Anything else, politely say “no”. Every “yes” is a “no” to one of your goals.
5. They Delegate or Outsource Almost Everything
You’re great at the things you do. If something causes you stress or you struggle at it…for me, it’s bookkeeping and filing…hire someone to do it for you. A good VA will cost you $5 — $10 per hour and will save you thousands of dollars in wasted time and energy.
6. They Know and Follow The Pareto Principle
Named after economist Vilfredo Pareto, who noted 80% of consequences come from 20% of their causes. And it’s true. 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions. Those actions are done in the first two hours of every day.
7. They Have a Morning (and Evening) Ritual
The reason “The Miracle Morning” is so popular among entrepreneurs is because it works. Get in the habit of going to bed every night at the same time and getting up at the same time. Use the first hour of your day to take care of yourself. Read, Exercise, Meditate, Write about your life in your journal, Read your Goals and Objectives.
Every. Single. Day.
8. They Are Social Media Creators, Not A Social Media Consumers
Social media can be fun and entertaining. Who doesn’t like a funny dog or cat video? But it can also be a cesspool of anger and negativity. It saps your energy and causes you to move focus from what’s important and slows you down. Instead, use social media to create your own perspective and broadcast it to the world. And ignore the haters. They don’t matter.
9. They REALLY Don’t Like Meetings
The 21st century human attention span is 7 seconds. S E V E N.
Anything that can be said in a 60 minute meeting, can be done in 15 minutes or less. Get to the point. In fact, one former boss used to give us 15 minutes and that’s it. At minute 15, he’d get up and walk out the conference room door. If we couldn’t get our message across in that time frame, we hadn’t figured it out yet. Back to the drawing board we went.
10. They Only Check Email Three Times A Day
Email is by far the biggest time suck…and it’s not close. How many times do you find yourself checking email and getting pulled into a task that gobbles up an hour (or more!) before you can refocus on your daily objectives? If you thought about it, the answer is A LOT. Don’t do it. Check email in the morning, at lunchtime (if you must) and before you leave for the day. Tell your colleagues, if something is important or urgent, to call or text you. This will save you days of effort over the year.
11. They Don’t Have a Minute
One thing I run away from is the person stopping me in the hall and asking “Got a minute?”. My answer 100% of the time is “sorry, no”. Of course, I make time if it’s an emergency, but it rarely is. Instead, I schedule a block of 30 minutes at the end of the day. They can come see me or call me on my cell.
12. They Know Their Highest and Best Use
Your time is your most valuable asset. Use it carefully. If you are doing a task that is not on your calendar of important actions for the day, stop doing it and get back on your track.