A growing area of interest is what actually motivates people to become entrepreneurs or work for startups.
Why do people take huge risks with their time and money to leave the safe environment of a job to pursue an uncertain future, and take the risks required to start and grow a business?
Some have the innate desire for independence/autonomy, family security, notoriety, personal growth, or to get filthy rich.
The motivations are many, but the statistics backing them don’t look great: A noted 50% of businesses fail within the first year, 95% fail in the first 5 years.
To put this into perspective, we’ve also never had access to so much new technology and learning tools than ever before, which continues to grow at a global level.
You would hope that, in an environment that has cheap resources and plenty of motivation that success would become inevitable.
However, the biggest problem — or trap — I’ve watched entrepreneurs fall into is mismanagement of their time.
If you continuously mismanage your time, then the system for keeping you on task (and on time) is inherently broken as well.
It’s a disastrous cycle that can silently kill a company.
The good part is that we can address that variable now that we’ve identified it.
While optimal time management has a lot more to it, here is a quick list of a few time management hacks that have been known to help. If one looks interesting, give it a try for a few days and see how you like it.
Book end your days for planning
- Set two times each day to plan for the next 24 hours
- Write out the next 24 hours of your life
- Update once in the morning, once in the evening
- List out any deliverables or meetings you have
- List out people that you should reach out to
- List out notes for yourself about the day
Don’t let your email get away from you
- Schedule set times each day to read email
- Start with high frequency, lower over time
- Use a tool like Rapportive to connect easily with people
Allocate less time for activities
- Learn about Parkinsons Law
- Start setting short meetings
- Don’t lengthen meetings, schedule another short one
- Make the next one short as well
- You’ll become efficient by force
Know your goals at all times
- Write down a few goals for the company
- They can be related to revenue, customer service, etc.
- Keep that list with you at all times
- Reference that list when making major decisions
Know how much to think
- Read Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow
- Recognize which decisions need slow thinking
- Practice choosing between Slow and Fast
Know what’s coming up next
- At the end of meetings, note all next steps
- Know what needs to be done
- Know who needs to do it
- Have the next meeting planned
One final item:
If you’re unsure whether you should spend time, money, or energy on a task, use this test:
The Potential Priority Test
Set your timeframe (usually do 30–90 days)
Set your goal
- This can be a feeling (I want to feel confident)
- This can be a task (I want to read a book)
- This can be a step towards something (I want to have read a chapter)
Schedule a reminder
- Make a note about your timeframe and your goal
- Put the reminder on that day 30–90 days out
So what will happen in 30–90 days? You’ll get a reminder.
You’ll be reminded that __ days ago you recognized something as a potential priority. If you have not accomplished anything on that task, you will know if you should keep dwelling on a task or not.
The key for this isn’t that you’ll always get tasks done, but recognizing something as a potential priority and then testing it can save you a lot of time.