Why is this so hard? In a classic Franklin Covey study, respondents indicated that 40 percent of their time was being spent on things that were not important to them or their companies. That is a huge hit on productivity. For insight, I recommend the details provided in a recent book “The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity,” by Kory Kogon, Adam Merrill, and Leena Rinne.
Although the authors focus has been on large organizations, I believe concepts are even more relevant to entrepreneurs and startups. Every entrepreneur should consciously follow these five key actions and implementation tips, to compete and survive, as well as to get the personal satisfaction they expect from the lifestyle:
- Act on the important, don’t react to the urgent. Filter the vitally important business priorities from the urgent for the moment, but less important ones, and keep your focus on what matters most to your success as a startup. This will increase your return on the moment (ROM) in the midst of fierce distractions.
- Go for extraordinary, don’t settle for ordinary. To change the world, as envisioned by your passion, you need to achieve extraordinary results on the important things. That means identifying the few most important roles you play in the startup right now, giving a framework for balance, motivation, and fulfillment.
- Schedule the big rocks, don’t sort gravel. You can never achieve major milestones by just sorting through the gravel faster. Decide what is most important and get those activities in the bucket before the week begins. Spend at least thirty minutes each week planning your schedule to execute with excellence on those important things.
- Rule your technology, don’t let it rule you. Turn technology into a productivity engine, rather than a burden, to battle the avalanche of email, texts, and social-media alerts that threaten your productivity. Put order into the chaos by using technology to place all incoming information into four categories: appointments, tasks, contacts, and documents.
- Fuel your fire, don’t burn out. There are only two sources of energy: a clear and motivating purpose, and a healthy body. Manage the five primary energy drivers of moving, eating, sleeping, relaxing, and connecting to create a pattern of life that fuels your fire and keeps you from burning out before your startup achieves success.
- Regularly share your commitment to productivity with everyone.
- Practice productivity planning with your key team members.
- Create an environment where it is safe for people to make better decisions about where they are spending their time, attention, and energy.
- Break the assumption that everything you ask for is needed immediately.
- Provide and encourage the best use of technology to manage information overload.
- Reward highly productive efforts, just as you might reward good emergency responses.
- Encourage an aura of healthy energy and living versus anything for the cause.