My family and I recently moved out of our first house. Packing up our ‘stuff’ as we prepared to move was an enlightening experience. It’s amazing how many things we accumulated over the years. From unopened multi-purpose screwdrivers, packages of Crest Whitestrips, an excessive amount of tapes, spices, and even Blue-rays, I bet we spent thousands of dollars in the five years we lived there on things we barely, if ever, used. Embarrassed upon finding these things, I chuckled envisioning the logic behind some of the purchases that were never used – no doubt from a Costco run. And, ironically, I found an urge to pack the stuff that was unopened into another box and haul it to our new home… how ridiculous. “I’ll use it at the new house,” I said to myself. No I won’t.
There are many takeaways from this moving experience… it makes me reflect on life as an entrepreneur.
To be the best entrepreneur we can, and consistently grow our business, it’s critical we identify the wasteful things that are holding us back. Moving got me thinking…
5 Ways Entrepreneurs Waste Talent and Opportunity
Don’t get enough done in the morning: Productive mornings are critical to an entrepreneur’s success. Winning your morning may be the most important thing you do as an entrepreneur. If you’ve been productive in the first few hours of your day, the trend is set for the remainder.
Naturally, this requires you wake up early, which means you can’t waste your evenings staying up watching TV or having a few drinks. To maximize your mornings, you must be strict with your evenings. General Robert E. Lee once said that an hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after. Get to bed early so not to waste your most important time of day for creativity and productivity.
Finish their day on cruise control: I’m guilty of wasting the last 30 minutes of my day on ‘house cleaning’ tasks. Things like catching up on emails, for example, is how I always used to end my days. And it left me feeling guilty and unproductive. Not only that, but finishing your day with remedial tasks sets the tone for a slow start the next day. Plain and simple, start strong and finish strong.
Addicted to their phone: This is embarrassing… I think I’m addicted to Twitter. Despite all its struggles well documented in the news these days, I think Twitter is the best social media has to offer. I must check my Twitter feed ten times a day. I’m a news junkie; and for me, there’s no better source for news than Twitter. Problem is, taking 60 seconds to check the latest on Twitter five or six times throughout my workday likely ends up costing me about 2 hours of productivity. How can this be, you ask? A study from the University of California Irvine showed that it takes about 23 minutes to get back to a task after being distracted. That’s insane when you think about it…
Your phone, oftentimes, is merely a distraction. Nay, it’s a handicap. Literally, just as I finished typing that last sentence my phone chimed letting me know I have a new text message…
Multitasking: A jack of all trades is a master of none. People who preach about their ability to multitask are merely distracted, or nothing they do is really that important. To be your best, you need to focus on one thing at a time. Full-throttle commitment to the task at hand if you want to create a viral product or achieve something you’re proud of. Dedicate a time just for writing, customer service or building. Be religious about tackling one challenge at a time with a clear end point before moving onto the next thing.
Worry: Spending time thinking about things that are out of your control kills energy and creativity – not to mention your hairline. Calvin Coolidge, arguably the greatest pro-capitalism president of all time, once said, “If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you.”
Worry leads to stress; and stress kills energy. Focus on what you can control, and leave the rest to the man upstairs.
We all waste. However, success is about minimizing waste (time and resources). Those who do often excel. My favorite quote from one of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs of all time is, “It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.” Henry Ford said that.
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