As entrepreneurs we often have no one to answer to but ourselves. Our day-to-day activities are not monitored and if we decide to spend the afternoon on the golf course, it’s up to us. But just remember, distractions, such as checking your Facebook page, golfing or analyzing your Fantasy Football team in the middle of the day, kill productivity. In fact, if habitual, these activities are self-sabotaging.
We live in a world of constant temptation and instant gratification. There are thousands of distractions at our fingertips. And the more successful you become, the more opportunity there will be to get side-tracked.
I’ve prepared a list of the most common ways entrepreneurs self-sabotage their careers. I provide this list not to lecture, but rather to help you become more conscious throughout the day of the most likely hindrances to your success.
Check emails all hours of the day: Instantly responding to emails is not necessary. Set a time to check and respond to emails every day. Allot 30 to 45 minutes to read and answer emails. If you can’t get to them all in that time, chances are they aren’t worth your time. Pick up the phone and talk to people. It’s quicker anyway – and that’s how deals get done.
Constantly monitoring the state of the economy: Many entrepreneurs will look for scapegoats when their revenue decreases. They don’t want to take a look in the mirror and be accountable, so they look for alternative and out-of-their-control excuses, such as a poor economy. In the current economic environment, I hear this excuse far too much. “Oh, we had a bad quarter because the weather was colder than normal and shoppers stayed home.” Or, “The economy is shitty and it’s tough to sell product.”
People don’t realize it, but by making these types of excuses they are admitting that their success has very little to do with them and a hell of a lot to do with luck. I don’t know about you, but I think my success has a lot to do with the amount of work I put in, not luck.
Listen to their family and friends (especially in the startup-phase): Those who love and care about us often want us to take the safe and so-called guaranteed pay cheque route. Bless their hearts, but they likely don’t know shit about being an entrepreneur, so don’t listen to them and their negativity or doubts. Don’t let their fears and insecurities come in the way of achieving your dreams.
[Tweet “Bless their hearts, but your family and friends don’t know shit about being an entrepreneur, so don’t listen to them.”]
Routinely monitoring Facebook: There are a ton of Facebook addicts out there, and you may be one of them. Stop stalking your friends online and start focusing on your business. Looking at pictures of what your friends did on the weekend during hours when you should be making bread is a joke, and creepy.
Obsess over hobbies: Guilty! I’m a sad, sad, individual. One of my hobbies, so to speak, is Fantasy Football. However, for this upcoming season, I’ve sworn an oath to myself to no longer make trades in Fantasy Football unless it is at night. All it is is an excuse to take a break from work during the day. Not good…
Setting more than 2 To-Do’s per day: Are you one of those entrepreneurs who is constantly dragging and dropping tasks in your calendar for the current day to tomorrow? Start setting out realistic goals for the day, and don’t overwhelm yourself with too many tasks, otherwise none will be done properly or your morale will deplete because you’ll feel you never have enough time.
I set one important task to be done every day. Once that is accomplished, then I focus on the little stuff (i.e. emails, design work, whatever). Besides, as entrepreneurs, it is important we have some flexibility within our day as new and urgent tasks always come up.
Hour-long lunch breaks: Your an entrepreneur, start acting like one. If you want long lunch breaks, go get a 9 to 5… I can’t remember the last time I had a lunch break that didn’t consist of me eating as I worked.
Eat carbs before noon: Thanks to my good friend Chad (visit his awesome fitness site here: chadhowsefitness.com) who, not coincidentally, is also an entrepreneur, I learnt that the reason I was hitting a wall every day at 10am was because my breakfast was heavy on the carbs. I cut that crap out of my morning diet and it has made a world of difference for my energy levels.
Carbs make you sleepy and groggy. Stick to proteins and light food in the morning. Get the first half of the day done, and keep it productive, before you start eating your wife’s lasagna from last night.
Sleep in: The best entrepreneurs are inspired and can’t wait to start the next day. However, waking up early can be difficult for some, myself included. But it’s a must. What I’ve learnt is that in order to get my ass up early, before 6am, I have to get to sleep early! It’s not rocket science. General Lee once said that every hour of sleep one gets before midnight is worth two hours of sleep after midnight. I agree. During the war, Lee would be in bed, every night, by 10pm and up at 4am, allowing him to scout out the land before battle and get the edge on the Union.
So there you have it. These everyday threats to your entrepreneurial success are very real and have the ability to destroy productivity and profits. At the end of the day, entrepreneurs must maintain an extremely high level of focus, which, in the modern world, is challenging. So long as you are aware of the threats, and are accountable, you’ll be fine. If you find your business results aren’t up to par, ask yourself if you have been self-sabotaging.