How Successful Entrepreneurs Manage Their Day- 3 Super Simple Secrets
There are countless articles out there about how successful entrepreneurs do life. What time they get up, what time they go to bed, how they influence others, how they map out projects, set priorities- the topic list is endless, really.
While it is true that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of success strategies that top tier professionals, entrepreneurs and business owners use to get ahead, there are three very simple basics that every entrepreneur should know and implement in their daily lives.
1. Plan tomorrow – today.
Keep a notebook next to your bed and schedule ahead. When you grab your notebook, smart phone, or laptop (whatever works for you) at the end of the day and schedule your priority tasks for the following day, two things happen:
One, you know exactly what you’ve got to get to the following day, so that you are clear about what actions to take before you even sit down at your computer.
And two, you are creating a sense of accomplishment before you even start your day by doing the simple act of creating an agenda for yourself. Action breeds momentum and when you take action the night before, you’ve already got some speed on before your feet even hit the floor the following morning.
When your list is complete, you should have 5 or 10 items that absolutely must be accomplished the following day, including anything that came in at the end of your day via email.
2. Start your day with you.
I can’t count the number of people who have told me that they typically start their day by reaching for their smart phone or opening their laptop to check their mail- sometimes before they even get out of bed.
Starting your day with your email inbox is tantamount to starting your day with other people’s agenda.
Instead, start your day by opening your body, mind and spirit to engage in life and in your work. Start your day in quiet reflection. Most super successful people say that they meditate and they exercise. The beginning of your day is the perfect time for this.
That doesn’t mean you have to sit, lotus style, chanting “om” for an hour- though you certainly could go that route if you wanted to. Anything will do: a long walk, a long hot shower, a half hour of yoga stretching, a nice leisurely breakfast, some journaling, time spent with your partner, your pet or your kids, gardening; it really doesn’t matter, so long as you spend the first hour, or two, of your day engaging in yourself.
When you do this, you will have time to reflect on your mission for the day. You will have time to reflect on your agenda- not that of other people. This is also a good time to think about who or what you are waiting on (if anything) to advance your projects, as well as the action items you know you’ve got on your list for the day.
Finally, this is the time to mentally plan out your day for optimal production; add any action items you may have overlooked when creating your productivity list.
3. Make email work for you, not against you.
Obviously communication is vital to the success of any business or project that is dependent on more than just you. It’s important to remember, though, that email is the perfect forum for other people to push their agenda on you.
Likely you’ve heard it said dozens of times before, but I am going to say it again: Keep your email client closed and don’t check your email more than 2 or 3 times- maximum- per day; the only exception to this rule should be for those who are perhaps on a crazy crushing deadline and dependent on others to help complete it.
When you allow your email inbox to direct your day, you are allowing other people to direct your life. In order to be successful, you’ve got to manage your world first.
– Keep email client closed except when in use so as not to be distracted by email notifications.
– Sort your inbox by people- those who you are waiting on and those who you need to reach out to.
– Morning Email: Use this email session for outreach and to check on responses from those you are waiting to hear from. Do not respond, or react to, anyone else’s itinerary during your first round of email use of the day.
– Mid to late morning email: Check for email replies to your outreach and anyone else you are waiting on. If you don’t have the replies you are looking for, create a reminder to follow up in the afternoon. Optional- if you have the time, check to see what other people’s needs are and respond. Otherwise, close your email again and get back to work on your own productivity.
– Afternoon email: Check for incoming information or tasks you’ve been waiting on, follow up where needed, and respond to the needs of others. You can now use the last few hours of the day to attend to the things that others would have you attend to.
– Between email sessions: Get stuff done! And, happily cross off your items on your task list with a sense of accomplishment.
The bottom line when it comes to email is: If you are waiting on an inbox to tell you what to do in life, your life will always be at the whim of the world instead of your own.
I know it may seem strikingly simple, but you will be amazed at how your life and business changes for the better, when you make these three vital productivity decisions, and changes, around your daily routine.