I know that look. It’s a combination of fatigue and alarm. My friend had come from another day of fighting in the trenches of marketplace warfare. The customer demands, cash limitations, staffing challenges, technical glitches, along with ‘life’ (though technically entrepreneurs don’t have lives) begged for couch time, beach time or both.
One thing I find in the lives of many entrepreneurs is something I call pseudo work – expenditures of time, attention and money on things that have very little return. It looks like work. Feels like work. Takes as much time as work. Yet it produces no noticeable gain for the venture.
Things like incessant research, perfectionistic changes in product, excessive meetings, or getting lost in spreadsheets and new tools that give the feel of control or competency. When these activities occupy a great portion of time, it becomes pseudo work.
And it can thwart the very success you are trying achieve.
Most effective entrepreneurs have their own personal mandates and disciplines that govern their work and personal life. They provide important boundaries for how work is to be done inside their teams. Successful entrepreneurs eventually land on what become like 10 commandments for getting things done.
They are not values, but the are shaped by values. They can be refined over time and may even change, but these mandates are evergreen – endearing and enduring principles that have proven effective by experience and results.
They also represent the main difference between the entrepreneur as dreamer, and the entrepreneur as doer.
Here are ten such mandates common to successful entrepreneurs. They don’t have to be practiced with perfection, but merely pursued with intention.
- Niche Your Markets – No team can be all things to all customers. Be deliberate in the ones you choose to serve.
- Prioritize Your Projects – not all need doing right now. And don’t kid yourself. If it’s not active, it’s an intention but not a project.
- Systematize Your Workflow – learn the right ways to do things well and write it down for others.
- Delegate and Then Follow-up – it’s not all about you so it can’t be done all by yourself. This is a common entrepreneur trap.
- Meetings Shall Have an Agenda – or you just organized a colossal waste of time.
- Learn From Your Mistakes – repeating them costs time and money. Entrepreneurs are notorious for repeating the same mistakes.
- Establish Your Prime Time – during which you do your best work. Jealously guard it and consistently use it!
- Boundary the Interruptions – because nobody else will.
- Focus Your Attention in Bite Size Chunks – You likely have ADD. So what attention you do have, make it count long enough to get something meaningful done.
- Build Non-Work Into Your Schedule – on your calendar and on your mind. This includes sleep, exercise and relationships.
By establishing a consistent and reliable set of mandates – your ten commandments for getting things done, you can provide yourself and your team a structured environment in which to create value.
Just watch how much time you spend pondering and analyzing which ones to choose.