If you ask a group of entrepreneurs why they decided to run their own business, freedom will always be one of the top answers. Freedom from the status quo. Freedom from a system designed to make other people rich. Freedom to pursue great work.
There certainly is an element of freedom that comes with entrepreneurship, but that doesn’t change the fact that in the operation of any organisation, leaders will always have responsibilities that require them to spend time on tasks they’d rather avoid.
Whether they appreciate that or not, it’s rare to find an entrepreneur who doesn’t try to delay their inevitable duties until they can delay no more. As a result, their daily workflow tends to look something like this:
- Things they want to do, and need to do.
- Things they want to do, but don’t need to do.
- Things they don’t want to do, but need to do.
- Things they don’t want to do, and don’t need to do.
This is the workflow of someone who structures operations around what suits them, rather than what works best for the business. If this flow is challenged, the response will likely be along the lines of “well I’m the boss, I’ll do what I want”.
While that’s true, the question such entrepreneurs should be asking themselves is this:
“Did I get into business to do whatever I want, or to create a great company that produces great work?”
If it’s the former, then by all means, do whatever you want. If it’s the latter, it’s time to start prioritising anew. Trust me, it’s easy.
There’s a famous quote – a bastardised version of a remark from 18th century writer Nicolas Chamfort that’s often misattributed to Mark Twain – that goes “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning”.
Humans are predisposed to resisting that which we don’t believe will give us immediate satisfaction, and that might be fine for some, but not for those who revere excellence and own their responsibilities.
These entrepreneurs, The 8 Percent of entrepreneurs, start their day with a breakfast of frog.
They don’t stare at it, trying to summon the courage to take a bite. They don’t ignore it in the vain hope that it will hop away. They chow down eagerly. And if they have two frogs they eat that day, they start with the one that has the biggest warts.
Through this, they develop discipline, and discipline breeds the kind of positive addiction that once compelled them to start a work day with the things they wanted to do. That is the goal. That is your goal.
From now on, let your priorities be as follows:
- Things you don’t want to do, but need to do.
These are the frogs. Eat them fast, eat them well. Leave not a morsel on the plate. At the end, know you have done well, and that the day will only get better from here.
- Things you want to do, and need to do.
Reward yourself with the gems, those rare tasks that embody everything you love about your job and why you started a business in the first place.
That’s it. Those other elements mentioned above – the things you don’t need to do – are nothing more than distractions and procrastination. If you find them weighing on your day, it’s time to ask why. Isn’t it time to start delegating less important tasks to those who can capably perform them in order to provide you with those much sought after extra hours in the day?