Time Management for Entrepreneurs

Time ManagementEntrepreneurs constantly focus on being as efficient and effective with their time as possible. Time management is a topic covered by many keynote speakers and small business coaches. Unfortunately, time management is a myth.  Time can not be managed.  It ticks away second by second, hour by hour.  It is never controlled and you never get it back.

What you can control and manage are your tasks. Life is busy.  Business is busy.  Entrepreneurs are notoriously famous for taking on too much and then beating themselves up when it all does not get completed.  When, where and how you complete tasks as well as understanding why this is important will turn you into a entrepreneurial task management rockstar.  Here are a few things I have implemented into my life and business to improve my task management.

  • What’s important now?  This is a question I frequently ask myself and others.  In a meeting, a phone call, a sales call, a morning leadership session, I ask, what constitutes success for right now?  I was guilty for a long time of entering an engagement such as a company meeting and trying to cover what was important three months from now while ignoring what was important for that meeting that ended in 30 minutes. Are you trying to cover too much?
  • Why is it important now? Assuming you determine what is important now, ask why?  What is the drive behind completing and addressing what constitutes success? Being clear on why you are doing what you are doing and when it is important allows you to filter tasks and boil them down to an order of importance.
  • Instead of a task list, schedule your tasks.  I recently got into the habit of scheduling my tasks just like they were appointments.  A growing list of tasks always overwhelms me as well as many other entrepreneurs that I coach and speak with.  Once I started scheduling my tasks, I felt a strong sense of control of my time, and was no longer overwhelmed in business.

What is important now in your business?  Not next week, not tomorrow, but right now?  Why is it important?  Will it generate revenue and profit?  Will it build culture?  When are you completing these tasks? Are you scheduling or being overwhelmed by a task list?

desayuno-sencilloClick on the coffee cup to get caffeinated with me on a weekly basis. I send a weekly newsletter with practical wisdom to inspire and ignite entrepreneurs to own and run their organizations with excellence.

super-bowlEvery entrepreneur desires to win, grow, learn and be profitable.  In my years of being a small business coach and keynote speaker for entrepreneurs, I have met and connected with some amazing people.  In conversations with these people, I always search for the common themes attributed to their success and consistent patterns of winning.  Just a few days ago, a great friend of mine hit the nail right on the head during a phone conversation we had.

My friends name is Dave Sanderson.  Dave is an international keynote speaker and entrepreneur. Dave was a passenger on the Miracle on the Hudson flight that occurred back in 2009.  I met Dave in 2013, when we both were speaking at an Entrepreneur’s Organization event in Atlantic City.  Dave has presented his message close to 600 times since 2009, and is a seasoned, inspiring and phenomenal keynote speaker and entrepreneur. What I admire about Dave is his dedication to his craft, as well as his willingness to pour into others pursuing the same craft and profession of public speaking.

During our phone call, I asked him how he has been so successful as an entrepreneur and keynote speaker, and what he does to prepare to consistently deliver phenomenal level 10 keynote presentations.  His answer was this:

“Treat every presentation and speech as if it were the Super Bowl.  Get yourself into a state where failure is not an option.  Make every presentation shine like it was the last one you will ever give.  Leave it all on the stage.”

To win in business, to win in life and to win as an entrepreneur, every interaction, every deal, every relationship you pour into must be treated like the Super Bowl. Set outcomes, not goals.  Super Bowls are not won because a team has a goal to win, rather they set a desired outcome and make it happen.  Play like it is the last game you will ever play!  To what degree are you playing and doing life, leadership and entreprenurship?

7293412522_d279a58710_bClick on the coffee cup to get caffeinated with me on a weekly basis.  I send a weekly newsletter with practical wisdom to inspire and ignite entrepreneurs to own and run their organizations with excellence.


How to Set Goals

Goal-settingEntrepreneurs are familiar with setting goals.  Any leadership and entrepreneurial material such as books, conferences, keynote speakers and blogs frequently cover the topic of how to set goals. As a small business coach, I consistantly see entrepreneurs stumble across one of the inherently wrong mindsets and failure programs surrounding goals.  Understanding these failure programs will ensure that goals are properly set and achieved.

Most entrepreneurs are familiar with a SMART goal.  SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable/Acheivable, Realistic and Timely.  This means your goal in one statement must have these five things happen.  Example, I want to lose weight is not a SMART goal.  What is a SMART goal is: I will lose 15 pounds in 60 days.  Other leadership experts and speakers also add the suggestion that goals should be written down to be seen daily.  I always recommend writing on your mirror, since it is the first thing you see in the morning and it shows you who is ultimately responsible for your goals happening.  One last thing that goal setting experts share is that you must have a strong WHY behind your goals.

Sounds good right?  Ready to go set those goals and try to achieve them?

I have done this type of goal setting for years.  I have hit many goals and missed many marks over these years.  One of the underlying themes, energies, mindsets and observations I have seen, in my experience, is this.  For me, the word goal is like the word “try”, or “attempt”.  It is a word marked with “failure with honor.”

smart-goals-goal-setting-4Example, I will try to get this work done by 4.  If I get it done, great I win.  If not, at least I tried.  Failure with honor means you can fail yet give yourself credit for trying by attempting to make yourself feel better for missing your goal.  The word goal, to me, fits that category.  My goal is to lose 15 pounds in 60 days.  If I do, great, I win.  If not, at least I tried.  Failure with honor is a secret assassin that is peppered into the vocabulary and wiring of every small business owner and entrepreneur that I have ever coached. Words like try, need to, have to, should, want to, will, and be able to all fit this category and will kill and stifle your business. Over the years I have also fallen victim to this assassin. Look at the picture above to the left.  Seems like a great goal right?  Look at the failure words peppered into this seemingly SMART goal. How many do you see?

So now what? If setting a goal has a failure with honor component, what do we do?

We set outcomes.  An outcome happens, period!

Outcomes are what happen no matter what.  An outcome is not wishing or hoping that something is going to happen.  An outcome is not something that is trying to happen.  It just happens, done, end of story. An outcome must be SMART, be written and have a strong why just like a goal.  An outcome however, is a different language, it is a different energy, it is a different mindset.  When you set an outcome, vision and visualize that outcome, and declare with absolute certainty that no matter what, this outcome happens, period, end of story, now its time to work.  There is no trying, just happening.  There is no needing to, just doing.  There is no at least I tried, you either do or don’t and you make that decision.

Are you setting goals or creating outcomes?  Are you marked with a target by the assassin of failure with honor?  Are you trying, having to, needing to, wanting to and setting goals that may or may not happen, either way, its ok, at least I tried?

desayuno-sencilloI would enjoy reading your comments surrounding these two ideas of goals vs. outcomes.  As always, you can get caffeinated with me on a weekly basis by receiving my weekly newsletter and other free business building tools by clicking the coffee cup to the right.  I will send you a couple of free practical tools to use in your business when you do. I will also explain what is up with this coffee cup, and why I am so highly caffeinated all the time.

I walked into Infinite JiRoyce_Gracie_fights_Akebonou Jitsu Academy/Loveland Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (formerly Infinite Mixed Martial Arts/Loveland Martial Arts) for the first time in 2007. I figured my decade of weight lifting, 300lb. bench press, supreme false confidence, brut force, and aggression combined with four years of another fighting style would allow me to hold my own against a kid half my size and half my age.  Boy, was I wrong.

I was choked out by a teenager in 18 seconds. From that moment on (once I caught my breath), I fell in love with the sport of jiu jitsu.  I am currently a purple belt under Royce Gracie, I compete, and I help coach the children at Infinite jiu jitsu Academy.  This sport has had a large impact in my life, my leadership and my business.  Here are 7 lessons I have learned from the jiu jitsu mats. I use these lessons every day as an entrepreneur as well as a small business coach.

  • Jiu jitsu is the great equalizer. Technique, skill, and proper leverage and positioning beat brut force muscle and false confidence every time.  A phenomenal jiu jitsu practitioner uses their opponents force against them.  What are you using in your business?
  • Never judge a book by its cover. Jiu jitsu is a sport filled with silent assassins.  They know how dangerous they are and carry a supreme confidence that flows through every bone in their body. What do you carry in business?
  • Size does not matter; resourcefulness does.  Watch this video of Royce Gracie fighting Akebono to see this in action. Do you count on your size or your resourcefulness in business?
  • Winning (or losing) starts in your head and is decided by you before the fight even starts.  99% of the sport is a mental game.  What do you decide before you step into the fight of business? Please remember, business is a fight! Never forget that.  Fighting is a good thing.
  • Jiu jitsu is one of the few sports where you can go all out, 100%, maximum intensity and effort while sparring and not kill or seriously injure your opponent.  Business is the same way.  Do you go all out, 100%, full intensity every day in business?  If not, why?  If you do, will it hurt anything or anyone?
  • Position before submission is a term used frequently in jiu jitsu.  This means you must take proper position on your opponent before you submit them (make them cry uncle and tap out).  This also means you may be in a bad position yet be in no harm of being submitted until your opponent makes another move. Bad positions are extremely uncomfortable, but it does not mean you give up. Sometimes doing nothing is best, sometimes moving at the right time in the right way is best.  When you find yourself in a bad position in business, what do you do? Do you move at the right time in the right way? Do you panic and move too early? Do you move at all? Why?
  • Training, time and toughness (mental, physical and spiritual) are key success factors in winning in the sport of jiu jitsu.  What are you doing in business to train your skills consistently over time, and how tough are you really?

If you would like to see some of these lessons in action, here is my jiu jitsu competition reel. Here are a series of blogs I wrote a while back to dive into each topic a little bit more.  Lessons from the Jiu Jitsu Mats, Choked Out by a 15 Year Old. Being Humble in Life and Business, Position Before Submission, and It’s OK to Tap.

7293412522_d279a58710_bI would love to hear your thoughts, comments, and experiences surrounding this topic. As always, you can click the coffee cup to the right to join the MattShoup.com community, get caffeinated with me on a weekly basis, read my daily blog and receive free business building tools to run your organization with excellence.