5 Ways To Reach Peak Performance As An Entrepreneur In The New Year – Forbes

Posted: December 18, 2019 at 9:41 pm


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If you want to become a more productive entrepreneur, doing more usually isn't the answer. Here are ... [+] five ways to prioritize what you spend your work time on, and how to get more out of those hours each day.

Theres an old adage about what its likerunning your own businessyou only have to work half a day, and you get to choose which 12 hours they are. While the work load often comes in waves, anyone whos tried their hand at entrepreneurship can attest to the truth of that statement.

It can be surprising for an ill-prepared entrepreneur when they find out just how much work actually goes into getting a business up and running. Many might not be able to manage the additional workload and stress that comes along with being responsible for your own income each month.

With an estimated 50% of businesses failing in the first five years,a lot of those failingscan be attributed to mistakes by founders. Things like not having a sustainable business model, the wrong go-to-market plan, or not accurately anticipating cash flow needs often find their roots in overloaded and overstressed founders that unintentionally let the wrong things slide.

If you want to be a peak performer and focus on whats most important for your business, youll need to build strong habits and take advantage of the tools you have at hand. To shed some more light on this topic, I recently spoke withSam Taggart, founder of theD2D Experts, to gather some of his recommendations for achieving maximum productivity as an entrepreneur.

Many entrepreneurs and CEOs insist on planning for their day during the morning. But the Ivy Lee method, pioneered in 1918, suggests a slightly different approach. At the time, Charles M. Schwab was the head of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, and he was a highly driven CEO that was always seeking new methods of increasing productivity.

When Schwab contacted consultant Ivy Lee and asked him for assistance, Lee simply asked for 15 minutes with each of his executives. Schwab would pay nothing unless Lees conversation workedbut if his executives saw a boost in productivity, Schwab would pay what he thought it was worth.

Lee gave the executives a simple plan to write out the six most important tasks for the next day as they finished up their work during the eveningranking them in order of importance. When they came to the office the next day, theyd tackle them in order of priority and push any unfinished work to the following day.

Schwab and his executives tried this routine for three months, and he was so delighted that he paid Lee $25,000 for his recommendationover $400,000 in todays money. Not bad for a few 15-minute conversations.

Lees method works for a few reasons. For one, its simple enough to stick to and form a habit around. Writing out your to-do list the night before also helps declutter your mind and leave work at work, so that when you come back in the next day, youre ready to start immediately. Finally, the six-task limit forces you to pare your activities down to just the absolute essentials.

Experiment with this productivity method yourself for a month and see if the results measure up. If it was worth $400,000 to Charles M. Schwab, it could work wonders for you too.

Stanford University did extensiveresearch on multitaskingin 2009. They found that far from being more productive at certain tasks, heavy multitaskers actually performed worse across the boardeven in areas researchers expected them to outperform their more focused peers. Most striking is that multitaskers werent able to slow down and focus on a single task at hand.

Were so focused on doing everything, that we often do nothing, says Taggart. If you constantly keep switching tasks, you dont realize how much time youre wasting just getting back into the groove. Setting uninterrupted time aside for important tasks is crucial to your overall productivity.

If youre a compulsive email checker or are constantly dealing with distractions, it might be time to turn over a new leaf and try to forge a more distraction-free work environment for yourself. Create some time away from the hundred things that can make you less productive and really focus on your most important work.

According toone Salesforce survey, 51% of top-performing sales teams focus on customer retention over simply aiming for more immediate sales. If youre in B2B, that divide is even more pronounced, with 79% of business buyers saying its critical their sales contact be as a trusted advisor who adds value to their business.

I do a lot of sales training, and one of the things Ive noticed is a lot of salespeople just dont come across like they care what their prospects are saying, explains Taggart.

Youd be shocked how often I go in and record someone on a sales call and theyre just straight up talking over the person, not listening to what they say. Its a mindset thingtheyre more focused on what they can get out of it than building a relationship, even if that relationship is brief.

Peak performance means making the most of the people you already have a foot in the door with. That means viewing your prospects as mutually beneficial relationships, rather than just seeking to get as much as you can out of the sale.

Anyone whos worked a day in their life knows there are some hours where you just breeze through your to-do list, and others when youre struggling to finish even the most simple of tasks. Did you realize that theres a threshold in the day, after which point your time is all but wasted at work?

That threshold is likely a little different for everyone, but you need to be aware of it. A paper byJohn Pencavel of Stanford University published in 2014makes it clear that hours and output have a nonlinear relationship. Above about 49 hours of work per week, productivity began to plummet dramatically during the study. Pencavel also noted that a rest day made for a more productive remainder of the week.

Ive come to learn this lesson in my own work over the years, too. As a blogger, I can usually sit down on a Monday morning and write a blog post thousands of words in length without ever stepping away from the computer, yet by Friday my thoughts just dont flow as easily.

Working a lot when youre an entrepreneur is understandable, and sometimes unavoidable. But dont neglect to get your rest whenever possible. Use your downtime to intentionally supercharge the hours you do spend on the clock.

It can be easy as an entrepreneur toattempt doing it all yourself. It had to be me, you justify to yourself. Someone else mightve gotten it wrong.

However, learning how to hand things off, either to teammates or the right automation tools, will unshackle your working hours. It allows you to focus only on the tasks youre best at, instead of spending time on work youre ill-suited for.

Learning how to hand off aspects of your job is one of the keys to being an entrepreneur, says Taggart. No one in this line of work can do it all themselvesthere arent enough hours in the day. The stress will destroy you. Entrepreneurs use every resource available to them, and that includes people just as much as it does technology or money.

Becoming a peak performer takes a lot more than just these five pieces of advice. But if you methodically apply them in your day-to-day work, you may find that youre capable of greater output than you ever imagined. Just be sure youre not engaging in work behavior that runs counter to achieving your most meaningful goals.

Create new, productive habits and pair them with pursuing the right idea this new yearand youll be well on the way to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

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5 Ways To Reach Peak Performance As An Entrepreneur In The New Year - Forbes

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December 18th, 2019 at 9:41 pm

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