The Cycle of Completion
The most successful entrepreneurs focus on the task at hand until it is complete. They never ever leave a job half-done or a project drifting. Just this week I was in meetings with a business advisor that told me that this kind of determination and stick-to-itiveness is his secret to success.
After meeting with him, I had to drop back and ask myself, how has the cycle of completion helped me to achieve my own goals? Am I naturally a completer or have I had to work on this to move forward?
My Achilles Heel
This is actually both my Achilles Heel and a secret of my success. I know that seems counter intuitive based on what you have already learned about me in this series, but I do have to work really hard to complete everything I start and I rarely do things in a linear fashion. I routinely have 5 or 6 different things going, even on my computer at any one point in time.
I have to resist the tyranny of the urgent and focus on the longer term items. That may mean walking past a closet that needs to be cleaned out or a basket full of administrative things.
Everything doesn’t have to be done NOW
The fact is that everything that I start doesn’t need to be completed NOW. As I get older, I realize that every business idea or product idea that I have is not for the present.
I find that I have to remind people that the things in my planning “mirror” are further away than they appear, versus them thinking that everything that comes out of my mouth is a current priority. My time horizon gets longer and longer as my ability to properly prioritize gets stronger and more mature. Yes, prioritization is a business “muscle” that you need to work on building.
Strategic thinking includes a list of things to STOP doing
Most strategic thinkers frankly frighten those that are operationally minded.
Equally important is taking a look at your list of things that need to be done and putting on top of that list “Create a list of things to STOP doing (or to delay until later)”.
Those things that you delay may be ideas — seeds that need to be planted, watered and fertilized over time so that they can mature. You can’t dig up a seed to see if it is sprouting yet. Some you just need to leave alone and let the natural water of rain and the normal process of things dying and decaying fertilize that seed.
- Take stock.
- Measure the horizon on each item on your list.
- Remove the tyranny of the urgent with the NOW metric of things that you SHOULD be working on versus those that are demanding your attention but are on the 6 MONTHS FROM NOW horizon.
You will be happier and you will have nothing to fear, because you will know that your priorities are in line. Now that, my friend, is true time management.