Life is short, time is precious and there are only so many hours in a day -- all sayings we've heard a thousand times before. But have you ever stopped and really thought about these statements and, more specifically, how they apply to you and your every day life? If you haven't, you really need to or you're going to wake up some day and be full of regret for time that you'd wasted, time that you'll never get back.
Sure, this can become a philosophical debate rather quickly, a discussion about self-purpose and preservation, but I’d like to take it more into everyday, realistic circumstances.
Here are three areas of particular importance that, as entrepreneurs, we’re confronted with regularly.
1. Say no to opportunity.
Part of the reason we’ve chosen the emotional roller coaster that is entrepreneurship is because we’re not just able to recognize opportunity, but willing to act on leveraging it to solve a problem. Well, part of the issue here is that the more you do it, the better you get at it, then suddenly you’re involved in four different businesses that have nothing to do with each other.
I know that it’s tempting and I’ve been guilty of it myself, but what you need to realize is that your time will be divided amongst your various escapades, leaving you incapable of becoming exceptional at any one of them. Instead, most of the time you just need to say no, focus on a core concept and become really good at it.
2. Say no to mediocre friendships.
Personal relationships are just like business relationships, in that you should be looking to both gain from them and give to them. It’s like a never-ending negotiation that should end in a win-win. But we all have friends -- or maybe acquaintances -- that seem to be better at draining our energy with negativity or close-mindedness -- which you’re neither going to gain from or give to. That’s not to say that they’re bad people, just that their mindsets, motivations or priorities in life might be very different.
They say that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, which coincides perfectly with one of my other favorite sayings -- if you want to be a millionaire, surround yourself with millionaires, and if you want to be a drug addict, surround yourself with drug addicts.
Needless to say, you are whom you surround yourself with, so do yourself a favor and say no to the relationships that prohibit or restrict your personal development and growth.
3. Say no to 60-hour workweeks.
There is really no benefit that comes from overworking yourself, only damage to your body and mind as well as your personal relationships and family. If you find yourself in the category of "over worked," it’s time for some serious self-reflection and a possible overhaul of your time commitments and efficiency.
Stop what you’re doing and write out your average daily tasks, then use technology and/or current employees to figure out how you can automate or delegate tasks -- note that delegating and dumping aren’t the same.
If you’re working yourself to death, there’s something majorly wrong with the way you’ve set up the processes inside your business. So stop, adjust and say no to 60-hour workweeks.