Giving it 100 percent every entrepreneurial day is an excellent goal, but it isn't realistic. There are days when I easily give 150 percent, while there are others when I struggle to do 80 percent. We talk about always showing up, but rarely address the fact that low energy, decreased time, or scattered focus can make some days better than others. It's just part of being human.
You are sometimes going to have a Minimum Viable Day -- and it is much more fruitful if you actively enter it. Inspired by the Minimum Viable Product approach to shipping enough of a item to satisfy consumers without depleting limited resources, a Minimum Viable Day means doing only the essential work and actively facilitating a slower day with the promise of more productive iterations tomorrow. We talk about products and working with the limited resources we have, but we rarely apply that to our lives.
A Minimum Viable Day should be simple and it should be rare. There are three solid guidelines to actively creating a Minimum Viable Day:
Ship, or it is a day off.
Like a Minimum Viable Product, the whole point of a MVD is to "ship" by using the smallest resources necessary. Remember, this isn't a vacation day, nor is it a blank day where you make room for strategic development. I usually set one simple, yet significant goal for the day and use that as the compass for success.
Cut the to-do list in half.
Feature creep is real, whether you're talking about adding "must-have" details to your bloated product or squeezing "necessary" meetings into your schedule. Here's a test: If you had a suddenly had a personal crisis or became ill, what items would drop off your calendar in a heartbeat? Take those goals off.
Plan to iterate.
Your Minimum Viable Day should help create or build on the foundation of your work, but it absolutely should not be considered the completion of your work. Instead, view it as a basecamp day between long stretches of mountain climbing or as a pit stop through a Grand Prix: It is a necessary pause that will not become the standard for your progress.
A slow day can make us feel guilty, but it is worth putting that aside. By stripping down your day to the essentials, you can differentiate between second-tier priorities and pure fluff. After having a MVD, you may be surprised at how inconsequential certain goals seem in the new light -- and how your productivity goes even higher in the future.