What do Elon Musk, Sheryl Sandberg, and Arianna Huffington all have in common? They use Mondays to work on the business rather than in the business. Entrepreneurs are spending more time than they invest, reacting to emails, attending meetings, dealing with interruptions, and incessantly checking their cell phones. The risk is that 90 percent of the day becomes reactive with no time for strategic thinking or growing the business. The best entrepreneurs, on the other hand, work on the business as much as in the business.
Here's 3 ways to supercharge your Mondays:
1. Plan Backward.
Every entrepreneur must think about the future. Planning is like taking your mind to the gym. Prioritise and decide where you want to win first and accept that you can't win everything. Venture capitalist John Doerr advises that: "Ideas are precious, but they're relatively easy. It's execution that's everything." This may seem obvious, but most of us try to do too much. You have to decide what to say no to and agree to new plans only if your mind and heart say yes, but this is no easy feat when everything appears urgent.
Once this is clear, remember to plan backward:
1. Figure out what it will take to win.
2. Work back from one to where you are today.
3. Create a plan to close the gap.
4. Think of your time as money.
5. Execute objectives and key results (OKRs).
OKRs are a proven framework for getting results, popularized by Doerr, who gave it to Google. Other famous users include Oracle Corporation, LinkedIn, and Zynga. OKRs help people be clear about what is expected of them. First, start by defining three to five key objectives. Objectives should be ambitious, qualitative, time led, and actionable by the individual or team. Then, under each objective, identify a couple of key result areas. These should be concrete, quantifiable, and achievable.
2. Lead Fast and Slow.
Pivoting quickly between fast and slow is a universal challenge for any leader: lead too quickly and you risk burnout; take too long and you miss the best opportunities. In a Financial Times interview, Julian Birkinshaw, professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at London Business School, says: "The dominant rhetoric is of accelerated change. And because the rate of change in the outside world is perceived to be getting greater, the assumption is that we should do so on the inside, too. Sometimes this creates problems, for example email traffic for its own sake." To lead fast and slow, do the below:
· Designate a delegation hour -- have a prompt in your calendar to let go.
· Beat procrastination by starting quickly.
· Doubt kills ideas, so prototype quickly.
· Play for the long game.
· Invest in prevention.
· Build "alone zones" for thinking.
3. Say No Fast and Mean It.
The word "urgent" is one of the most overused words in the English language. It forces you to react rather than think. The fact is that everyone will always want you to react to their needs immediately and on their terms. You lose control of your day and your agenda, making it impossible to fulfil your priorities. If being productive sometimes means being selfish, so be it. Effective entrepreneurs protect their time and know the difference between busy work and best work.
How will you use your 53 Mondays to work on the business? When you take a risk, such as starting your own company or taking over a new team, challenges will occur as sure as night follows day. Becoming an entrepreneur is decision: You can use your 53 Mondays as a space to renew yourself and your business.