I used to waste a lot of time when I worked as an employee of a company a couple of years ago. I used to reach office by 10 am, check emails, go to an unproductive meeting, do chit-chat with colleagues, check emails again (sshh... Facebook), do a little bit of work, and then it was lunch time.
I used to pretend like I was really busy and made my lunchtime-friends wait for me. The same pattern continued post lunch. I used to do some work, attend another meeting, and suddenly it was tea-time. Post tea, I pottered around, checked some more emails and waited till 5:30 pm to go home.
I experienced a transformation only after leaving the job and becoming a full-time entrepreneur. Every entrepreneur has a different story, but few things are common among – which is what makes them stand out from the crowd.
# They know what to do today
Entrepreneurs don't start their day randomly. They know what has to be done that day. They have short-term plans and long-term goals which they go after with a regimen, and dedication. Most of the entrepreneurs keep a journal, maintain a to-do list, and retrospect on what they did the previous week.
Nowadays, I plan my next day before retiring to sleep so that I have clarity on what I have to do when I wake up. It also motivates me to wake up on time and begin work early.
# Prioritize work
Only making a to-do list is not sufficient; entrepreneurs know what-not-to-do on a particular day, as well.
There are two types of work - urgent and important. Urgent work demands your immediate attention but is not always important. For example - calling the customer care department of your telecom operator for overcharging you last month is not so urgent. Entrepreneurs finish important things first and delegate urgent work to others. They know the 80/20 rule - 80 per cent of productivity comes from 20 percent work, and they are smart enough to spot which are those critical tasks.
Entrepreneurs are usually experts in one particular area, but they have to be also good in many other areas. The CEO of a startup has to be a Chief Everything Officer! You have to be like a good programmer who does not hesitate to perform any number of tasks - testing, design, marketing, sales, customer support, hiring, purchasing, accounts and even cleaning chairs. Of course, as the organization grows, entrepreneurs hire experts for each of the areas but they do know how to multi-task when needed.
# Believe in your work
Entrepreneurs don't look for shortcuts to success. They love what they do and put their 100 percent into their work. They don't pray to God to help them win a lottery or look to a rich uncle to leave them a fortune in their wills.
# Read, Read, Read
I have not met any entrepreneur till date who does not read. Please let me know if you find anyone.
They don't read for fun, they read to learn; to get a different perspective of life. They read biographies, self-help, entrepreneurship, spirituality/mythology, human psychology and lots of relevant blogs. They read a lot of magazines, but only scan through the daily newspaper.
# Don't watch TV
This is one thing that most entrepreneurs do! They don't waste their time in front of the television. I would prefer to spend the time reading or playing with my kid. Entrepreneurs do watch movies and documentaries whenever they want, but they don't like being controlled by television, both in terms of schedule and content. I remember the days when I used to keep flipping channels in order to find something interesting, and end up wasting two-three hours.
# Sleep well
No one should compromise their sleep. It is not a secret that you need good a night’s sleep to keep yourself healthy. Entrepreneurs love to tell stories about how they burned the midnight oil in the early days of their startup, but eventually everyone needs to develop a proper sleeping schedule as well. As the say - A healthy mind lives in a healthy body.
I am grateful to God and many others who helped me in my transition from an employee to an entrepreneur. I am really lucky to have formed some good habits and have learnt things that I could never have imagined.