As a young girl, my dad once told me that if I ate while standing up, all the food I was eating would go straight to my legs.
I immediately pictured a lifetime of gigantic calf muscles. Or, worse, sumo wrestler legs beneath my tiny frame. As you might imagine, the thought scared the pretzels out of me.
Thankfully, I’ve become much less gullible over the years. In fact, I tend to analyze, prove, and question everything. Nothing is sacred.
So when I heard about the ungodly hours that I could be working to launch a startup, I had to dig deeper. I analyzed, questioned, and probed. Is it true that, in general, the average startup entrepreneur works 300+ hours every month? If it’s true, was that amount of effort truly needed? If it was needed, was I cut out to be an entrepreneur?
I conveniently found my answers to be yes, no, and yes.
How a Change in Attitude Helped Me Achieve More in Less Time
I will admit that it sounds incredibly romantic to quit a crappy full-time job, work 100 hours a week, and turn a $6 million profit within 14 months (which is the exception – not the rule).
But I knew from experience that this was not the way I wanted to build my life’s work. I wanted to enjoy the process, sleep well every night, continue running on a regular basis, and enjoy time with friends and family at every opportunity.
As fate would have it, I discovered that this attitude was the key to releasing myself from the shackles of keeping ghastly hours. This was the attitude that helped me figure out how to achieve more in less time.
I categorize my work into two buckets – “work” and “non-work”.
You can also think of these two buckets as “revenue generating” and “revenue enabling” respectively. For example, work is delivering a branding workshop that directly adds more zeros to the balance in my business checking account. Non-work is the phone call I make to confirm that I am indeed available to deliver the seminar. Any activity that directly adds to the bottom line is work (or revenue generating). Any activity that simply supports the overall operation is non-work (or revenue enabling).
I eliminate or drastically reduce time spent on any activity that does not fit into the two categories described above.
Simply ask yourself “will my company cease to exist if I do not complete this activity?” If the answer is no, then it’s time to cut it out. For example, 2-hour lunch breaks at fancy restaurants, long personal phone calls during business hours, personal Facebook posts and tweets are all great examples.