New Year's Resolutions. I dont know about you, but I suck at keeping them.
If you chose one of the "usual suspects" - eat more healthy food, drink more water, drink less alcohol, give up smoking, exercise every day - you've almost certainly broken it by now.
This got me thinking about the kind of changes entrepreneurs and innovators can implement on a daily basis that are far easier to keep, yet still have positive benefits.
Many of the world's most successful entrepreneurs swear by a consistent morning routine.
Whether it's making a freshly-cooked breakfast, doing a half-hour workout, meditating, or learning a new language on Duolingo (my own morning routune of choice!), doing something productive in those first few moments of the day, every day, puts you in a positive frame of mind.
This is not quite true, as long-term planning is important for personal development and enrichment. But setting a goal such as "I will write a book this year" or "I need to make 2 million kroner in sales this year" is daunting. A far better approach is to start planning on a three-monthly cycle. What will you achieve by the end of March?
What sounds more achievable:
"I will write a book this year" - or - "I will write a book outline and my first chapter by the end of March"
"I need to makes 2 million kroner in sales this year" - or - "I want to fill my sales pipeline with 20 new leads by the end of March"
Do this right now, and I guarantee your year will seem much less daunting.
The best productivity tip I've ever come across.
Many of us make to-do lists in the morning, but how many of you tackle the easiest, quickest tasks first, just so you can tick some things off the list? I know I used to.
Turning the to-do list on its head and tackling the hardest task first will transform your productivity. Behavioural scientists have discovered that one of the most effective ways to create an enjoyable experience is to stack the painful parts of the experience early in the process. This applies to all walks of life, but none more so than the working day, because psychologically, humans prefer experiences that improve over time.
This concept also applies in other instances, for example if you have some bad news to share with a customer or business partner. By starting with the bad news and ending on something positive ("we've lost our biggest client... but we have three new leads!") the positive tone is remembered.
Can't afford the time for learning when you're an entrepeneur?
When we step outside the academic or corporate bubbles and strike out on our own or in a small startup, a structured approach to learning is often left behind.
It's easy to find just 10-15 minutes a day for learning, whether through an online course, a Kindle book, or even asking a colleague for advice.
If you spend 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week on proactive learning, you'll have put in nearly two working weeks of solid learning time over the course of a year.
This is a process I proactively went through during December and one I can wholeheartedly recommend.
If a task is stressing you out, ask yourself why you are doing it. Is it contributing to your long-term plan or your three-monthly goals? If not, perhaps it's time to hand that task off to someone else, or stop doing it altogether. You may take a short-term financial hit, but it's almost always for the best when you consider the bigger picture.
If you hate doing your bookkeeping and accounts, hire some help.
If you hate using Twitter for work, outsource it, automate it, or close the account.
If you no longer enjoy a hobby, give it up.
If you are doing client work you no longer enjoy, stop working for that client.
No, not the Technoport event, as good as they are! I'm referring to working on your support network, which every entrepreneur needs to succeed. Working from a coworking space is a great place to start as it gives you immediate access to a network of like-minded people and professional service providers.
But if you work from home or in the evenings, be sure to invest the time in building a quality network around you.
Publish your thoughts and experiences online and you will attract a virtual support community.
Consider your competition not as competitiors, but as colleagues to turn to in time of need.
Technoport 2016 is a great place to meet like-minded people, share the problem, learn new skills, be inspired and gain new perspectives on your own projects. Will we see you there?
Photo: Loïc Lagarde