To have a healthy business you need to make working ON your business a priority. Make progress on your goals every day by working on them first.
Every time I say that I’m going to work out after work, it never happens. By the end of the day, I’m tired and I don’t want to exercise. I want to spend time with friends and family and relax.
So I make all the excuses and push it off to the next day.
Every time I say that I’m going to work out before work, it always happens. At the start of the day, I’m motivated and have energy to burn. The day hasn’t gotten away from me, there are no distractions, and I’m not tired.
There’s no reason to make excuses.
Plus, getting it done first, before every other obligation, responsibility, and commitment, means that I make progress every day no matter what. And because nothing else competes for that time, sticking with it is far easier.
This realization — first is better and more productive than last — is what led me to rethink my approach to productivity and working on my business several years ago.
Previously, I’d set audacious goals for my business and plan to work through my to-do list at the end of my workday, after I finished all client work.
There was just one problem:
At 5:00 pm, if there was client work to do, which there always was, I’d keep working until it was done. If the only work left was my own stuff, I’d make an excuse and push it off, saying…
- “I’ll work extra long today to have more time tomorrow.”
- “I’ll do it after dinner / after the kids go to bed.”
- “I’ll do it on the weekend.”
- “I’ll start it next week.”
- “I’ll get to it next month.”
I was totally lying to myself.
It would never happen because after a full workday, I was exhausted and I didn’t want to work in the evenings or work at night. I also didn’t want to work on the weekends. Then, when that next week or next month came around, I was still as busy as ever and I’d make the same excuses… and make no progress on my goals.
I fundamentally had to change how I prioritized my business tasks and client tasks.
As with exercise, I needed to work on my business first.
Prioritize Your Business
I applied the lesson I learned from creating an exercise routine I could stick with to creating a routine for improving productivity and advancing my business goals. It has worked brilliantly to guarantee forward progress and accelerate the timeline of hitting my goals — and it’s something you can easily do too.
Work on your internal goals first, before anything else, and before distractions pull your attention elsewhere.
Set your alarm an hour earlier than normal and use that extra, uninterrupted, quiet time to work on your big goals and bring your dreams to life.
- Make yourself your favorite morning beverage — mine is usually a cup of peach green tea or crème brulée black tea.
- Don’t check email. Don’t check social media. Don’t check Slack.
- Focus on one thing and get one thing done that moves you closer to your goals.
With this approach, you will make meaningful progress toward your goals every day. One hour per day before your workday adds up to:
- 5 hours per week
- ~20ish hours per month
- ~250 hours per year
You can get A LOT done in that time!
Being productive and checking something off your to-do list — making progress toward the completion of a task – feels amazing. It energizes you and creates momentum that sticks with you throughout your workday, which for me, has also improved productivity and focus.
Now, when I end my workday, I feel more satisfied and fulfilled because I got my client work done AND I made a positive impact on my own business.
Advance Your Goals In Your Time
Struggling to resist the urge to do client work first, consider this:
In the movie Goonies, Mikey pleads with the rest of the Goonies at the bottom of the wishing well, to continue their adventure, saying:
“[Our parents] got to do what’s right for them. Because it’s their time. Their time! Up there! Down here, it’s our time. It’s our time down here. That’s all over the second we ride up Troy’s bucket.”
Adapt his rally cry and make it your own:
“I have to do what’s right for clients because they trust me. During the workday, it’s their time! Right now, it’s my time. The morning is my time. That’s all over the minute I open email, Slack, or social media.”
Now is the time to rethink your routine.
Personally, after an hour or two of working on my business, I need a break away from the computer to reset my focus. Here’s roughly how I do it:
- Before 7:00 am it’s my time to work on my business, courses, programs, offers, and goals. Depending on what I’m working on and what deadline I’m working against, I get up at either 5:00/6:00 am.
- At 7:00 am, I work out, shower, and eat breakfast.
- At 9:30 am, I check in on the groups for my programs to see if anyone needs support.
- At 10:00 am, I knock out the first item on my daily to-do list — the biggest item that requires the most focus. And I typically don’t check email, social media, or Slack until that task is complete.
- After that, I work until my to-do list is done and then plan my next day.
My mornings center around internal business goals and personal health goals. When those two items are taken care of, I’m able to show up as the best version of myself for my clients.
So, what about you?
How can you prioritize your business and put your goals first so you make meaningful progress every single day?
When it comes to creating YOUR TIME, ask yourself:
- What do I want my mornings to look like?
- What experience do I want to create for myself?
- How much time will I spend focused on my goals?
- How will I transition my mindset and focus from my business to my work commitments?
- What do I need to do to set myself up for success?
Then stay focused and repeat that Goonies rally cry: This is my time!