If you’re starting out in business, you don’t need telling that you’ve got a good idea – you’re the one investing your time, energy and money in it, and the last thing you want is to be bankrupt within the first year or applying for a Trust Deed to help you take control of your financial situation due to a failed business! . However, the question is; if there are so many great ideas in the world, why isn’t everyone starting-up or becoming an entrepreneur?
The answer is simple – it’s hard work. Not everyone’s cut out for hard work, it means apply your focus when there’s other things to do, putting in the extra hours when your friends are socialising and using your time more wisely than you ever have before.
The people who win at business are the ones who don’t hit snooze, they say no to box-set binges and they keep a tight daily regime. Why? Because if your business is going to fly in a world of smart people and good ideas – the only thing that’s going to set you apart is how hard and tirelessly you work. With this is mind, it’s important to think about your levels of discipline – and whether or not it’ll be the thing that hinders your business taking off…
To look at why discipline matters you need to understand what happens without it. The biggest and most important resource you have when you’re starting a business is time – and luckily for us, we can add that up fairly simply.
So, let’s do it. You’re starting out and putting 10 hours a day into your business, 5 days a week. A total of 50 hours each week spent driving your venture forward. That’s a figure to be proud of right?
But it’s not that simple. Factor in the following:
- 1 hour for lunch
- 45 minutes on social media (at least!)
- 15 minutes on non-work phone calls
- 4 x 5 minutes making coffee
- 5 minutes looking for misplaced receipts/pens/phone chargers
By the time you’ve stopped to use the toilet, that’s 2.5 hours every day. 12.5 hours a week – or 575 hours over a normal 46-week year. You haven’t misread that, 575 hours. 11 and a half weeks of your year go to that stuff. And let’s be honest, for every time-consuming habit that’s on the list, there’s another 5 that we haven’t added in.
A broader lack of discipline
It’s not just distractions that cause you to lose time and productivity either, got a hangover? Kiss goodbye to your best work for the day. Eating 3 sausage rolls and donut for lunch? Good luck staying awake when that mid-afternoon blood-sugar crash kicks in. Can’t be bothered keeping your paperwork in order? Enjoy the pressured half an hour of trying to find a quote when a customer’s expecting a call back.
A lack of discipline will bleed into every aspect of your life if you don’t tackle it. Sure, maybe you can name a couple of people who’ve made it despite being lazy and unmotivated – but they’re the exception to the rule – and if it’s what you aspire for, you’re on a path that is 99.9% certain to end with failure. Fancy those odds?
Your business – your attitude
The point is, the dozens of tiny little distractions and bad habits you have that don’t matter to you when you’re working for a big corporate suddenly do matter when you’re the boss. And it’s not just the massive amount of time that is taken up with non-work ‘stuff’ that impacts your business, it’s the lack of focus and discipline that leaves you with an attitude that allows Facebook to be prioritised over reaching for your goals.
The world is against you
Here’s where we cut you some slack – you’re not at all alone if you struggle with distractions and focus. A person’s attention is one of the most valuable commodities for any business, so you better believe that the world you live and work in is designed to encourage you to part with your time rather than invest it. It’s when you conquer this beast that you start to win.
There’s an ancient African proverb about exactly this kind of problem: “When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion” – and it’s important to consider this. The lion represents everything that distracts, discourages and represents the failure of what you want to achieve. If you’re reading this, you’re probably fighting with your own levels of discipline – and that’s great, being aware of the lion is the first step toward tying it up.
Discipline does not come in pill form, you can’t take one step and make yourself 100% productive. Instead, you can create dozens, if not hundreds of tiny habits that all represent one out of the mass of spider webs that are going to bring that lack-of-discipline lion down.
Where to start
This is not a lesson in how to structure your day – because one person’s perfect day is another person’s nightmare. Instead, you need to take a good, deep and searching look at exactly what you do on a day to day basis. Lets say you have just launched a new company that provided stainless steel banding products worldwide and you have a revenue target to reach each month.
Get a notepad. It’s going to stay with you for the day or the week. Don’t put it down or forget about it, this is probably the most important notepad you’ve ever had.
Every time you do something, write it down. Check Facebook 6 times before breakfast? Note it. Skip the gym? Note it. Have a productive call with a supplier? Note it. Your time with the notepad isn’t about judgement, you might think things are good or bad, but reserve your judgement for now.
When the end of the day or the week comes around, spend some time thinking about where you want your business to be a year from now. Dream big, be unrealistic – think absolute best-case scenario. Now look over your notepad and ask yourself about every single action that’s in there – “Is this helping me toward or keeping me from my goal?”
No magic pill
We’ve already told you, there’s no magic pill that’s going to turn you into an ultra-disciplined success story overnight – instead, you’re going to want to tackle each of the habits that you’ve dropped into the ‘keeping me from my goals’ category one by one.
Tying up a lion isn’t an easy job, in fact, it’s probably the hardest part of being an entrepreneur – hence, it’s the part that causes most people to fail. But awareness is the very best place to start from, so, grab a notepad, observe yourself, look honestly at what needs to change and start building the real path to your own success.