The main difference between the few who get ahead and the many treading water is how well they spend their time.
The entrepreneurial spirit lights a flame of hope in the hearts and minds of people near and far. For most, it’s a symbolic journey, one that delves deep into the far-reaches of their minds, revealing their deepest hopes and dreams, illuminating the pathway to self-discovery and eventual financial freedom.
1. Waking up early.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook sends out company emails by 4:30 a.m. every day with a visit to the gym shortly after at 5 a.m. One of the world’s most successful CEOs knows a thing or two about the importance of getting up early. But he’s not the only one. Disney’s CEO, Robert Iger wakes up at 4:30 a.m. and so does Howard Schultz who also gets a workout in before showing up to the office at 6 a.m.
But there’s a reason why they and countless others of the world’s most successful individuals wake up that early. It’s in the early-morning hours, when the world is still and silent, that we can focus and concentrate best on our efforts, to see things through and push towards our long-term goals.
Even for those people that don’t consider themselves as morning persons, the daily success habit of waking up early can be achieved with the micro-changes approach as long as you stay consistent. For this, simply wake up 15 minutes earlier the first week, then another 15 minutes earlier the following week, and so on. Do it until you reach your wake-up-hour goal.
2. Effective time management.
Time is life’s greatest equalizer. We all have the same amount of time in the day. It doesn’t matter who we are, where we’re from, the color of our skin, religion, and so on, we all still just get 24 hours in a day. That’s 86,400 seconds. That’s it. Not more and not less.
What does make a difference, however, is just how we use the precious time we do have. Do we squander it? Or do we use it effectively, masterfully managing our time to achieve our goals? The world’s most successful people are also some of the world’s best managers of their time. If you’re serious about long-term success, then you need to instill this daily habit into your life.
Use the quadrant-time-management system, first envisioned by the late President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and later popularized by Stephen R. Covey in his book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” You’ll find this to be the best strategy for managing your time and eventually achieving your goals.
3. Daily goal setting.
Not only do successful entrepreneurs set long-term goals, but they also engage in daily goal setting. They set goals every single day based on what they want to achieve in the long term. The daily goals help to provide clarity at a smaller scale, rather than being overwhelmed by the enormity of those monumental goals we want to achieve years down the line.
Benjamin Franklin was known for asking the question “What good have I done today?” at the end of every single day. By knowing that he would ask that question, he was better able to set the right goals each day to stay on track, as hard as it might have seemed at times for him to do so.
Steve Jobs was also one that asked himself a question every day while looking in the mirror. In a commencement speech to Stanford University graduates, he told the audience that his question was, “If today were the last day of your life, would you want to be doing what you’re doing?” He later went on to state that, “Whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
4. Meticulous planning.
It’s great to set goals, but harder to achieve them when we fail to plan. The world’s most successful entrepreneurs are meticulous planners. You need to determine how you’re going to get from Point A to Point B to give yourself direction and to better understand how you’ll approach the finish line in the future.
Think about a plane for a moment. Every airplane has a goal. Its goal is to fly from one city to the next, leave at a certain date and time, and arrive at another date and time. Yet, there is tremendous amounts of planning that go into that goal. The plane has to plan its projected direction of travel, air speed, elevation and so on.
Similar to the plane, you need to plan your route to your goals. Creating a massive action plan, and tracking your progress on a daily basis, will also allow you to overcome any difficulties or change your approach if you see that something isn’t working. When a plane hits turbulence or air-traffic congestion, it changes direction, elevation or speed so that it can eventually reach its intended target.
5. Persistent action.
The cliché of taking action has been hammered home in the self-help genre for ages. Everyone speaks about taking action, but not everyone can follow through and do it. We get sidetracked and veer off track. Things come up and we lose our focus or we end up procrastinating towards our goals.
However, this is by far one of the most important daily habits you can have to reach eventual success. Still, the problem is overcoming the silent killer known as procrastination. However, there is a so-called hack for this. It’s called the 15-minute rule. Take the one thing that you’ve been putting off for the longest, set a timer on your phone, and do it for just 15 minutes.
All it takes is 15 minutes. Don’t promise yourself more than that. Just 15 minutes. What you’ll come to find is that after those 15 minutes are up, you’ll have built some momentum and you might keep going. And even if you don’t continue, you’ll have broken the stifling pattern of procrastination.