I’ve read several times from a variety of sources that announcing your goals to friends, family and now with social media, the world (or those who follow you) improves your likelihood of success in reaching those goals.
As they say, startup founders “wear many hats.” I wish these hats were cool snapbacks or fashionably veiled tiny hats, but they’re not. On any given day, I feel like I’m in a movie where I am the lone actor playing several characters. In doing this, I sometimes wake up confused and wonder who I need to be that day, and what I need to accomplish. I also often feel like my focus is slipping through my fingers like sand.
At the end of the day, what do I have to show for my exhaustion?
For me, setting goals and managing my time correctly is so important. I’ll often find myself wasting time scrolling through my Tumblr dashboard when really, I originally gave myself 10 minutes to schedule posts for my startup’s tumblr page, or I’ll get lost lurking in various news articles with close to a dozen tabs open on my browser. All of this distracts me from whatever set of tasks and objectives I have for that day, and no one loses out on this deal but me and, more importantly, PARCELD.
I want to be the most productive founder, person and friend I can, without sacrificing sanity or happiness in the process. Some of the founders, VCs and creatives I respect the most blog weekly or daily, and are still focused on their businesses, families and relationships. It can be done. With that said, I am following with a set of goals I want to accomplish and make part of my daily routine over the course of the summer. I’ve separated these into two parts: Work + Life. We all know these two intersect, and in my case, more often than not, are almost one in the same. I need to fix this. I’m going to try.
Every week, I’m going to check in with successes and failures. Think this is overshare? You’re right. But I’d love hearing your comments, struggles and successes as well. Let’s do this together. I’m starting with 7 goals, and working my way up from there.
1. WORK during my peak hours.
And actually work. I am a self-proclaimed obnoxious morning person and absolutely thrive in hours between 6:30 - 8:30 am. But all too often I find myself reading emails, browsing twitter and (yes, admittedly) lurking on PInterest instead of using this time to be truly productive. I will set my goals for the next day the night prior, and aim to accomplish one or two in that extremely crucial part of my day..
2. Work in 90 minute chunks of time on one specific thing.
Focus is difficult and time is money. This made so much sense to me when I read it: “success at work means delivering the goods: no matter how good your relationships are or how fast you answer your email, you will not be successful unless you deliver on your projects.” Giving myself breaks throughout the day to browse or day dream is important, but keeping those 90 minutes sacred is crucial.
3. Attend one networking/ecommerce/tech event per week.
Some would say this is a waste of time, but in the early stages of founding a startup, meaningful networking is too important to pass up. I’m usually pretty good about being social and maintaining these relationships, but some weeks, I want to curl up in a ball and go lie in a hammock somewhere. Even if I only make one substantial and authentic connect, that’s one person or one relationship that can serve me, my business, or that person and his/her business exponentially.
1. Blog once a week, every Thursday
I went through my calendar and realized I most often, for some reason, make Wednesday nights my “off” night. Perhaps because the week’s chaos forces me to chill out, or maybe because Wednesdays are like the prelude to weekends. In any case, these nights and/or early mornings are perfect for reflecting on my week so far, news that’s been circulating, etc, and write one meaningful blog post. A friend and young business woman I extremely respect advised me to blog more. And so I shall, because doing this also helps me process and digest what the hell I’m doing on a daily basis. I didn’t get a MA in Journalism for nothin’.
2. Acknowledge one achievement per week
My father and I both share the bad habit of meeting goals, and already looking towards the next set of goals without taking time to acknowledge small successes. Especially as a startup founder, when one success means a door opened to a dozen additional goals to meet, recognizing small successes and taking time to celebrate, even if it is a fist pump (yes, the Jersey Shore kind) or expensive cup of coffee, is so important. Also, writing these down allows you to revisit these successes and create a sort of timeline, to be referenced when you feel like you’ve accomplished nothing after months of work.
3. Use exercise as “me” time
No excuses. All this research on the cognitive benefits of ecxercise? Say no more. 3 times a week minimum, 5 max. I always feel refreshed, re-charged and on top of my ame after a run, spin class or yoga session. Sharpen my mind. Sharpen my skills. Sharpen my calf muscles. POW.
4. Read more fiction
I read a lot of business books and how-to books and inspirational books, but I need the excitement of characters, plots, deceit and scandal. Since I’m not much into gossip or reality television, I need to read more fiction. Growing up, I read a book a week. I was an English major, after all! I have a tendency to dive in head first to any task or mode of thinking, and this extremism doesn’t serve me well sometimes. Book on the bedstand. ‘Nough said.