Business Owner Disciplines
Trying to do more can mean that you impact fewer things. However, there are three rules you can use to increase your impact by doing less and still be more at peace.
Rule #1: If, by doing something, you would consider it a day well lived, even if it was all you did, make it a priority. If it’s not, then you should move it down your priority list or off the list entirely.
Rule #2: If you have nothing on your list based on the first rule, then the very first item on your list needs to be time with yourself and a journal to figure out what it is you should be doing.
Rule #3: If you have done something that allows you to consider your day well lived, know that you can stop with a full heart – even with a lot of tasks left on the list.
It may sound simple, but it’s not easy.
Think about the last time you remember feeling genuinely content at the end of the day. I would bet that what you remember the most about that day is the one or two things you did that you were proud of. Maybe you spent time with people that mattered to you or finally got to a hobby that meant a lot to you.
Now, think about the last day that you had trouble turning it off at the end and spent time in your head. More than likely, you were focused on task execution, specifically the tasks that remained undone. It could have been the contract that needed to be reviewed, the inbox that remained half-unread, or the kitchen that still needed to be cleaned. Those tasks are always with us, and never fully go away, but the feeling of being unfulfilled comes from not getting to anything that you deem important. As a business owner, our task list runs longer than most, the stakes are often high, and the consequences of failure go beyond ourselves. But even so, that does not mean that these rules are any different for us.
We will not find satisfaction through task execution; it can only be found by impacting the things that matter most.
Use the three rules above and focus on your top one or two priorities. Get coffee with your sister. Have lunch with that one big account that you need. Play in the snow with your kids. Compete in that next marathon. Tell a friend how much they mean to you. And then, you can move on to your tasks and get done what you can. That way, when you look back at the day, you will be satisfied with what you accomplished.
Our days add up to weeks, weeks to months, months to years, years to a lifetime. Make it a lifetime you are proud of and not a task list you got through.