Stop Making Excuses. Align Your Motivations With How You Spend Your Time.
What are your motivating factors?
Let’s say, for instance, you want to get in the best shape of your life because you want to live longer and set a good example for your children.
Spending all your time on the couch binge-watching the latest Star Wars show on Disney+ or trying to learn the solo to Stairway to Heaven won’t yield the results you want. Don’t get me wrong, we all need to decompress–but it can’t come at the price of your goals and dreams. So, if you want to be Super-Dad or Mom and promote a healthy, active lifestyle to your young ones, you’d have to spendless time lounging and more time exercising and meal-prepping.
I won’t lie. It can be hard to find enough time to do anything for yourself–especially if you are a parent, and even if you aren’t. A recent study says the average working parent enjoys a little over a half-hour of free time per day. Entrepreneurs, with or without children, typically sacrifice any “me time” because of their chosen path.
With such little space in your schedule, fitting in rigorous calisthenics and careful meal prep may seem like a stretch.I’ll point out how this article isn’t necessarily about working out or nutrition–although it could be. The entrepreneur in me cannot help but reference the science backing exercise’s many competitive advantages, such as improved cognitive function, laser-like focus, and enhanced creativity.
Staying on the topic of health, I’ve been spending 15 minutes in the Sauna four days a week. It’s helped me physically and mentally– and I highly recommend adding it as part of your day-to-day routine. Yet, optimized wellness is only one of many positive changes you can make that require you to align your motivations with how you spend your time. I could similarly discuss increasing sales revenues for your business or discovering untapped market potential. Perhaps, you’ve set the goal to put aside a specific amount of money for a new home, your retirement, or your child’s college fund. No matter what you wish to accomplish, how you spend your time will dictate your success–or lack thereof.
Finding Time With Little To Spare
Where there’s a will, there’s a way–that’s what I genuinely believe. Your free time might be limited as an adult who–for example–wants to exercise more, but you can find the time. For some, accomplishing this goal means waking up earlier than everyone else at home and jogging before the sun rises. For others, it could mean everyday bicycle rides with your family, so your scarce“alone time” isn’t a factor.
With entrepreneurial or financial goals, maximizing your time can be a little more complex, given your day-to-day obligations. Say you’re an employee who wants to earn more money because your motivations are rooted in padding your nest egg. Your time should be spent crafting your professional persona, honing your resume, and developing your hard and soft skill sets.
This way, you’re either impressing your current employer to receive a raise or on the pathway to getting hired somewhere for more pay. Somebody running or hoping to run their own business is often motivated by the big picture. Since I’m an entrepreneur, this scenario is where my expertise shines and where I’ll dive deeper into my insights.
An Entrepreneur’s Flexible Schedule Is A Double-Edged Sword
As an entrepreneur, you’re your own boss. Therefore, if you really want to, you could spend most of your time sipping on scotch and playing video games–you’d just have to face the disastrous consequences. My readers are motivated, so the above scenario won’t be a problem for you. Still, your excellent work ethic doesn’t mean you won’t struggle with various facets of running your own business.
Consider the following stats:
● It’s estimated that 20% of new businesses fold during their first 24 months
● Nearly half of all new companies fail during their first half-decade
● Almost 2/3rds of all new businesses fail during their first decade
● Only a quarter of new businesses last for 15 years
Even failed business owners are determined, hardworking people. Their problem? Amongst many other factors, they likely didn’t know how to align their schedule with their entrepreneurial motivations.
Make Discomfort Your Comfort Zone
I want aspiring entrepreneurs reading this blog to ask themselves how they spend their time each workday.
Do you find yourself over-stretched? If so, you could be micro-managing, a horrible habit for entrepreneurs. Micro-managing must be replaced with delegation to align your time with your business's big-picture, brand-building elements.
Alternatively, you might “stay in your lane”and stick to a given area of expertise. While you might be working hard in this particular facet of your business, owners and entrepreneurs can’t afford to be so granular with their focus. By hiding behind your one area of expertise, you’re not spending time growing your company to the fullest extent.
In both examples, you must take a giant leap outside of your comfort zone, which 98% of the population struggles with.
Micro-managers must accept the discomfort of letting go of the small things to move on to bigger and better things.“Experts” need to embrace the uncomfortable unknown and learn the ins and outs of becoming a bonafide owner, focusing on business facets such as:
● Customer development
● Constantly learning
● Big-picture thinking
● Relationship nurturing
● Growth initiatives
● Investing in the right people
Moreover, you can’t be afraid of failing or“looking stupid.” Startups are meant to grow fast or fail altogether. I callthis process hyper-growth.
Failure is a necessary part of hyper-growth.Success correlates directly to how effectively and quickly your team canrecover and discuss what needs to change.
This subject brings to mind venture capitalistBen Horowitz’s quote: “Embrace the struggle.”
Advice From Someone Who Knows
Sticking with the theme of comfort zones, I said goodbye to mine when I left Brazil and landed in California in 2005, with only my savings and luggage to my name.
Fast-forward to almost 20 years later, I’ve accomplished my goal: building my video game company, Playgig.
Since the days of Atari and the first 8-bitNintendo, video games have been my passion. I’ve always kept that passion in mind and have always been purposeful with my time.
For instance, I developed my skills as the leader of Esports at Riot Games. Then, I threw myself headfirst into understanding the American culture, even though it was new and scary. I needed to navigate the entrepreneurial landscape.
Soon, I was motivated to receive enough capital to start Playgig. So, I aligned my time as such, budgeting my mental energy toward garnering the attention of venture capitalists.
Now, Playgig is up and running, and I’m making my mark in a $300 billion industry–and at no point have I wasted a second in getting here.
To get here, I needed to be patient and humble and know how to be vulnerable in moments of struggle. “Humility is as important,” says Ray Dalio, “as having the strengths yourself.”