Ever watch people and wonder just how the hell they keep up with it all? I usually feel that way when chatting with my friends that have kids. Seriously, how do you people manage to have these awesome careers and somehow make time to be the kickass parents that you all are? Unreal. Anyway, most of these folks would probably tell you that they just do the best they can, try to spend quality time when it’s available, yada yada. Doesn’t really answer my question though – how do they do it?
As entrepreneurs, we face an eerily similar challenge – way too much to do and not nearly enough time to do it all. Our startups are kinda like our children right? So, how do you get the most bang for your hours with so much going on?
Since moving from Chicago, I’ve had a fairly busy last 18 months here in Dallas keeping up with these 5 projects:
- A full beta test of Cariloop with a complete re-design, re-development, and re-launch.
- A launch of a Health 2.0 chapter here in Dallas which has grown to about 150 people in 90 days.
- A launch of my own show called HealthSparx that features awesome stories of health and technology entrepreneurship or innovation from all over the world.
- Alongside several other local entrepreneurs, a founding of a Texas conference called the iACT Summit that will feature innovative aging and caregiving technologies.
- A certification with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) to be a personal trainer – currently working over at the LA Fitness in Carrollton.
Pulling all this off has made family and friends look at me at times like I’m absolutely fricken insane. You know that look I’m talking about right? People see you and they aren’t sure whether to be happy for you or just avoid you completely? I don’t think it’s that I’m crazy or anything, I’ve just gotten really good at being in 5 places at the same time. Here’s how to make it happen for you:
- Get up early 3 days a week – I usually get up at like 4:30 or 5 am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to crank out blog posts, stay connected with people via social media, respond to emails, read news, or knock out other TO-DO’s. Think about it, from 8:30 am to 5 pm, you need to be hustling after customers, closing deals, taking lunch meetings, and overall dominating whatever it is you’re doing. Some of the other “stuff” we have to take care of isn’t usually gonna get done during that time, so wake up and get er’ done.
- Use the best technology – If you want to be able to keep up with everything going on around you, you gotta have the best tools to do so. Would you send a reporter to the White House with a type writer? Nope, so drop the flip phone and buy something that actually works for you. Also, there are tons of free tools out there to help manage a lot of the stuff I just mentioned – email, blogging, social media, etc. Personally, I use Buffer for social media posting, Evernote for keeping track of notes, and Google apps to manage email, calendar, and tasks.
- Go to the gym (at least) 3 days a week – On the days where you got that full night of sleep, get your butt to the gym! If you want to be able to maintain the physical and emotional up’s and down’s that come with a startup, you HAVE to be in good shape. It’s no surprise that some of the most successful entrepreneurs in history have exercised just about every day. Just 30 to 45 minutes of your day in the gym (or running if you’re into that kinda thing) could make a huge difference in reaching and sustaining that “insane productivity mode”.
- Be active in your community – Don’t just sit in your office, kitchen, garage, parent’s basement, or wherever it is that you work out of. Get out into your community and get involved. Go to Meetup groups for things that you are interested in. Help other entrepreneurs out with their startups. Make introductions to people over lunch to help them connect. These are the people that will come back and help you later, so be a visible asset to your startup ecosystem.
- Follow up with everyone – Seems like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how terrible people can be at this. Do not wait to get in touch with people, hustle up and make those phone calls or send those emails! My inbox very rarely has unread mail in it because I am always responding (or deleting) as people are communicating with me. Why do this? As soon as you let that inbox get to 50, 100, 200 emails deep in junk, you won’t go through it. It just gets to be way too overwhelming and let’s face it, you’ve got better crap to do. Keeping on top of it allows you to immediately respond or follow up and make things happen for your startup fast!
It’s been one hell of a journey so far and can’t wait to see what happens next. These simple strategies have allowed me to be in 5 places at once. What else has worked for you in being on top of your game at all times?