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Five Productivity Mistakes for Entrepreneurs to Avoid

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |Productivity| Five Productivity Mistakes for Entrepreneurs to AvoidMost entrepreneurs are led to believe that successful business models prosper quickly and easily. However, in a study by Statistic Brain, “Startup Business Rate by Industry Business, the failure rate of all U.S. companies after five years was over 50 percent, and over 70 percent after 10 years

Too many entrepreneurs may be focusing too much on their hopes and dreams of success rather than maintaining daily best practices to stay productive and healthy. Here are five mistakes entrepreneurs should correct in order to help them achieve a more productive day and a healthier lifestyle.

1) Don’t Ignore Your Own Well-Being:

Exercise, relaxation, and spending time with friends and family is key to having a healthy mind and body. According to the Gallup Wellbeing Index, 45% of entrepreneurs report being stressed compared to 42% of “other workers.” Entrepreneurs also report being more likely to have “worried a lot” — 34% vs. 30%.. Physical and mental healthcare the most important components for long term success at anything, especially the highly stressful project of building a successful business. Disregarding your personal welfare in favor of pushing yourself to the limit and beyond can result in a negative domino effect and usually compounds every other mistake you’re making. Most often these topics are unspoken and not confronted because there is a need to be perceived as confident and able to handle anything, but this is a real problem that takes down many entrepreneurs and causes them to fail. Neglecting your health and working yourself until you drop isn’t good for your business, even though that may be the kind of culture that is being promoted in the social media narrative. It’s not worth the damage you’re doing to your life, and it doesn’t produce good results for most people anyway.

2) Don’t Overthink Strategy:

It seems as if many of us spend way too much time thinking about what we should be doing instead of actually doing it. People assume that entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos or Warren Buffett mostly think about their long-term vision because that is what you hear about in the media a lot of the time. What you don’t hear as much about is what they do every day to move towards those long term goals. They didn’t build huge businesses spending most of their time strategizing and dreaming about the future. Most of the time you spend working should be producing some kind of tangible results for your business. You can spend some time thinking about where you want to be in 5 or 10 years, but that should be a small part of your schedule. If you don’t produce results now, you will never get to your long term goals.

3) Avoid Distracting Communication:

Some entrepreneurs will spend a lot of time micromanaging and refereeing personality conflicts in the workplace or engaging in their own workplace drama with partners, colleagues, and investors. This usually leads to a destructive cycle that harms the business. If there are people on your team causing you too much stress or drama, you need to remove them from your team as soon as possible. Or if you can’t remove them, you need to think about removing yourself and moving on to something else with your life. Like a bad relationship, if you can’t fix it, you have to move on. Hanging around for the drama or trying to “win” a bad relationship is not productive, and it’s the same thing in your business. Nobody wins in these drama filled scenarios.

4) Lack of Prioritization:

Many entrepreneurs will find that they lack the ability to prioritize their time. They spend way too much time on things that may be interesting or happen to catch their attention even thought those things aren’t important for the business. You should not be spending much time on low value items that can be done later, delegated to someone else, or often completely ignored with minimal consequences. This seems obvious, but many entrepreneurs fall into this trap, obsessing over things like the corporate logo, mission statement, team happy hours, office space, employee complaints, or many other things that don’t usually produce tangible results for the business. One of the worst examples is working very hard on acquiring and keeping small, unprofitable customers. Another example is spending a lot of time trying to build a corporate culture long before the business has achieved any success or traction. Success and traction builds your corporate culture, not the other way around. Focus on producing good results and many of these other things will not matter or can be handled later when you have more resources.

5) Time-Management:

You should have an awareness of time, value, and desired results when planning meetings, events, or activities. Your time management is crucial to productivity and successful decision making. As you better manage your time, you will be more aware of your own productivity and results you are generating. The more aware you are of your own time management and results, this will also help you better manage your colleagues and help them to make the most out of their days. This will also allow you to have more time for yourself to relax, exercise, and lead a more balanced life. There are many good productivity tools for helping you accomplish this, but any simple calendar, timer, and alarm apps will do the job. The software won’t fix your time management problem or make you more productive. This is about taking responsibility for budgeting your time, staying aware of how you are spending time, and then holding yourself accountable to your schedule unless there is a compelling reason to alter it.

Avoiding these five common productivity mistakes won’t make you a billionaire. But avoiding them will give you a much better chance of success than the 70% of entrepreneurs whose businesses fail.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Christopher GreyChristopher Grey is the co-founder and COO of CapLinked, an enterprise software company offering an information control and risk mitigation platform for the sharing of confidential or sensitive documents and communications outside of the enterprise. Previously, he was a senior executive and managing partner in private equity and corporate finance for 15 years and directly involved in the deployment and management of billions of dollars of debt and equity investments in various industries. Christopher founded two companies, Crestridge Investments, a private equity firm that made debt and equity investments in micro cap and middle market companies, and Third Wave Partners, which made debt and equity investments in distressed situations, and was managing director of a subsidiary of Emigrant Bank, the largest privately owned bank in the country. Most recently, he is a co-founder of TransitNet, a platform for security token issuers offering title verification, chain of ownership tracking, and other post issuance tools for improving the security and reliability of security token ownership.

Reduce The Stress Of Running A Business

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Running a Business| Reduce The Stress Of Running A BusinessAnyone who has ever even attempted to run a business in the past will tell you just how stressful it can really be. The act of looking after such an enterprise can really often be enough to cause a great amount of worry and anxiety, and even if you are not anxious, the day to day grind of it can still have some kind of negative effect on you. If you are keen to try and reduce the amount of stress that you experience as a result of running your business, then there are many things that you might like to try. In this article, we are going to try and make this a little easier by focusing on a few things in particular which are likely to help. Follow these, and you should find that you are able to reduce the stress of running a business greatly.

Lighten Your Load

It might well be that you find yourself simply doing too much. Many entrepreneurs fall into this trap, and it can be a subtle one that you don’t even notice to begin with. But if you want to make sure that you can keep your own mind in check while still looking after the business, you will need to find a decent way to lighten your own load while having it taken care of by someone else. That could mean that you simply need to delegate more, in which case it’s time to start identifying the people you really trust beneath you. Or you might want to think about getting into outsourcing some of the things that you would rather not have to worry about yourself. Knowing that someone who knows what they are doing is taking care of your business IT support can be a huge relief, and it is certainly something you will want to think about if you are feeling a little overwhelmed.

Keep The Goal Simple

Perhaps you have found yourself widening the goals to the point where you are trying to do a number of things at once. This is again very natural, but not entirely helpful ultimately if you hope to make things easier on yourself. The truth is that you will find it much less stressful if you simply focus on one goal at a time and keep it simple. That will mean that you don’t feel that you are trying to do too many things at once, and actually it will make running your business much more of a joy too, and also ensure that the business is actually more likely to be a real success. By keeping the goal simple, you can really make sure of these things

Enjoy It

Finally, remember that there is nothing wrong with enjoying running your business. In fact, it would be highly recommended, and you will find that simply making the assertion that you are going to start enjoying it more can be enough to really make a difference. The more you actively enjoy your business, the less stressful it will be on the whole.

5 Ways You Can Spend Your Work Breaks

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Productivity|5 Ways You Can Spend Your Work BreaksIn this day and age, there is a major focus on productivity in the workplace. Employers want to be sure that they’re getting their monies worth from each employee and maximizing their potential as a business. However, for the sake of balance, employers are also realizing that employees aren’t robots and need healthy breaks during and after work hours. It is also left to employees to know how to utilize such breaks so that they don’t feel overwhelmed and overworked. Here are five ways that you can spend your work breaks.

Go for a Walk

It’s always good to stop and get some fresh air after hours of focused work. A good way to go about doing this would be to take a walk. Whether it’s a five-minute or twenty-minute walk, it could do your mind a lot of good. Some benefits of going for a walk are that it can help lift your mood and get your creative juices flowing. These are two things that you need to get your best work done. Also, pulling away from the computer can help your eyes and concentration.

Play Games

During your work break, another thing you could get up to is playing a few games. This is actually great for your brain as game playing can likewise improve concentration and enhance your social skills.

In addition to this, it’s an ideal way to distract yourself from work which you need if you want to come back with a fresh mind. You could play the lottery online if you want a short and fun game. Online games also have their benefits as they can be entertaining and social seeing as you can play with other people.

Meditate

If you can find a quiet space during your break, use it for meditation. This is the perfect opportunity to clear your head and relieve any work-related stress you’re feeling. If you’ve never meditated before, it’s easy to learn. Also, you can start with as little as 2-5 minutes and then gradually work your way up. In terms of how to meditate, start by committing to a daily practice.

This should outline what time you’re going to do it every day and for how long. Once you’re ready to start, sit comfortably, keep your back straight and rest your hands in your lap or on your knees. You should then defocus your eyes, breathe deeply, and ensure your body remains relaxed. By the time you’re ready to go back to work, you should be refreshed enough.

Read

If you’ve got a book or novel you haven’t had a chance to read, why not go through a couple of pages during your break time? It’s a way of redirecting your attention and also unwinding.

You will need a quiet place to read in order to avoid distractions unless you have noise canceling headphones. It has been stressed that you should try and read every day. Doing so enables you to tick that off of your personal development list.

Exercise

Some places of work happen to have a gym on their premises. Others offer discounted gym membership for places nearby. Consider going for a quick session during your break to get rid of any negativity and tension that may be triggered by work. It’s also a way of boosting your wellbeing and ensuring your mind and body are in a healthy space.

Creating An Office Space For Happy, Productive Employees

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Office Environment|Creating An Office Space For Happy, Productive EmployeesHaving happy, productive employees is one of the greatest assets your business can have. When your employees feel valued and comfortable in what they do, they can help some amazing results for your company.

Creating a happy and productive workforce involves many actions, with one of them being a workspace that’s fit for purpose. Look at ways you can transform your workplace and help create a positive working environment for your employees.

Be open

Many modern workplaces are embracing open plan office space. There are several advantages of open plan offices that can make them worth having, especially in creative and tech-based companies. Having an open plan office can break down barriers and help teams work closer together, which will help to develop a more positive workplace.

Focus on creativity and collaboration

Putting an emphasis on creative thinking and collaboration can help your teams work better together in order to achieve company goals. A workspace that has breakout areas and space for thinking can be a real asset to employees and helps them take a breather from their desks to recharge. There are several collaboration options for businesses to pursue that should be explored to see if you could enhance your teams’ ways of working.

Keep it clean and green

Having a clean and neat office space can make people feel more positive, while also making it easier to work. Hiring janitorial services will help to keep your office looking great, while also making sure issues and barriers to work are taken care of. Encouraging staff to clean up after themselves is also important, and there should be clear desk policies in place to help maintain an organized workplace.

Adopting green practices is another way you can bring more happiness to your workplace. By encouraging employees to recycle, consume less energy and think twice about their waste, you can help create a greener workplace that brings something positive to your community.

Remember to think about life outside the office

As well as making improvements to the inside of your office, you also need to give some thought to the outside. Helping your employees achieve a better work/life balance will help them to be more productive during the hours they are in the office and will help them feel happier in their jobs too. From flexible working to better home working facilities, you can show employees that you care about their wellbeing and make your company a great place to work.

The right office space will help transform things for your employees, helping to make your company one that people enjoy working in, and make others aspire to work for. You’ll not only benefit from a more upbeat workplace but will experience better retention rates too. Simple changes can help make a significant difference to the attitudes and effectiveness of your staff. Why not put a plan in place as to how you can transform your workplace and help develop happy, productive employees who achieve great things for your business?

The Quest For Career Fulfillment

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article |Career fulfillment | The Quest For Career FulfillmentWhen embarking on a career, there are a number of goals that most of us want to achieve. The most obvious goal is the desire to earn enough to live on comfortably; enough for a stable home environment and, if possible, a few treats along the way. Secondary goals tend to include a pleasant working experience – getting on with colleagues, feeling valued, and so on and so forth – as well as a work-life balance that allows us to work to live, rather than live to work.

However, there is one goal that tends to be, at best, overlooked – which is somewhat surprising, given its importance to our overall well-being. The goal in question? Career fulfilment.

What is career fulfilment?

The concept of career fulfilment is, as one would expect, a desire to feel fulfilled – in some way – by the work we do. On a basic level, fulfillment is simply a way to achieve a sense of satisfaction from your career; a satisfaction that comes not from the wage you earn and the lifestyle you are subsequently able to afford, but from the work itself.

Career fulfillment is most commonly associated with careers that serve a greater good or improve the lives of others; careers like that of Cynthia Telles, which take a passion and turn it into a vocation. However, any career can offer a sense of fulfilment; some careers are more likely to offer fulfilment but any type of career can under the right circumstances be fulfilling in its own way.

How common is career fulfilment?

Unfortunately, not particularly. A huge number of people work for their entire lives without achieving true fulfilment – and for some individuals, that works just fine. Particularly in financial and city-related jobs, many individuals choose to work extremely hard in a role they don’t really care about, with the goal of retiring early. For these people, fulfilment is not a necessary aim; the end – early retirement – justifies the means, and they are willing to tolerate even an unpleasant decade or so, as long as they meet their eventual FIRE goal.

However, for those not focused on FIRE but instead just trying to make a living, fulfilment becomes more important – but it remains incredibly rare. A surprisingly large number of people dislike their job, and only 33% of workers are fully engaged with their role; which, given that engagement is more likely to lead to fulfilment, is concerning.

Why is fulfilment so uncommon?

The reason many people work without career fulfilment varies wildly. Some people just need to earn a living; what they do, or how fulfilled they feel, is fairly unimportant. For others, the work itself does not – and cannot – offer significant fulfilment. What’s more, some people don’t even see fulfillment as particularly important; even those who are not aiming for FIRE may be more than content to simply work comfortably, earning what they need to live on, and look for nothing more.

As a result, career fulfillment is best thought of as a concept that is important for some people. For others, it would be nice to have, but far from crucial – we all have different priorities in life, after all. However, this does beg the question…

What happens if fulfillment is important to you, but your career is not fulfilling?

The above circumstance is the worst case scenario: you may be someone for whom fulfillment is incredibly important, but you do not find that your existing role – or even your entire career – offers this fulfillment. The consequences of working in such a scenario can be extremely challenging, leading to dissatisfaction, unhappiness, stress, and even an exacerbation of underlying health conditions.

How can you tell if you are lacking in career fulfillment?

Common signs of poor career fulfilment include:

  • Disinterest in the work itself; you do not feel excited or enthused by the work you have to do
  • Frequent absenteeism; you will more readily take sick days and will usually try to use all of your available vacation days
  • Malaise or even depression during the working week, which tends to lift in the evenings or on weekends – i.e. times when you are not working

What can you do if you are not achieving career fulfilment, but want to?

First and foremost, it’s worth considering other methods of achieving a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction outside of the workplace, as some people find that this can help them to better manage their overall career concerns. After all, if your hobbies or out-of-work activities offer a sense of fulfilment, then achieving this from your career may become less important. You could, for example, consider volunteering or fundraising for a cause close to your heart in your spare time, and switch to trying to see the work you do as a means to an end.

However, if you find the above is not sufficient – or you simply want to achieve fulfilment in your career rather than your personal time – then switching careers is likely to be the best choice.

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article |Career fulfillment | The Quest For Career FulfillmentWhich careers should you consider switching to?

As we touched on above, while careers that can be considered meaningful are arguably more likely to offer career fulfilment, any career may be suitable. It’s just important to try and focus on a career where you feel that you would be happy with the work itself; where you feel that your contribution would be valuable (not necessarily in terms of money) in some way. To that end, it might be worth considering volunteering initially, so you can try out a few different ideas and see which affords you the most fulfilling experience.

In conclusion

Career fulfilment is not an essential – many people can spend their entire working lives without career fulfilment, but remain happy and content with this fact. However, if career fulfilment is important to you personally, then making a change that allows you to achieve the fulfilment you require could well be the right choice for your future happiness and well-being.