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5 productivity mistakes for entrepreneurs to avoid

The following article is courtesy of Christopher Grey.

Most entrepreneurs are led to believe that successful business models prosper quickly and easily. However, in Starup Business Rate by Industry Business, a study by Statistic Brain, data reveals the failure rate of all U.S. companies after five years was over 50 percent, and over 70 percent after 10 years.

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 wellbeing

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 percent of entrepreneurs report being stressed, compared to 42 percent of “other workers.” Entrepreneurs also report being more likely to have “worried a lot” — 34 percent vs. 30 percent. Physical and mental health are 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 five 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 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 though 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, the better you 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 percent of entrepreneurs whose businesses fail.