Updated: Feb 23, 2022
Whether you are still bootstrapping your startup or doing it full time now, you are probably juggling between many priorities and tasks. The day is not enough anymore to get everything off your to-do list. Most of your days, you may end up dissatisfied or frustrated about your progress. You are not the only one. But you might be thinking about it wrong, like many other entrepreneurs.
Your startup journey depends on a few crucial decisions and factors that will make it either fly high or eventually crash on the ground. So instead of getting more efficient to do more stuff, focus on prioritizing the most impactful activities and spend all your energy on them.
Prioritizing what you need to work on is subjective in many cases. But you can make it a little bit easier if you keep asking the 5-WHYs to reach essential tasks to make the most impact. So here you go, quick guidelines:
Ask yourself, what is the most important milestone that I should pass in the next three months?
Ask yourself five times why does this milestone matter. If you still see it essential to keep progressing, move to the next step. If not, go back to step #1 and rethink that milestone.
Quantify your milestone, i.e., talk to 100 VCs with two interested in funding my startup.
Your next goal is to build a system or change your environment to help you work on this milestone every day. Do not depend on reminders or, even worse, your internal motivation. Your motivation is likely to fade away very quickly, given the noisy world we live in. Instead, you want your environment to encourage you to do this activity every day constantly. So here you go a few guidelines:
Identify ques that will remind you of the activity you should do every day, i.e., calendar to mark or a block note that you use specifically for this activity.
Find a place that you go to every day.
Place your cue in a place where you can spot it easily.
Pick that cue and use it each time you start working on that task.
The above steps will keep reminding you
at the right time and at the right place to perform the task that takes you closer to your goal every day. It is crucial to prioritize this task early when you have the most energy. You can still have the right cue and environment. But if you start doing that task late in the day, you are more likely to ignore it and eventually remove the cue.
I'm a big fan of James Clear's book, Atomic Habits to build a system or an environment to make your core tasks daily habits. I also recommend reading THE ONE THING by Gary Keller to learn the art of prioritizing the most impactful goals.