Several years ago, I moved to Silicon Valley to pursue a healthcare-related postgraduate degree. The first six months or so of school was the most rigorous academic experience I’ve ever had. Forty plus hours in the classroom per week plus study time crammed into short quarters was much more than I could handle.
After things started lightening up a bit, I began expanding my horizons in the local area. I started meeting people who were young like me, but working at some of the local famous tech companies. It seemed like everyone was incredibly busy at work but were always making time to meet with other people to talk about startup companies.
I soon started attending some of these meetings because my background was related to the tech industry. It wasn’t long after that when I decided I too wanted to try a startup.
I didn’t know where to begin so I started making a list of the most important things a startup needed. I started asking questions around venture-capital, fundraising, software development, and all the other things which can go into a new company. All of these things were great, but without a rock solid idea I didn’t think I’d have a chance of succeeding.
I partnered with a local entrepreneur who had experience building and selling companies. He also had experience in the healthcare space so we decided to do a healthcare startup. On top of all my personal responsibilities at school I spent long hours trying to manage my time and develop our idea into a fundable business.
It’s been a few years since we set everything in motion but now after countless hours of hard work we’re finally seeing the company take off.
It’s definitely been an interesting journey through the wilderness to get to where we are. We’ve had to set milestones and goals and work diligently to achieve them. Business plans don’t write themselves. Strategic partners aren’t formed on their own. Software coding doesn’t happen out of thin air. These must all be accomplished by making a target and aiming for it. If I had to sum it up in two things, I’d say I only succeeded in starting up my business because I learned to manage time and follow through my goals.
Manage Your Time
Carefully planning and exercising control over the amount of time spent on specific activities increases your productivity. At times everyone feels overwhelmed like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get what you need done, done. Managing time between what you want to do and what you are forced to do is difficult. Here are some steps you can follow to better manage your time.
1. Get rid of the waste – We are pretty good at wasting time. Take a few days and track what you’re doing. Write down all of the activities you do and how long they take. Write down everything. Then go back and look at how much time you’re wasting. How long did you watch TV? What about small things like your shower? What about sitting in traffic? Trying to eliminate all the time wasting things we do can free up space to do the important things.
2. Limit your time – Be honest about estimating the amount of time a particular task would take. Once you do that, set limits on the amount of time you spend working on something. Even things like eating can be drawn out and waste time. Set a limit on your dinner schedule and finish on time.
3. Avoid multitasking – It’s a scientific fact that the brain cannot adequately do more than one complex task at a time. If you’re working on an important paper or report, turn off your phone. Your brain can’t function well if you’re constantly texting throughout another activity like writing a business plan.
4. Prioritize – Do the most important things first. It’s pretty easy to prioritize the most important things. If you have an important meeting coming up which requires finishing the spreadsheet, that spreadsheet should go at the top of your list. Plan out each day, each week, each month, or more the most important priorities get done first.
Follow Through Your Goals
In order to achieve your goals, remember those important things you want to do to be successful, you have to follow through with them. Your brain may trick you into thinking there are better things to do – but beware! But if you get into this habit, chances of you falling short of achieving your goals is great.
1. Reminders – Sometimes you simply forget to do the thing which you wanted to do. Life gets busy and maybe you forgot to write it down and so it’s gone, poof. In the age of technology, we should be able to set reminders to help us accomplish our tasks. If you don’t want to set a reminder system on your computer or phone then get a simple white board to write down your goals so you can follow through. If that’s too much to help you remember, just write them down on a piece of paper and stick it on the bathroom mirror.
2. Consistency – If you work on things every day, the chances of you following through and achieving your goal is great. Leaving items to sit on the back burner can force us into a situation where the importance of the task is forgotten.
3. Reset button – As the time draws closer to the deadline for your goal, you may find it is completely unachievable. What will you do then? You can’t give up on your goals and dreams simply because they’re hard. You may need to reset the milestone or re-adjust to reality. Take the goal and rework it to reality and try to hit the mark.
4. Accountability – Working as a lone wolf can sometimes be a curse. It’s important to have someone hold you accountable on following through with your goals. When I started my company, I knew I needed a partner to hold my feet to the fire regarding the things that I said I would do!
Goal setting provides a sense of purpose and allows us to move forward and succeed in our endeavors. If you are consistent at managing time and following through on what you said you’ll do, your chances of success are greatly increased. These tips actually work. They work for me as well as countless others who have achieved their dreams. You may need to tailor these tips for your life, but always be in this constant state of self-assessment and avoid getting complacent with what you do.
How do you manage your time and follow through your new goals? Share your tips with us in the comments!
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