I never believed in creating my daily plan, or simply put a to-do list of the day. Its hard to remain disciplined on planning your day. Doesn’t matter how many people/managers or articles or blog post suggested to be a better planner of your day, following it on daily basis is difficult.
Unless you are not working in a system like an army where the organization itself make sure you become disciplined, who cares. But recently after a suggestion from one of the top COO of a company who is our client, I started planning my day by putting down 6 or fewer to-dos that I have to achieve on a day. These are the most important work items I have to finish on that day. And these todos are arranged in the order of priority. That’s it, only 6 or less.
And once these 6 most important things/to-dos of the day at work are finished, post that I allow myself to get distracted by all other things in the world. And the trick is not to jump to 2nd or 3rd to-dos until 1st is not completed. And believe me, at the end of the day I feel much more productive & satisfied at work on that day. Once I reach the office, I first thing do is put down these 6 or less most important todos to achieve that day.
Just try to follow this habit for 1 week, every day and see the difference. The most successful leaders/CEO’s I have interacted with till date plan their day. They are way more disciplined on that on daily basis.
It remains one of the most discussed topic internally at our startup Qilo. Sense of urgency should always be there on all fronts , be it:-
a) In product delivery
b) In recruitment
c) In acquiring customers and generating revenue
d) In getting funded
e) In decision making.
Lets see what happens if you don’t executing fast enough :-
1) Most of the startup ideas are not truly innovative in nature. Most of the time you are NOT bringing something totally NEW to market. You might be giving one to ten percent twist to an existing idea OR you are bringing something which is way cheaper then existing product OR you are just copying a product/idea which is successful in developed economies. This means that your idea which you think is unique, might be getting executed or about to go in execution phase by so many other aspiring entrepreneurs out there. One of the parameters which decides who will win depends on who comes to market first. And that can only be achieve if you execute fast. If you DON’T execute fast, it means you will launch late and might miss the opportunity or what is called as right timing.
2) Most of the startup ideas has very low entry barriers. Are you thinking that completing the development of your tech platform will make you next rich guy? Even a high school students can now days code and develop one. If you don’t execute fast enough, you soon will see your competition increases and you will end up in pricing war OR will fail to capture enough customers to create a sustainable business.
3) Launching product late or going to customer late or generating revenue late means you are delaying the epiphany of product/market fit. To understand what Product/Market fit is, check this post.
4) Delayed execution means that you are not learning fast enough. Not learning fast enough means you will not be able to success-ed faster OR fail fast.
At a same time I want to provide clarity on sense of urgency in execution. This should not get confused with you end up working 18 hours a day or making your team work like crazy. If you will do that, you end up getting sick or create a team culture where no one will be willing to work for long term. With sense of urgency in execution, I mean :-
- Not sitting on decisions or waiting for the time to take perfect decision
- Not delegating the work which you should not be doing
- Waiting for the communication from others to complete the job in hand
- Not focused enough for the job in hand
- And not waiting for the perfect product to start selling.
Faster execution is what makes a startup different from big organization. Faster execution is required consistently for a long duration of time.Faster executing is what has made Steve Jobs and Apple different from other companies. Executing faster is what made Elon Mask challenge big organization like NASA and Boeing in Space/Rocket launching industry. If you read and listen to co-founders of failed startups or successful one, they will tell you how important sense of urgency is in execution.
Fire co-founders or employees who don’t understand this and trust me you will move closer to success in your startup.