Most people, entrepreneurs included, have a typical day that might look something like this:
Wake up, check your email, react to whatever is happening in your inbox and on social media, have lunch, have some meetings, get some work done and end your workday. When you run your day like this, you’re being completely reactive all day long. The result is that by the end of most days, nothing meaningful gets accomplished.
Reactive is not the goal—proactive is.
Being proactive means you’re getting more done for you and your business, rather than for others. It means moving the needle forward every day with meaningful progress. Reactive is on par with Sisyphus pushing his boulder uphill all day long just to watch it roll down the hill at sunset. By the time you chug your afternoon coffee, you’ll be so exhausted with decision fatigue that you won’t even be able to decide on what to eat for dinner—by the way, that’s why Obama had only two types of suits. It was one less decision to make in his day.
This perpetual habit of being stuck in react mode all day is the biggest reason why your major projects struggle to get done. Your side-hustle doesn’t move forward fast enough. You never built that app. You never wrote that book. The trick to switching from reactive work mode to proactive beast mode is to switch your morning emails out for a big ticket, deep piece of work.
It can be writing, coding, cold outreach—basically anything that, when completed, will be a dramatic boost for you.
To start, figure out one thing that’s a major priority for you. Something huge like:
Then you need to break it down into bite-sized chunks. Using the app example, here are a few:
- Draw out what your app looks like.
- Create your launch plan.
- Find a qualified freelancer to build it out.
- Release it to the App Store.
These are your action items. Each day, schedule to do work on these items. Before you know it, things are getting done. Real, meaningful progress. Not just tons and tons of ideas, not pages and pages of notes, but you can actually have an app launched.
How would that feel? Think about it. All this time with the idea. All this time with the idea and the potential to get it done, but no progress was made.
It wasn’t that you were procrastinating. You were just stuck reacting to the world all day. By the time you had the time to work on your app, you were too mentally exhausted to make real progress. By the time you were done with your normal work, you were mentally fried.
Now that you’re making time for deep work, you’ll get your app—or whatever your big goal is—done in no time.
Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.