Recently, I have started to go back to doing something that always inspired me. After I lost my first business in 1996, I buried myself inside of Barnes & Noble and devoured every book I could get my hands on that involved inspirational stories of success in order to motivate me and get me out of my depressed state of mind. It worked.
These days, fortunately or unfortunately, I don’t have the time to read at my leisure. While I am not depressed anymore, I like to keep up on books, especially ones that relate to business strategy. I was talking to Gary a few months ago in our normal daily morning meeting and he mentioned another quote from another book he read. I had been meaning to ask him, “How in the world do you have the time to read books?”… Being his business partner, I know any moment away from our business he spends with his wife and kids. It simply didn’t make sense… Enter AUDIBLE. As it turns out, Gary listens to audiobooks every time he is going from point A to point B (and not on the phone with me!). I said to myself, I can do that too… so that is exactly what I have been doing.
My New Best Friend
These past few months since we had the conversation, I signed up for Audible and have gone through 5 books thus far, some of which I read a number of years ago and some I am tackling for the first time. They are all strategy books; Contagious, Made To Stick, Tipping Point, David & Goliath and Good To Great. These days, whenever I am traveling from point A to point B and am not on the phone, I am always listening to an audiobook. To me, audio books are insanely productive to people who don’t have the time to read. They are also extremely helpful for people who read extremely slowly; like me.
Culture of Discipline
I am currently listening (revisiting) Good To Great by Jim Collins. While there are many things that I absolutely love about the book, one of my biggest takeaways is what he calls a culture of discipline. That culture of discipline is broken into 3 components; disciplined people, disciplined thoughts and disciplined actions.
I frequently talk in the N2ITIV Blog about issues I have had with my own discipline and productivity (and/or lack thereof). The simple truth of the matter is that there are some things in business that I am pretty good at and some things I have to admit I truly suck at .
This past week kind of got by me quickly so I guess you can say my agenda kind of kicked my ass. While I did take care of a number of things, I could have done way better to say the least. The biggest problem I have is with distractions…at least so I thought
About a month ago, Gary shot a video module that touched on this called, 8 Reasons Why You Need To Hire a Brand Specialist . In this module he mentioned some statistics that made a lot of sense as it relates to distractions.
These statistics really explain everything to me. Distractions will kill your productivity if you let it. It’s no wonder why Jim Collins found that a culture of discipline is a major component that makes companies go from good to great. You will see, however, that, to an entrepreneur, distraction becomes a necessity.
Discipline meets Distraction
At the end of every day, I try go the gym as I need it for the sake of my sanity, as I normally feel like I have fought a losing battle as there is always a ton of things I had scheduled and haven’t done. I take my disheveled mind and body to the gym and pound the heavy bag until all of the chaos is out of my mind and body and I actually feel relaxed.
What I am realizing is that, on average, one day a week I am actually OK and not out of sorts the way I am the rest of the week. This is typically the day that I will not allow interruptions. It’s what I call my catch up day. I stick to my agenda undisturbed and at the end of the day I actually feel great….
The problem, however, is that I am pretty much responsible for the operations side of the business. Currently, I have two businesses. One is solely owned by Gary and I. The other is owned by Gary, myself and two other partners. I am responsible for making sure everyone is up to speed on everything at all times, so it is difficult not to get distracted because each person has different wants and needs… so that one day a week that I use to catch up, normally is at the expense of other things that didn’t get done because I wasn’t corresponding with my team.
Is There Really An Answer?
So what’s the answer? After all, I’ve been at this long enough that I should know. One thing I can do is not let any distractions throw me off course and just focus on my work… but I just told you how that is a problem. The other thing I can do is take the distractions and accomplish far less and feel out of sorts.
I believe the answer is that there is no answer. It’s called being an entrepreneur. To an entrepreneur, distractions must happen. They are required, I have no choice.
So there you have it. There is no answer. It is give and take. What I try to do is find the best balance I can. The more on the front lines you are in your business, the more you will be distracted, that is the simple fact. Once you understand and come to terms with the fact that this is the bed we made, it becomes far easier to agree to sleep in it.
This is my path. I chose it. I never have enough money to do everything I want to do and I never have enough time to do it either. Personally, it keeps me hungry and on my toes. I have no complaints… and if I did, who would listen to me anyway?