January 5, 2015
It didn’t take long for my partner AJ Agrawal and me to understand the importance of a well-planned workweek. Early on in our journey we participated in the Velocity accelerator program, a 100-day start-up boot camp. Right away at the start of the program we faced several hurdles to our productivity. During the first week at Velocity we had to make an extreme change to our business model. We couldn’t afford to lose another day because we were starting from scratch, as opposed to other teams who had been in business for years. What we learned early on was that it was imperative to plan out how we were going to take advantage of the upcoming workweek every Sunday. By staying disciplined and executing our plans, we were able to gain immense traction and progress throughout our time at Velocity.
Here’s how to make your own Sunday night or early Monday morning game plan:
1) List your priorities
It’s easy for young entrepreneurs to get caught up in the blur of creating a new product. They have a passion for creating something new, something that is their own, but they forget to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. By stepping outside the box, you are able to get a sense of what needs to be done now. If you do not set priorities for yourself or your work, you may find yourself working extremely hard but not seeing progress. By setting priorities you will increase efficiency.
For example, after our first week at Velocity, my partner and I knew that we had to figure out our customers’ pain points. We allocated our first two days for cold calling in search of customer feedback, then spent the next three days traveling to different universities throughout the mid-west. By speaking to our customers face-to-face and really analyzing their facial expressions, we were able to gain information that couldn’t have been collected over the phone.
2) Create weekly milestones and goals
Now that you have your priorities straight, it’s important to create goals and milestones for those priorities. This will keep you accountable throughout the week and focused on your task.
Sometimes I choose to focus on a single goal for a given week. Other times I dare to take on a few tasks. Because I know exactly what needs to be done and how I am going to go about it, I eliminate a lot of the stress that entrepreneurs get by setting unrealistic expectations for themselves. By stating a tangible goal such as “We plan on reaching out to a hundred potential customers today,” my partner and I were able to bring out the competitive side of each other. Since we had those goals in mind, we both made over fifty cold calls in a day.
3) Record Statistics
Having goals is a great foundation to achieving anything, but it’s also important to keep record. Keep track of how the goals were accomplished and how many were completed. Sometimes we did not achieve all of our goals, however this helped us look at what we needed to improve on and to make adjustments. This also applies to everyday activities – from the amount of hours you sleep, to the time you spend outside the business. Practicing this tactic with discipline allowed me to constantly improve my day-to-day productivity. Keep track of your activities, and you will become much more efficient for the days to come.
4) Use your records to improve
There is no use recording your time allocation or goals if don’t use them! Spend a portion of your Sunday brainstorming how you can improve productivity and efficiency for both your business and yourself. Based on your records, you will be able to determine which goals need more attention so that you may achieve them in the coming week. Keep in mind that some goals will need more time allocated towards them in order to finish.
By following this method every week I’ve consistently improved on my time allocation and goals. This has drastically contributed to our company’s rapid increase in clientele in a short period of time.
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