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Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Things Entrepreneurs Should Stop Doing

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Things Entrepreneurs Should Stop Doing

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

We talk a lot about daily habits and productivity. But what’s one thing entrepreneurs should STOP doing every day?

1. Talking About Themselves

Kim Kaupe

    Entrepreneurs tend to get so wrapped up in the pitching, convincing and selling of their day-to-day life that sometimes it becomes all they ever talk about. Being well-rounded and conversational will help you have rapport with others around you. While talking about yourself and your business is important, doing so constantly comes off as being self-centered and oblivious to the world around you.

    Kim Kaupe, ‘ZinePak

    2. Focusing on a To-Do List

    Tyler Arnold (1)

      The best leaders I know focus on building the right culture and energy in the office. Sitting in a corner and pounding out to-do items may feel productive, but don’t forget about doing the things that aren’t fully quantifiable. Helping teammates who may be having a bad morning or struggling with a project could be the single most valuable thing you do all day!

      Tyler Arnold, SimplySocial Inc.

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      3. Eating Pizza

      Andrew Angus

        When you head into the startup phase of your company, everything you used to do that was healthy is going to stop. You are going to put on weight. You are going to end up with too much stress and a back that is in constant pain. Don’t eat pizza. It will make it easier to get back in shape when you’re out of that phase.

        Andrew Angus, Switch Video

        4. Using Social Media Distractions

        Anthony Saladino

          Shut down all your personal social media distractions during the work day. Facebook, Instagram, Vine and Twitter will all be there after you complete your daily tasks. Many entrepreneurs don’t realize just how much time they waste reading and engaging on these mediums and also just how much it decreases their daily productivity. To succeed, use your time wisely.

          Anthony Saladino, Kitchen Cabinet Kings

          5. Multitasking

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          Andrew Schrage

            Multitasking has its place in the business realm, but there are also times when it should be avoided. If you multitask two separate and very important projects, you can end up with two sets of dismal results. Know when to multitask and when to focus on a single task.

            Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

            6. Waiting for the Right Moment

            michael mogill

              Stop waiting for the right time, and just get things done. Define the one thing you can do today that will help grow your business and not just keep you busy.

              Michael Mogill, Crisp Video Group

               

              7. Attending Management Meetings

              David Ehrenberg

                Admittedly, management meetings are sometimes necessary and useful beasts. But a culture of meetings is ultimately just a time suck. Everyone has had that experience of waiting for a meeting to end so that real work can resume. To increase productivity, reduce management meetings and time in meetings in general. When you must meet, have a clear agenda and stick to it.

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                David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services

                8. Letting Interruptions Happen

                Maren Hogan

                  Interruptions are just a part of life, but I take steps to prevent them. It is so hard to refocus after multiple interruptions. I don’t even want to calculate how much time I lose to redirecting my attention several times a day. If it gets to be too much, I go into do-not-disturb mode. I close the door, only take scheduled calls and tell my staff that they can email me and I’ll get to them later.

                  Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media

                  9. Going out for Lunch

                  Rameet Chawla

                    The lunch hour is one of the most active times of the day and a great time to get work done. After work is when most socializing should be done. Instead of worrying about getting back to the office or getting work done before you dip out, meeting at the end of the day takes off the edge. You can drink without a conscience, leave the office behind and invite others to join to optimize your time.

                    Rameet Chawla, Fueled

                    10. Working on the Fly

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                    Fabian Kaempfer

                      One habit to break away from is working on the fly rather than with an agenda. With a startup, things will happen, and you can be pulled in different directions. Don’t make it a habit to make that the way you operate. Make it a point to be proactive rather than reactive.

                      Fabian Kaempfer, Chocomize

                      11. Pleasing Others First

                      Elizabeth Saunders

                        If you are allowing your time and energy to be diverted from your priority tasks simply to make professional acquaintances (e.g., individuals not in your inner circle) happy, then you’re not investing your time well. Focus on the people and activities that really matter, and you’ll be better off in the long run.

                        Elizabeth Saunders, Real Life E®

                        12. Emailing Coworkers

                        Saul Garlick

                          The biggest breakthrough at ThinkImpact has been the realization that we don’t need to email each other. We can use different tools to communicate. Our new favorite is called Slack . It allows you to communicate in one of three ways: via office-wide messages with a related subject, a direct message with a colleague privately or a private group of colleagues.

                          Saul Garlick, ThinkImpact

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                          How to Fight Information Overload

                          How to Fight Information Overload

                          Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

                          This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

                          As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

                          What you need to do is focus on these 4 steps:

                          1. Set your goals.
                          2. Decide whether you really need the information.
                          3. Consume only the minimal effective dose.
                          4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming too much information.

                          But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

                          The Nature of the Problem

                          The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem. This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

                          When we see some half-baked blog post we don’t even consider reading it, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it. We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

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                          No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on. The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

                          That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

                          Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control. Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it. But first…

                          Why information overload is bad

                          It stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here. When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

                          Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

                          The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

                          You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work, or enjoy your passion.

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                          So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with your goals.

                          1. Set your goals

                          If you don’t have your goals put in place you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

                          Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

                          Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

                          Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

                          2. What to do when facing new information

                          Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

                          First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans then skip it. You don’t need it.

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                          If it does then it’s time for another question. Will you be able to put this information into action immediately? Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks? Or is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away? If the information is not actionable in a day or two (!) then skip it. (You’ll forget about it anyway.)

                          And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

                          You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant. Self-control comes handy too … it’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future then SKIP IT.

                          3. Minimal Effective Dose

                          There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour Body,Tim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs. Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

                          Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life. Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

                          4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming more information

                          Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

                          This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

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                          Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

                          In Closing

                          As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance. I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over. I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

                          Feel free to shoot me a comment below and share your own story of fighting information overload. What are you doing to keep it from sabotaging your life?

                          (Photo credit: Businessman with a Lot of Discarded Paper via Shutterstock)

                          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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