Articles and Advice

From I Should to I Must – The Discipline Required for a Startup

Discipline (noun): activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training.

No one ever won a marathon without first developing a serious commitment to training. Through early morning starts, driving rain, or aching legs, discipline is what gets the runner out there and ultimately, over the finish line.

During the honeymoon period of a startup, a project is often buoyed along by fresh-faced enthusiasm. Driven by positivity, new clients and the boost those first few orders bring. Things can feel easy.

But the honeymoon period does not an empire make.

At some point, your bright shiny new thing will lose some of its shine. It’ s time for hard work. This is the marathon part. And without discipline, it’ s going to feel like a hard slog.

When Motivation is Not Enough

There’ s a quote that says, Discipline is reliable, motivation is fleeting. Ever noticed how some people are preposterously productive? For those highly productive and efficient amongst us, it’ s all about discipline rather than motivation and a solid foundation of daily habits of excellence. If you’ re relying on motivation to get you over the line, it might be time to take a step back to see if your habits and daily practices are up to the task.

Here are 4 of the best daily disciplines that are also the habits of success.

Spend Time on Planning

Time Planning and organising your time is a fine art and something that, well… takes time. At the start of each new week or the end of each day, schedule in time for planning. By putting all your commitments together in one place, it’ s easy to prioritise tasks to ensure your time is spent productively. As an entrepreneur, it’ s important to schedule time for big-picture thinking as well as time to keep projects moving along, and time for smaller admin tasks.

Make a Routine of Being Smart and Professional

Get into a routine. Set the hours for your working day and stick to it. Have a clear boundary between your work space and your home space. Just because you’ re not in the office, doesn’ t mean you shouldn’ t dress for the office. Make sure you look the part if an unexpected meeting or Skype call pops up. And just because you can, doesn’ t mean you should eat cereal for lunch.

Break Down the Blocks

We’ ve all had a case of the roadblocks. That pile of receipts, unwritten correspondence, or other seemingly mundane admin tasks. It’ s easy to leave them to one side, but it won’ t take long before they’ ve become a large beast lurking on your desk and any attempt to make a start ends in procrastination. Schedule time each day to clear the smaller tasks to avoid them becoming painful tasks.

Self-Control on Time-Wasting

The so-called “Time Queen”, Robyn Pearce, talks about being ‘ too available’ . Notifications from emails, text messages and social media are our greatest distraction. Rescue your time by turning off notifications and blocking certain websites while you’re working. Allow yourself a set time each hour to check emails and other communication. There’ s nothing wrong with embracing the flexibility that working for yourself allows, just make sure you manage it well. If you want to go for a run, check Facebook or have a coffee break, schedule it in. Sometimes a 10-minute break in the sunshine is exactly what’ s needed for inspiration.

Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”. Pushing yourself to stay disciplined takes a lot more work, but the rewards will be far greater.

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