Amid the passion of being an entrepreneur, don’t forget about the “mundane” stuff that keeps your business viable. The following tips on time management, accounting and administration will make sure you have the foundation to support your “burning” ambition.

During an intense but enjoyable and satisfying business trip, I was getting ready to go to bed in order to wake up in time to make my 6:40am flight. I was rolling my one remaining priority for the week around in my head. I was thinking to myself, “two down, one to go.” And I realized I have been using a construct of “three priorities a week max” for a long time.

Now, I do a lot more than three things a week. But, on Monday mornings as I’m going through my daily information routine, I usually carve out a few minutes to make sure I have my priorities for the week firmly lodged in my brain. I limit myself to three as I don’t think you can have more than three “highest priorities” at any given time. When I start the week, I make a clear mental commitment to get these priorities (or P1′s in Zynga speak) done. Each day when I wake up, I think about what I need to do to get closure on these priorities.


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Amid the passion of being an entrepreneur, don’t forget about the “mundane” stuff that keeps your business viable. The following tips on time management, accounting and administration will make sure you have the foundation to support your “burning” ambition.

During an intense but enjoyable and satisfying business trip, I was getting ready to go to bed in order to wake up in time to make my 6:40am flight. I was rolling my one remaining priority for the week around in my head. I was thinking to myself, “two down, one to go.” And I realized I have been using a construct of “three priorities a week max” for a long time.

Now, I do a lot more than three things a week. But, on Monday mornings as I’m going through my daily information routine, I usually carve out a few minutes to make sure I have my priorities for the week firmly lodged in my brain. I limit myself to three as I don’t think you can have more than three “highest priorities” at any given time. When I start the week, I make a clear mental commitment to get these priorities (or P1′s in Zynga speak) done. Each day when I wake up, I think about what I need to do to get closure on these priorities.

Some weeks I have three, others I have one or two. I always have at least one. And they are always important. Occasionally I can’t get one done and it rolls over into the next week, but once something becomes a P1 it stays a P1 until it gets done. And I can never have more than three P1′s. And they should all be able to be completed by the end of the week. But most importantly, they are clearly defined and easily explained (e.g. if you walk up to me and ask me what my P1s are for this week, I should be able to recite them without thinking.)

While I have plenty of things that I’m working on that have a much longer arch than one week, I find this weekly rhythm to be very grounding. I have a clear sense of accomplishment on a weekly basis, I clear the decks of big priorities, and I regularly tackle hard stuff that just needs to get done.

I also have many more than three things that I complete each week, including things that regularly come up that are as important (or even more important) that whatever I’ve defined as my P1s for that week. But I don’t shuffle the priorities around; by having the big ones for the week set at the beginning of the week, I have a clear set to focus on whenever I need to re-ground myself.

I kept saying to myself: “One more to go. I’ve got two days to get it done. And I’ve got plenty of time on my remaining two plane flights to knock it off.”

Comment by davidifishman
I have been doing a form of this for the last few years. I also ask anyone who works with or for me to do this as well. It certainly helps bring the most important goals for individuals and companies to the top. One aspect I would add though is that I try and break them into things you can control (like complete product spec) versus things you can't control on your own (like get deal signed with company name). This not only helps productivity but morale, since people feel like they are accomplishing goals every week.
February 2011
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