[image via: ckaiserca on flickr]
I recently read Chris Guillebeau’s latest book, The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future. It’s a great read, filled with case study after case study of people who have started businesses on low budgets (I believe the average startup cost was under $500, many were less than $100).
It’s as high-level, idea-generating inspiring as it is practical and applicable. Chris includes resources throughout the book that include things like The One-Page Business Plan, Become Your Own Publisher, and The 39-Step Product Launch Checklist (!!!). If you’ve read this book, you’ll certainly see some of the tips he’s outlined and shared in this book in my next product launches, and ideas from this book are already influencing the next round of work I’m creating.
I’ve got pages of notes from this book, but one of the ideas and advice that’s stuck with me and that I have implemented, is this (and I’m paraphrasing):
Spend the first 45 minutes of your day, every day, on something that moves your business forward.
That can be as broad or as specific as you want it to be but for me, this is what that means. It means I’m spending the first 45 minutes of my day (while I sip my coffee, before I dive into any client work or emails), doing one of the following things.
How I Spend My First 45
- writing a blog post
- editing a blog post
- create new content for my writing prompts
- create new content for other blog-related resources that I’m creating (if you want to weigh in on this and let me know what you’d like to learn from me, click here for a super short survey where you can do just that)
- research business structures, how to incorporate an LLC in Nevada, and founders’ agreement contracts
- developing newsletter content for Eff Yeah Media (click here to sign up)
How I’m NOT Spending My First 45
- checking email
- checking Facebook
- checking Twitter
- any source of news-related input, including my Google Reader
Right now, my business includes not only what I’m developing for Eff Yeah Media, but EYM’s relationships with Brandating and Whiskey Cloud, accounting, website development, blogs and content development, and resource development for personal bloggers.
These 45 minutes are mine. They’re protected minutes where I’m not working for someone else, not replying to any emails, and not being distracted by The Internet At Large. In just the week or so since I’ve started putting these 45 minutes ahead of everything else I’m doing, I have written more (and better) than usual, have outlined and started work on new ideas that will produce new guides and resources for my favorite clients (bloggers), and I’ve made measurable progress in a forward direction.
I’m ‘in the office’ by 9AM PT, at the latest. This means my first 45 have to start and finish by 9AM, which means I’m at it by 8:15 at the latest. Usually, my first 45 starts around 7am, because I love the earliest part of the day. Maybe your “first 45″ is actually your last 45, or it’s your lunch break. But for me, starting my day focused on my goals and the direction I want to move my business is the best place to put that time.
It’s just 45 minutes, but it’s making a HUGE impact in the work I’m doing and it’s something I’ve only and already implemented for the past week.
How do you protect and spend YOUR time, before other responsibilities take over your day? How would you spend an extra 45 minutes carved out just for you and what you move forward?