Entrepreneurs are creatives. They’re pushed by external forces and pulled between ambitions that compete for mental space. Their dreams are rarely linear and often interrelated. Putting timelines to dreams is one of the hardest tasks an aspiring entrepreneur can face. They need systems for capturing, making sense of, and dealing with vastly disparate interests, from this month’s accounting to regulatory concerns to a new product direction. In a sense, entrepreneurs are the idealized type of the knowledge worker, but amplified to the furthest degree. Knowledge workers often have structures or supervisors to reign in their creativity, but entrepreneurs typically have neither. Their structures must be self-constructed if they exist at all.
Entrepreneurs walk along a cliff with a precipice waiting. Their challenge: how creative can I be without falling to the risk of not executing? For wannabe-preneurs to succeed, they need to build in an executive function that’ll allow them to turn dreams into timelines and timelines into reality.
Productivity is the answer to this challenge. My two favorite thinkers about productivity are David Allen and Leo Babauta.
Getting Things Done
David Allen wrote the outstanding book, “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity,” back in 2001. I was thrilled to find out that he’s written an update to the book, and that an Audible.com version was just released about a week ago. Allen lays out a simple, easy-to-implement system for getting more done with less stress. If you want to become a productivity ninja, this is your white belt training. I highly recommend this book, and David Allen’s approach.
Leo Babauta writes the Zen Habits blog, along with a collection of books. They’re about working and living well. His book, “focus : a simplicity manifesto in the age of distraction,” is available both for free and for purchase. I started reading the free version and liked it so much that I paid for the full version. It’s a wonderful daily read for entrepreneurs and other people who have a lot of competing inputs.
Have you read either of these books? How do you balance your creativity, your responsibilities, and your business ideas? Leave a comment or let me know on Twitter at @LearnEShip!