Guest post by Allon Khakshouri, founder of Business-Dad.com
For us dads who run our own businesses, time is a scarce commodity.
Suddenly, our life has changed. We have a little baby crawling around our home. Our wife seems more irritated and stressed out than usual. We feel exhausted and overwhelmed. And we have new responsibilities to our already busy schedule.
Of course, we feel extremely excited. But we also quickly discover that we barely have a free moment to think about our big business aspirations. This is why so many dads worry that eventually they may have to choose between pursuing their business ambitions OR having a fulfilling family life.
But something frustrates us even more.
We wonder how come some of the most successful people seem to have more time than everyone else. They take more vacations than everyone else, enjoy the kind of hobbies we can only dream about, hang out with cooler people and also spend more quality time with their loved ones.
In short: They earn more money than us, while working less hours– doesn’t that seem unfair?
Well, today I will share with you a little secret:
Having managed some of the best tennis players in the world, I witnessed first-hand that success is not about working longer, but rather about working smarter.
Sounds abstract? Let me show you how you can instantly work smarter regardless of which business you run.
PRODUCTIVITY: THE MOTHER OF ALL VIRTUES
Let’s start with a bit of honesty:
We all have the same amount of time, yet some people are so much more productive than others. That by itself should be an indicator that we are able to achieve so much more than we think.
In fact, time is such a limited but valuable resource that becoming more productive is probably the most important skill you can learn if you are striving for a better life.
Think about it for a second:
Once you have more time for yourself, you are able to spend more quality time with your kids, take your wife on regular dates, pump up your muscles in the gym and meet up with your friends that you have been neglecting for so long. What beats all that– especially if you can achieve it without sacrificing your business career?
NOW IS YOUR TIME
You might be thinking:
“This isn’t the time to create new habits. My life is already upside down. Let me wait till my kid is a bit older.”
But let me challenge you.
Aren’t changes the perfect time to make some new adjustments to our lives? We have new roles and responsibilities, isn’t this also the time to upgrade the way we do things?
For example, you be thinking to yourself as a new dad:
- I want be successful so I can provide for my family and offer them an amazing life.
- I want to be an amazing dad so that my kids grow up to become confident and happy individuals.
- I want to be a loving husband who supports my wife whenever I can, knowing how important her role is for the wellbeing of all my family..
- I want to nevertheless spend some time doing things I enjoy.
Let me repeat– to achieve these kind of goals, you need to become super productive.
By the way, for me, the most compelling reason WHY I want to become a master of productivity is because I want to be a role model for my kids and show them that it is possible to combine success with a vibrant family life.
3 STEPS TO INSTANT PRODUCTIVITY
So now that you know how crucial it is to become more productive, let me share with you a simple 3 step strategy that will help you work much smarter so that you can experience bigger results in less time.
Step 1: Wake up early
Most people are more productive in the morning. And getting things done early allows you to enjoy the rest of the day with less pressure. We all know this, but struggle to wake up earlier.
However, now that you have a little one who sleeps early and wakes up early, use this opportunity to share his routines. Ideally, you want to get 7-8 hours of sleep, and be awake by latest 6am. If possible, create a short morning routine to start your day feeling energized and alive (to learn more about how to create a morning routine, read The 6-Minute Routine That Can Change Your Life. For example, I start my morning by:
- Drinking lots of water.
- Reading something inspirational
- Moving my body.
- Having a nutritious breakfast.
Acton Step: Wake up every morning by no later than 6am. Make sure you get 7-8 hours’ sleep by also adjusting your bedtime.
Step 2: Start your day with a Power Block
I create one morning Power Block in which I spend 90 minutes working on a specific “growth task” that will help me move my business forward. These are tasks that require creative effort and include things like planning a project, creating a new product, brainstorming strategies and systems, or learning a skill to become the best at what I do.
Normally, I schedule my first Power block at 7:30am and my task a day in advance. This allows us to spend 90 full minutes at that single task.
But here is the key:
During each Power Block, make sure you are able to work free from any distractions. For example, I switch off my mobile phone and inbox to make sure that I stay undisturbed. If you want to take this a step further, learn from the famous writer Ernest Hemingway, who created a space that consisted of a table, a writing board, a typewriter and nothing else, to ensure he would be productive..
The beauty of this step is that you will have worked towards your big business goals, even before your real working day begins. I call this ‘’mastering your own agenda’’. Power blocks have become so valuable to me that I now have added at least 2-3 additional Power Blocks into my day, allowing me to get more done in shorter time than ever before.
Action step: Commit to a morning Power Block by setting a specific time each morning to work on specific growth tasks. Designate a good place from where you can work free from any distractions. Make sure you switch off your mobile phone and inbox.
Step 3: Prioritize recovery time
Many people work so hard, they eventually burn out. As dads, we can’t afford to be burnt out, so I suggest you work smarter. Thanks to your Power Blocks, you have completed some of your most important tasks, before the speed of your working day kicks in. Now you must make sure that your schedule does not wear you out, so that you can always show up feeling energized and alive.
To achieve this, we must work like sprinters who push themselves to their limits for a limited amount of time, and then take time to recover. I suggest, you do this in the following four ways:
- Take regular Breaks: Every 90 minutes or so, give yourself a few minutes time to relax. Go for a short walk, do a breathing exercise, have a nutritious snack or call your partner to switch off from work for a few minutes.
- Create boundaries: Set an end time for your working day. For example, this could be 6pm. From that moment, stop yourself from checking emails, taking calls and worrying about work, and commit yourself to quality family time.
- Take off weekends. Give yourself at least one weekend day that is completely free from work. Do fun things that you enjoy, like meeting friends, going to the gym, and playing with your little one.
- Periodic vacations: Go on a short 3-4 day vacation with your family every three months. This does not need to be far, but it does need to include memorable and fun activities with your family.
Action Step: Commit to making regular breaks, and plan them as if you would schedule a meeting. Make sure you use these moments to totally switch off from your work and get yourself into feeling calm and relaxed.
By waking up earlier, introducing Power Blocks, and taking regular breaks, you will instantly become more productive than ever before. As a result, you will enjoy the kind of success that will make you feel hungrier for more. This is how you generate a self-fulfilling prophecy that makes you unstoppable while still enjoying a vivid personal life.
So let’s start with this process immediately:
- Share with me below your biggest business goal for the coming months.
- What growth tasks you could schedule into your Power Blocks for the coming weeks that will help you achieve that goal?
For more tips on how to combine professional success with being a super engaged and loving dad, visit www.business-dad.com
Allon Khakshouri is the founder of Business-Dad.com, a site dedicated to ambitious men who want to combine being successful at work with being loving and involved dads.
He is a high performance expert who managed world class athletes, including the current world number one tennis player, Novak Djokovic. Allon is also a sports entrepreneur, bestselling author, and most importantly, a dad.
Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner
The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”
And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.
Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.
If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.