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Struggling with self-management? Try the Strategy 30.


2 min read

Being a business owner means more than owning the company. You're also a business leader - whether you have a 50-person team, or you're a solopreneur. Right now, by design or by accident, you're setting the direction and tone of everything your company does. It takes a crisis for most business owners to start actively leading - getting out in front of this requires you to ask the question: Am I leading by design or by accident?

The answer - learning to lead by design - comes through self-management.

How Do You Know If You're Leading By Accident?

Accidental leaders move with a constant sense of urgency, which looks effective and motivated from the outside. However, this frenetic pace is always fueled by the hamster-wheel of overwhelm.

  • You have big ideas, but feel like the 'status quo treadmill' keeps you from acting on them.
  • You think that good systems are 'the answer.'
  • You view yourself as 'part of the team' instead of the 'leader of the team.'

These can look like practical realities for an owner, but without meaningful leadership they're actually energy spent moving towards more of the same. And each has a place if you lead first - starting with the Strategy 30.

Creating this space for yourself at the beginning of each day sets the foundation for everything that follows."

The Strategy 30

Spend the first 30-60 minutes of your day doing zero work 'in your business'. We call this your 'strategy hour', and it's the minimum amount of time most leaders need to 'level up' before moving on with their day. Creating this space for yourself at the beginning of each day sets the foundation for everything that follows.

Here's what you don't do:

  • Email
  • Production/delivery of your product or service
  • Meetings
  • Interruptions

Here's what you do do:

  • Choose one action step that only you can get done to move your highest priority business development project forward - this could be anything from 'create an outline for our 2014 marketing plan' to 'review last quarter financials to prepare for budget meeting.' Don't start working on it yet.
  • Build and prioritize today's task list, with the item from the above action step at position #1. Scour your list for projects or tasks that aren't 'only you' work - find what you can delegate or defer, and take those off your list.
  • Start: with this free headspace, move into your day. Allot generous time for your most important project, and move quickly when you're focused on 'lower value' work such as email.

When you read back on these three practices, what if, in addition to you, each of your employees were doing their own Strategy 30 each day? You'd have a very different company, and potentially a much more relaxed and productive one.

P.S. You can watch the full premium video on self-management here.

Jed Bickford

Written by Jed Bickford

Jed is our Director of Product Development and an EMyth Certified Coach. He's a former business owner and he makes project management look easy, and somehow fun.