If there is a common theme among startups, it is this: There doesn’t seem to be enough time to get everything done. Sometimes there is way too much to do and the clock does not have enough numbers on its face to accommodate. Sometimes we do not have the tools or experience to do things more efficiently. Often the more time we allot to an activity, the more likely we will use every bit of it. The startups world is a stern taskmaster. Obstacles. Challenges we could never guess would smack us in the face. A billion tiny activities. We must often do it alone. So, we spend a lot of time putting fires, and once one is extinguished, another flares us. I know founders who would like to attend classes, workshops, meetings to help them get things done better or more quickly, but they do not have the small amount of time NOW to save them immense time FROM NOW ON. I know founders who would love to, say, attend our roundtable, to meet new people, colleagues, leads. But they are too busy trying to make find new contacts. I cannot tell you the number of people who have struggled and faltered at pitching, but when given a chance to spend a day to learn how to pitch better, they claim they do not have the time because they are pitching or cannot afford to learn the techniques to get funded until they get funded. I seem to recall what they call doing the same over and over and getting the same unfortunate results. I do not know much about the physics of a hand-water pump, but what I do know is that sometimes you have to use what limited water you have in to prime the pump so it will work and coerce out the larger supply of water you need. Yes, it seems risky to expend what is in short supply, but you just need the faith to know that the return will be multi-fold. Perhaps we need to step back and look at a moment of additional inconvenience, to give us the tools and contacts to be a bit more productive longer term. Maybe we need to stop trying to attack a task when we are so inundated and stressed and just take a breath and talk to others who been there themselves. Investing a moment to learn from those who may have struggled and now have a simpler answer. Often these folks have a tip that will increase productivity and decrease angst. Maybe we ought to step away for a moment. Not just time to learn to do something better, but just to reset. Taking time to paint, read, play the ukulele, take a nap. Even just attend an event like our Roundtable and get energized by the support of others. Most of us have found that the hour or so is not lost and we are at least an “hour more productive and effective” when we return. The only other option is to adopt a new system I have thinking about called the “Metric Week” that has ten days. It just seems that we could get so more done. Since I have not worked out the details and not sure how well it works, I would just suggest that you invest a little time, money, and attention in the longer view— to prevent brush fires in the first place.
“I JUST DON’T HAVE THE TIME”
Founder and Host, Chuck’s Global Entrepreneurial Roundtable