Business plans? Crucial. Marketing research? SO helpful. Financial projections? Yes!
But in order to accomplish the things you plan, or to put that research to use, or to meet those sales projections, you must be able to execute. Sounds obvious, but execution can be one of the hardest parts of artrepreneurship.
Businessmen Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan co-wrote an entire book about execution. Let me paraphrase some of the most helpful tidbits of information below, so that you can spend your time executing instead of reading! Much of what they discuss revolves around two common execution struggles:
#1 – You don’t have the necessary time, resources, or partners to execute what you’ve planned.
#2 – You don’t have the habits or system in place to help you execute timely and well.
So how do you overcome these struggles?
#1 Robust conversation: You must be willing to have conversations with your partners (or friends, or yourself) that revolve around digging deeper into what the situation is and how it should be approached. Honesty is key here–you must be able to face reality. In order to set goals that are achievable, you must truly understand what your capabilities and resources are.
#2 Set clear goals and prioritize: Be explicit in what you want to accomplish. Create deadlines for yourself. Think about what actions will result in a successful project and prioritize those actions. Try thinking both long-term and short-term here. And by short-term, I mean even one day. What will you execute today?
Some other things to think about:
Writing down your tasks for today, or even for the entirety of phase one of your plans, can be so helpful in helping you get past slumps and lazy days. Don’t get me wrong, rest is important. But on those days when you’re feeling lazy but really want or need to get something done, to-do lists can make it easier to choose where to start. Plus, it feels great to cross something off your to-do list, which can give you motivation to tackle the next item!
When’s the most productive time for you?
You should also think about when and where you work best. Although at its core, execution is really all about doing things even when you don’t feel like it, it’s also important to know when you do feel like it. These are the times to take advantage of. Remember, these aren’t necessarily the times when you are used to working, but rather when you are truly most productive. For example: I’m used to working in the evenings, but I really get more done in the late morning. In accordance with #2 above, execution is really all about knowing yourself.
Align your planned tasks with your strengths and interests
Often, we have to do things we don’t want to do, and this can cause us to procrastinate. There’s no real way around this aside from will-power. However, you can plan your tasks around what you know you like and dislike. For example: I plan to do things I like on the weekends. Otherwise, I’ll procrastinate, cram my least-favorite tasks in on Sunday night, and dread it the whole time. If I plan to do things I like on the weekends, I’m way more likely to wake up in the morning and be excited to get to work on a Saturday or Sunday.
My husband and business partner always says: Eat the frog for breakfast. For him, doing his least-favorite things in the morning gets them out of the way and sets him up for a productive afternoon of executing tasks he really likes doing. Again, it’s all about knowing yourself.
– To truly execute a larger vision, sometimes we have to do things we don’t love doing. Do them anyway.
– You must know yourself in order to set goals that are achievable. That means we can’t shy away from the reality of things.
– Direction is more important than speed. Having a plan makes your time working worthwhile, because you’re working on things that are truly going to help your plan come to life. It might take you a while to reach your goal, but all that matters is that you reach it.
Challenge: Make a plan for today or tomorrow. List one or more things that you’ll accomplish, and make a note about why those things are going to help you reach your larger goal of becoming an artrepreneur. Then, execute!
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