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If you can learn how to optimize the way you spend your time, you can get more done. Having the ability to get more done through high-performance focused productivity strategies is essential to building a business sustainably.
As entrepreneurs, it’s not more time that we lack; it’s most likely how we’re using the time we do have. There is always time to work on the things that are important to you.
Some of the most successful business leaders — Elon Musk, Oprah and Tory Burch to name a few — treat their time as one of their most valuable resources. Successful entrepreneurs structure their days to optimize the opportunities to create and experience success and more output.
Here are three ways successful business leaders structure their time differently to build their business and the lessons you can apply to your productivity planning and growth-focused goal setting.
Related: 10 Must-Read Inspiring Biographies of Business Leaders
1. Set up rewards for staying focused during work blocks.
You’ve heard the expression about all work and no play — the reality is that you need time off and plenty of personal enjoyment time built into your schedule. If your entire life revolves around you only working on your business — it won’t be long before you start to hate the business.
One way successful entrepreneurs structure their time differently is to break it up with reward-based planning. They plan work blocks of time and add relaxing windows in the middle and end that involve doing non-business things. That way, they get rewarded for working hard.
The rewards you set up can be things you enjoy, but the point is to train your brain. When your brain sees that you get rewarded for staying focused during work blocks, it will want more. This type of planning creates long-term success in your productivity.
Your rewards can be time spent reading a book, listening to music, watching a funny YouTube video, maybe even watching your favorite show — you decide. Plan out the work blocks, plan out smaller reward blocks, and create a schedule that mixes in work and play.
2. Mix in plenty of self-prioritization into your weekly planning.
If all you do is think about doing things for other people — clients, family, friends, etc. — you’ll lose yourself in the process. There’s a big difference between being selfish and being self-centered.
Successful business leaders create growth by making themselves a priority. They understand that the key to sustainable energy and more business production comes from feeling abundant. It’s hard to give to others when you feel mentally and emotionally drained.
When you look at your schedule, how much time do you have planned to work on tasks that are just for you? If the answer is not that much, you should consider making a change.
Yes, you have clients and many responsibilities in your business, but your primary responsibility is to take care of yourself. Successful entrepreneurs make themselves, goals, and passions a priority — they consider that when planning their time.
Take care of what you need to do in your business while also taking care of yourself. Don’t settle for the scraps left over after you take care of everyone else — you deserve more than that.
Related: 9 Ways to Profit From Your Passion
3. Set purpose-driven legacy-building goals.
You may have read about smart goals and setting “impossible” goals, but successful leaders also focus on legacy goals. You are building a business for a reason, which is probably more significant than simply making money.
You want to create freedom and financial security. You want to create a business that outgrows you — setting legacy goals is one strategy to accomplish more. When you wake up each day and tackle purpose-driven goals, it creates more buy-in and a greater why.
There is opportunity all around us, but those opportunities can be a distraction if you’re not clear about your purpose, goals and the legacy you’re trying to build through your business. Successful leaders are always focused on legacy goals — look at all the projects and companies Elon Musk is building.
Your time is the key to unlocking the next level of growth you seek. There is more than enough content, but time management, productivity and growth strategy are still areas entrepreneurs struggle to master. It starts with building a different mindset and committing to personal optimization.
Understanding that you are important and making yourself more of a priority will unlock the energy, motivation and long-term sustainability you seek.