Being an entrepreneur often means being on a metaphorical island all by yourself. Not very many people understand how your time is pulled in a myriad of directions, employing skills (or sometimes lack thereof) that you didn’t know you had, and becoming a jack of all trades while only a master of one. It’s not unusual to see the tasks that you really need to get done get set aside in favor of whatever you feel needs to be done right this second. Naturally, as soon as you put that fire out, the next one pops up. The result is that you continue to delay the things that drive your business while you take care of minor things to keep your business running.
The problem, as I see it, is not a delegation problem or a time management problem. Too often, the things that are distracting you from accomplishing your priority tasks are things that require it be you and need to be done in a timely manner. In my opinion, this is an accountability issue. Generally speaking, unless you have a true partner, a business coach, or a mentor relationship in place, you are probably also responsible for holding yourself accountable for your actions. I think that is a problem when it comes to 99% of the people out there. It’s hard to come home after a 20 hour day and say you didn’t work hard or get things accomplished, even when you didn’t accomplish the things your business really needed for you to accomplish.
So, how do you, in a world of real distractions, set everything aside and focus only on the tasks that truly need to be accomplished?
You have to, as far as I can see it, find a way to be held accountable. The problem with that is most entrepreneurs also don’t really care for being held accountable and so they seek out someone who will act like they are holding them accountable, but really is just having a five-minute conversation with them. What the entrepreneur struggling with accountability issues needs is someone who will, legitimately and with a blow torch, hold their feet to the fire.
So, who is that person? It depends. I think there are more examples of who that person isn’t than who that person is. That person isn’t, usually, your spouse. It should never, in my opinion, be an employee. It usually isn’t your best friend, brother, sister, parent, or anyone else that either a) doesn’t understand what you’re really doing, and b) isn’t tough enough to hold you truly accountable. Frankly, I think that the best person for this job is a coach. Because they are independent, they can do or say whatever it takes to get you to do the things you need to do. Moreover, because you pay for them, you are more likely to get your money’s worth. It’s kind of like the difference between getting a gym membership and hiring a trainer.
The bottom line is this: if you’re struggling with achieving the things in your business that you need to do to be successful, I believe an accountability partner is the key to getting back on track. Try it for a few months and see if it works for you.