25 January, 2010

D for Discipline

I miss my boarding school days. Yes I do. As much as I hated the food, or the agonizing teases by the others for silly reasons, I still do miss the school experience.

Life at boarding school teaches you Discipline to its core. I am not saying that you do not learn it elsewhere, but it is an integral part of the Boarding School Experience. And at this point of time in my life when I am working a few things in some random order, I hate to admit that I lack that discipline. A discipline of finishing up things on time, doing things with full concentration and without diverting from the set tasks.

In my opinion a proper discipline is required in order to successfully set up a business. The business can be anything small or big, technical or non technical. Everything requires a discipline.

For a freelancer, or a person starting your own company (entrepreneur) a proper discipline is important. It is so easy to keep pushing things for the later just because you are not answerable to anyone in terms of time. It is so easy to pick on some bad habits just because there is no one watching you.

Often in the hustle bustle of activities around a startup, one fails to realize the lack of discipline. We fail to realize that things are not happening at the proper times, because all that we are thinking is that I am utilizing my time some way or the other. So things like chatting over the net takes precedence over going and taking some fresh air. Late night chats, Facebook and emailing takes precedence over early morning walks. One starts to work 24 X 7.

Now if Discipline was an easy thing, everyone would have done it easily. But trust me, it is not. It's all the more difficult when you are on your own. There are many components to this Discipline thing. I am just throwing out some of them here...

Time Management
First and foremost is Time Management. Time and again we hear from people that entrepreneurs are people who manage their times constructively. They are busy all the time doing something or the other. So managing the time in a manner that it leads to higher productivity is important. Also identify what are the activities that would result in, so that the productivity increases. Do decisions like should you choose a online game or reading up some subject matter? Watching TV or sending sales and marketing presentations. The choices are there always.

Then there is question of Procrastination which I think every entrepreneur should put an end to. I say 'end to' and not just improve on it. Now this is something that we as normal humans always do. But we have to strive towards that Say No to Procrastination situation. Write it in front of your table- Say No to Procrastination.

Be Answerable to Someone
The good thing is that you have no one to report to. But the bad thing is also that you do not have someone to report to. In my opinion one should have someone to be answerable too. It need not be the boss (as you are the boss of your own company), but someone else who is aware of the activities and the situation. So why not have that being answerable person be your spouse, the business partner, parents, guide or whatever. Also remember that in the end it is about being answerable to yourself.

Mind dump exercises

Do a mind dump exercise from time to time. Write down everything that is going on in the mind. Yes I mean EVERYTHING. And I re-stress.. WRITE it. Only when u do do a mind dump u realize how many things the ming is thinking about. Prioritize the tasks based on their importance and empty out the mind. Remember only when one empties whats inside, can there be room for fresher and newer exercises.

Timely Meals
Trust me. This is something that we tend to forget often. Breakfast at Night Dinner at 11. lunch at 3pm. Set a routine clock and stick to it. Morning 7 am rise means 7 am. Breakfast between 9-10 means it is done with during that time.

A time for yourself
In the end, do have sometime for yourself. Go out for a walk, relax staying away from the system. Interact with people offline, face to face.

I am no expert in the whole entrepreneurship arena, but am just sharing some experiences that I have been having in my startups.


Rhapsody said...

Thanks for sharing :)

Jas B said...

Having grown up in an armed forces environment, I am a stickler for discipline...although I have deteriorated overtime, especially where timely meals are concerned! :D