Structured Autonomy

Once you've embraced the competition, now apply structure

· Entrepreneurship


Doesn't this title contradict itself?

Perhaps just a little. But it depends who applies the structure; is it you or someone else?

The power of having routines and schedules gives an entrepreneur structure. Having parameters around how you will live your life not only protects your time, it also lets you know when time is up.

From my conversations consulting with clients over the years, one of the biggest realizations I've come to understand is most entrepreneurs procrastinate. I'd be lying if I didn't tell you this is how I built the first half of my career on the "procrastination method of success." The reason why it is called the 'last minute' is because we've found it, or an entrepreneur negotiated it.

Deadlines are the number one way to apply structure to your runaway to-do list. After working for the time-management company Franklin Covey for a number of years in my early and then again in my mid twenties, I realized many well-respected autonomous individuals tried to avoid setting deadlines for their tasks. The idea of having a 'prioritized daily task list' almost scared them. It was when we uncovered that they had complete control over the level of their day to day stress, by avoiding the infamous Quadrant 1 "urgent important" area, and finishing their work before it seeped into this phase.


For many of us, the reason we wanted to become autonomous entrepreneurs in the first place was to avoid having to meet deadlines like we did when we were in school.  But how do you know when to say your work is ready to meet its critics?  Well, the simple answer is when the task is due.  


The more complex answer, as I've learned, requires high levels of self-reflection on why one has embraced stress over success.  I'll also let you in on a little lie I used to tell myself, and believed... it is NOT related to quality.


I plan on elaborating more on this idea another day, but for now, give every task a deadline that isn't immediately.  

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