As I sit in the garden, enjoying a warm summer breeze, on a quiet countryside Saturday afternoon, I wonder how I should spend this time: should I rest, exercise, binge YouTube, chat with my family, hang with friends, or continue reading my book? There are probably a million other options that I didn’t even think of. We all have these moments of indecision… faced with choices for how to spend our time. Should we work? Should we rest?
The consequences of these choices can be critical for a founder. While we may feel guilty for not working, we also risk burn out. Yet, the consequences need not be so dire. Instead, by reflecting more strategically, we can avoid such scenarios.
Instead of succumbing to decision fatigue, I ask myself a powerful question that sharpens my focus, propels me towards my long-term goals, and helps me make the most of my time. In this situation, I ask myself “Where can I make an impact right now?” This simple question is a powerful tool that can help us prioritize our time and focus on the activities that will move us closer to our goals.
It forces me to think strategically:
With this question, we are forced to recall and consider our long-term goals... instead of the aimless drifting that is a chronic problem for many wanna-be founders. It further pushes me to act (or at least brainstorm) the 2-3 activities that would actually make an impact. So in essence, this question instantly connects my long term ambitions with my short term actions. We already know our actions today will contribute to our future, but this question reframes this insight into something actionable so we think strategically about our time and prioritize the activities that will have the greatest impact on our business.
It helps me avoid distractions:
This question really sharpens the focus… and prevents me from chasing LIFO (Last In, First Out), as in the last request I received is the first one that I respond to. That means I respond to the most recent email, the latest message, and never get around to doing the work that actually makes an impact.
With so many demands on our time, it's easy to get sidetracked by low-priority tasks or distractions. When we ask ourselves where we can make an impact right now, we are reminded to stay focused on the activities that will have the greatest impact on our business. This question helps us avoid getting caught up in busy work or responding to the latest email or message.
It helps me quickly assess our current state:
When we ask ourselves where we can make an impact right now, we are prompted to take stock of our current situation. This question helps us assess our personal, financial, and business state quickly, and identify the activities that would make the biggest impact. By doing so, we can ensure that we are using our time and energy in the most productive way possible.
Overall, the question "Where can you make an impact right now?" is a great question because it forces us to think strategically, avoid distractions, and assess our current state quickly. By using this question to guide our actions, we can stay focused on our long-term goals, prioritize our time effectively, and move our business forward with purpose and clarity.