Why You’ll Never Cross Everything Off Your To-Do List
The Entrepreneur Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question “How do you run a startup with a full-time job?” is written by Evelyn Frison, cofounder of Pivotte.
Pivotte launched in February 2015 with a successful Kickstarter campaign, and I’ve been running the business since despite having a full-time job. I credit this to having an incredible partner, a strict daily routine, and a sense of purpose and excitement.
I’m fortunate that my business partner is able to dedicate herself to the business full time while I work at my day job in addition to running Pivotte, but we’ve had to adopt different lifestyles in order to make it work.
I have an extremely strict routine that I must stay disciplined about. For example, I work out at the same time every day, eat the same thing for lunch (so I don’t have to think about it), and plan after-work/weekend activities down to the minute. I account for two after-work Pivotte meetings a week, two nights for actual startup work, and work on the weekends. To stay on track, I use my calendars religiously, employing a “blocking” system to assign dedicated time periods to different tasks. I also use apps such as Asana and Trello, and take lots of notes to keep myself organized.
My business partner, on the other hand, has no routine. She needs to have a very flexible schedule so she can take on last-minute meetings, visit the factories when needed, and hammer out other problems that randomly crop up. She’s available to manage the tasks that can’t be planned, or that are scheduled during normal business hours.
I never get to everything on my to-do list, but that’s the nature of startup life—you never will. This is something I’ve had to keep in mind in order to maintain sanity. You may cross one task off only to add three more. To manage this, I have to be realistic about what can be accomplished in a day/week, remember that it’s better to solidly complete one thing than to do a bunch of things halfway through, and commit to working on Pivotte each day–even if I spend less time on it than I would like. I check myself by asking if I gave the day my best. If I did, great. I understand there is a limit to what can be done. If I didn’t, I examine why and optimize my strategies for staying focused.
This schedule sounds rigorous—and it is.
But truthfully, I wake up excited every day because I get to work with great people on things that interest me. Running a business in addition to holding a full-time job means I don’t get much leisure time, but I’m driven to make Pivotte a success because I believe in our mission: to enable ambitious women to cut through the routine of dressing with no loss of style or comfort so they can focus on meeting their important daily goals. My dedication to this mission motivates me to keep going and improving myself, as well as the work I produce in all areas of my life.
Evelyn Frison is an integrated marketer and the cofounder of Pivotte—stylish, multifunctional clothing for women on the go. Launching her career in media strategy, she’s created digital experiences for some of the world’s most recognizable brands.
Read all responses to the Entrepreneur Insider question: How do you run a startup with a full-time job?
The Best Way to Run a Startup With a Full-Time Job by Belma McCaffrey, cofounder and CEO of BOULD.
Here’s How You Manage a Startup With a Full-Time Job by Dani Fankhauser, cofounder of ReadThisNext.
What Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From Elon Musk by Neil Powell, cofounder of Mugnacious.