There’s a big difference between being busy and being effective.
For most of my early entrepreneurial journey I often found myself spending hours at my computer only to look at the clock mid-afternoon to realize I hadn’t really accomplished anything.
It turns out this is a common thing for entrepreneurs—entrepreneurs work 63% longer than the average employee, working an average of 52 hours a week.
If you feel like you are always working but not advancing in your career one successful entrepreneur has a solution. He says there’s three skills he mastered to build his business to 7-figures in annual revenue in just two years. If you can master these skills, you’ll be able to put an end to “busyness” and advance your career in a fraction of the time.
Meet John Lee Dumas, founder of the daily business podcast for entrepreneurs “Entrepreneur on Fire,” which gets 1.2 Million monthly listens and generates 7-figures in yearly revenue. Entrepreneur on Fire has featured distinguished guests like Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Tim Ferris, and was awarded ‘Best of iTunes.’
This week on Unconventional Life, Dumas shares the three skills every entrepreneur should master to advance their careers in 2017.
Dumas says he can relate to feeling challenged in the early days of his entrepreneurial journey. When he first launched Entrepreneur on Fire, he had no experience with podcasting and had been told by his mentors it was a bad idea.
Though the odds were stacked against him, he saw a need for daily content for entrepreneurs and wanted to fulfill that need. “I wanted more content, fresh content every single day waiting for me and I didn’t understand why it didn’t exist so I decided to be the change I wanted to see in the world,” says Dumas.
Roughly four years later, Entrepreneur on Fire has become one of the most listened to and valued podcasts by entrepreneurs. Dumas has released over 1,500 episodes, which collectively have over 43 Million listens.
Dumas accredits his success to three key skills—productivity, discipline, and focus. He says these skills are the horsepower behind execution and separate those who follow through from those who don’t.
In mastering these skills, you can be sure you’ll be able to conquer anything in your path. Below, Dumas shares his tips to master productivity, discipline and focus.
1. Operate In Your Genius. Being productive is effortless when you enjoy what you do and you’re good at it. Dumas calls this your “zone of genius.” You can uncover your zone of genius with a simple 5-day exercise. Draw a line down the center of a blank piece of paper and label the left side, “things I enjoy,” and the right side, “things I’m good at.” For ten minutes each day, write down as much as you can on each side. Repeat the exercise for five days in a row.
2. Own Your Strengths. “We have way more weaknesses than we have strengths,” Dumas says. “The problem is people spend their time on all those weaknesses trying to be ok at something they’re crappy at. Nobody wants ok, you might as well stay crappy.” Forget your weaknesses; identify what your natural strengths are and work on developing them to a level of mastery. You’ll work your “discipline” and “focus” muscles in the process.
3. Outsource. You can free up a tremendous amount of time and energy with outsourcing. Check yourself by calculating your “hourly wage,” or the amount of money you make divided by the hours you work. If your hourly wage isn’t what you want it to be, consider hiring someone to do simple things like website maintenance or responding to emails that aren’t an effective use of your time.
4. Put The Blinders On. Those who try to do too many things at once rarely get anything done. Select one project you want to see to completion and make it the sole object of your focus until it is complete. Eliminate distractors and execute your project with laser-like focus for maximum productivity.
5. Plan. Your goals can feel overwhelming and unattainable when you don’t have a concrete plan of action to achieve them. Determine what your goals are and create a realistic plan with daily action steps that will take you to your goal. In creating your plan, make sure your roadmap is guaranteed to work. You don’t want to waste your energy doing things that don’t produce results. Your plan should give you confidence and peace of mind that every single day you are making progress and are certain to arrive at your goal.
6. Stick To A Routine. Routines are a great way to establish structure and hold yourself accountable to your best work. Dumas says he starts every day with running, meditation, and journaling to put himself in the frame of mind he needs to be successful. Maybe your daily routine involves coffee and rejuvenating breaks. Design a framework that will enable you to do your best, day in and day out. For even greater structure, check out Dumas’ Mastery Journal designed to guide you to productivity, discipline and focus in 100 days.
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This article originally appeared on Forbes.com