Let's be honest -- there aren't enough hours in the week for most entrepreneurs. Days run together and soon you are begging for an eighth day of the week to catch up. We call this imaginary day "Smursday."
When you're working this hard, it's difficult to distinguish when your week starts and ends. It can be even harder to keep track of your startup's accomplishments and accurately measure your progress. Velocity needs structure.
Now, I'm not telling you to slow down. Even if I did, you probably wouldn't listen. But, unless you can actually create a new day of the week, getting more done means getting more from the hours you have. I've picked up a few strategies over the years, which were recently put to the test when our team was weeks away from launch with months of work remaining. With these tips, we clearly defined our work days, maximized productivity and launched on target.
Establish a regular cadence of commitment and celebration.
Frequently measuring progress toward your goals is just as important as setting the goals themselves. With everyone working at top speed, even one week of execution without direction can be treacherous. Check-ins force conversations that answer questions like: Is everyone focused on the highest-priority projects? Does everyone agree this week's focus will produce the most valuable results for the company? What interdependencies will exist three months from now based on today's work?
At Clearcover, we use an Objectives and Key Results (OKR) framework for goal setting at every level -- from company strategy all the way down to weekly priorities. The "objective" part of OKRs is a rally cry -- it is meant to be something bold, broad and a little bit scary. Imagine it as the type of accomplishment that inspires team members to get out of bed each morning. The "key results" are the quantifiable measures of success in reaching that objective.
While the OKR process helps us establish direction, it doesn't necessarily ensure we're making progress toward those goals. So, we take time every Monday to develop our individual work priorities (called "Monday Commitments") and share them with each other. These check-ins communicate everyone's focus areas for the week, establish why we're doing them and identify how we can help each other along the way.
Then on Friday, we get together to celebrate "wins" -- the things we're most proud of accomplishing that week. This includes employees sharing their big milestones, small victories and even what was learned from mistakes or failures. On Fridays at Clearcover, one person is awarded a stuffed banana for taking a bold risk that didn't pay off. Beyond the obviously awesome payoff of a bright yellow plush fruit to display on one's desk, this "distinction" represents our commitment to recognizing risk even when it doesn't reap reward.
Our "Monday Commitments" and "Friday Wins" practice not only supports our regular cadence of goal setting and measuring progress, but also allows the team to take a moment and pause, understand what everyone does all day and appreciate what each discipline means to our overall success.