Business owners make investments every day: In advertising, in expanded product lines, in better websites… investments that will hopefully generate positive returns.
One major investment category is missing, though: Investing in you.
Spending 30 minutes a day investing in yourself will produce better long-term results than any other investment you can make.
Here are five ways to invest a little time each day in your most valuable asset — you:
1. Build strong connections. Forget Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter for a moment. Social media connections can be useful, but the best connections are personal. For example, every few days I check out readers who comment on or tweet my BNET posts. I look at their websites and profiles and when I find something interesting or helpful, I send a short email. (I also thank them for their comment or for the implied compliment of an article tweet.) I’m not looking for replies but occasionally receive them, and some have led to article ideas and input… or just a nice personal connection.
2. Do something stupid. Okay, not stupid to you, but stupid in the eyes of others. Pick something no one thinks you should or can do and do it. If you want to think outside the box you have to live outside the box at least part of the time. If you want to have a different life than other people you must be willing to do what other people won’t.
3. Build a “side business.” Maintaining a laser-like focus is great but so is broadening your horizons. One of my clients is a financial adviser and wrote a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu book on the side. Another developed an information-based site that produces nice revenue compared to the time he puts in. A CEO friend occasionally builds decks on the weekends. Each took something he was interested in and made it a “business” of sorts. You don’t need to start a company, but you can leverage your interests to broaden your perspective — and in the process bring some of what you learn “outside” back into your business.
4. Follow a morning ritual. Face it: Aside from personal hygiene, a lot of your time before work is wasted. Deciding what to wear, lingering over breakfast, checking TMZ — all wasted. Heck, you just slept for six hours; you’ve had enough slack time. Not only will you arrive at work more energized, you’ll also feel better about yourself.
5. Take 10 minutes and think. You think all day… but not really. Mostly you react: To problems, issues, concerns, challenges… that’s a very different type of thinking. Thinking when you don’t have to think is completely different and much more productive.
And a bonus item:
6. Call your parents. They miss you.