Be Selective and Invest Your Time

…Running around like a headless chicken”

That was how I responded to people whenever they would ask me “What have you been up to?” in the early days of starting my first business. It seemed an innocent enough thing to ask, and my answer always got a sympathetic chuckle, and then we’d move on.

But I didn’t want to be a headless chicken! I wanted to be a graceful swan, or a majestic eagle gliding in the sky. Operating like a headless chicken wasn’t dignified, and it wasn’t an effective business strategy either. I didn’t want to be spending my time, I wanted to be investing my time.


This starts by – counterintuitively – doing less but investing more time, attention, resources, money, etc to the high-value things that are moving your business forward.

If you are in retail, be selective about the products you offer, how many you offer, and how often you offer them. If you are in a services business, pre-qualify clients and be selective about who you take on. If you are in a technology business, be selective about the functions you offer. If you’re in recruitment, be selective about the types of firms you will work with and what types of industries.

Have criteria or use benchmarks for what you are trying to achieve and then stick to them. Doing so will help you invest your time in the tasks that will see the best results instead of spending your time on the tasks that won’t.

So what are you going to be more selective about? How are you going to start investing your time? I’d love to hear from you in the comments…

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About Me
Rupal Patel logo
The daughter of Indian immigrants, Rupal is a born-and-bred New Yorker now living near London. Her high-octane career as a CIA officer turned serial entrepreneur has taken her from military briefing rooms in jungles and war zones to corporate boardrooms and international stages.

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