To-do lists. Getting things done. Prioritizing time. Productivity apps. There are plenty of helpful ideas out there right now to help you organize your time. The bottom line though: you must find or develop a productivity system that works for you.

Here’s why this matters:

Firstthere’s a BIG difference between being busy and being effective. Busy means you work a lot with your head down firing through a long to-do list. Effective means you do the things that matter; and you do them well. (That’s a huge difference – in general and for yourself.)

Secondthe things you actively avoid – most likely the hard stuff – are typically the things that are critical to you moving the needle and propelling forward. It doesn’t have to be big stuff either – it can be that phone call you are dreading, the one lastmarketing piece you need to wrap up, or just setting up that meeting with the key investor or client.

So, go ahead and write your to-do list; capture ALL the things that you need to get done – all the things that’ll keep you busy. THEN, highlight, “star”, circle, whatever the tasks that truly matter; the hard stuff; the ONE thing you KNOW in your gut will move you forward.

This strategy is more important than the app you use or the approach you take…this strategy drives your focus towards making things happen.

And here’s why that really matters:

Master that, and you’re actually creating time to enjoy, appreciate, and respect this journey.

Because any startup in any industry is designed to spark a fire, to light up what’spossible, to ignite a new kind of energy.

Every day in this entrepreneurial journey should be an adventure with life’s richest rewards found along the way in wide awake, alive, kick-ass experiences, learning, working with cool people, cool places, cool ideas.

I’m not saying it is easy or it won’t be stressful or hard or frustrating. It’ll be all of that – and some days, you’ll feel all of that

You will scratch your head often wondering: who should I hire, should the background of the homepage be red or blue, should I charge $49.95 or $99.99?

And you’ll power through those decisions if you create the time and the space in your days, weeks, months to be effective – not busy; to focus on what matters; to fall in love with what’s real along this journey.

Your investors, co-founders and strategic partners are excited to build something with you. And they can help you build something great when they feel your energy – not when they see your to-do list.