The rule is: Always complete the task at hand before jumping to the next one.

One of the most difficult elements of running a business is the discipline required to complete your work on time. It can be difficult to complete tasks when there’s no one above you telling you what to do. This is the price of being your own boss. You decide what gets done and when.

Aside from offering great products and services, a business’s survival is mostly dependent on the work ethics of its founders. During the past couple of weeks I’ve been using these three questions to help keep me on track with my tasks, and they seem to work nicely. I hope they will work for you too.

1. What’s the most important thing to do today?

Yes today, not later or tomorrow but right now. Assuming you’ve already created a list of important tasks to complete each day, you need to get into the habit of focusing on today’s tasks. This will ensure that you accomplish your daily goals and increase your productivity over the long run. Focus on the most important things – you know what I am talking about, they’re the ones we try so hard to avoid. In my experiences, what we hate the most is almost always what we need to focus on.

2. What am I losing if I don’t (action) today?

Some of the most popular advice you hear from entrepreneurs is “Take action”. Everyone knows they have to take action, so why don’t they? Just telling someone to take action is simply not enough to motivate them to act. No one likes to lose, so if entrepreneurs focus more what they’re actually losing by not taking action, they’ll become more motivated to act.

This isn’t a new method, we do it every day. People often ask themselves the question: “What do I have to lose?” It helps us to gain enough courage to do something that we’re not used to, or something that we’re afraid of. Why not reverse this by simply asking: “What am I losing today if I don’t?”

Knowing that you’re willingly losing something can be enough to spur you into action.

3. Have I finished what I started?

Entrepreneurs are ideas people, but all too often they start things and never finish them. Multiple ideas is great, but they can become a barrier to starting projects, let alone finishing them. Initially ideas are always attractive and interesting, but as time passes we care less and less about them. We lose interest. Not because they’re bad ideas, but simply because we spend too much time thinking about them.

To overcome this I recommend taking small breaks in between tasks. Take time to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. Ultimately you may not be as excited as you were initially, but just remember, if you thought it was a great idea before, the chances are it still is.

The rule is: Always complete the task at hand before jumping to the next one.