The Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation hosted Productivity Powerhouse with David Bruno on Wednesday evening, and it could not have come at a better time. With only a few days until spring break, motivation levels across campus have declined and everyone is ready to take a breather. Bruno spoke with students on when to stop working, his top three tips for entrepreneurs and what he does to focus.
Bruno is an entrepreneur at heart; he is the co-founder of Red Planet Ventures, works with UConn by hosting events such as this one and also recently got involved with Connecticut Innovations. Along with being an entrepreneur, he is a husband, father, son and friend, making the need to focus and stay organized essential.
“WHAT’S THE HARDEST THAT IS GOING TO BLOCK YOU, AND I DO THAT WITH MY BEST ENERGY FIRST THING. TAKE OUT THE THING YOU DON’T WANT TO DO.”David Bruno
Bruno begins his day sitting at his desk and checking off the hardest thing on his to-do list.
“What’s the hardest thing that is going to block you, and I do that with my best energy first thing,” he says. “Take out the thing you don’t want to do.”
Before going digital, Bruno first takes paper notes during his meetings, which he then transfers onto his computer at the end of the day. This allows him to focus on his client during the call and then process his notes two times, once when he is writing them physically, and for the second time when he types them out.
Entrepreneurial spaces are often glamorized, but Bruno shed lights on the difficult aspects of being an entrepreneur.
“It’s not like you have a supportive office with a printer and a coffee machine and a support network of people around you,” he says. “When you’re in the entrepreneurial space you are desperately alone all the time and your lifeline is the people you turn into your team.”
To deal with the stress of working, Bruno takes many stress breaks, where he will drink water, go on a walk with his dog, lift weights, listen to music or look at the birds outside to ground himself. Doing this helps him get through difficult times throughout the day.
“IT’S NOT LIKE YOU HAVE A SUPPORTIVE OFFICE WITH A PRINTER AND A COFFEE MACHINE AND A SUPPORT NETWORK OF PEOPLE AROUND YOU. WHEN YOU’RE IN THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPACE YOU ARE DESPERATELY ALONE ALL THE TIME AND YOUR LIFELINE IS THE PEOPLE YOU TURN INTO YOUR TEAM.”David Bruno
Here are his top four tips for being a productivity powerhouse:
Bruno stresses the importance of staying present with the people you are with and how much this can benefit both parties.
“I noticed a lot of folks are just constantly distracted,” he says. “They’re in a meeting, but they’re not.”
[Text Wrapping Break]While someone may physically be there, it is often not hard to tell if their mind is wandering somewhere else. Bruno emphasizes the importance of being in the moment, dedicating that time and then taking a break if needed after.
Use Your Phone
People are often told to get off their phones, but Bruno advocates for the opposite. He believes that calling someone is a form of saying “I love you.” Throughout his day, Bruno calls about six to seven different people, whether it be to check in and see if he can help them somehow, to make sure they are aligned or simply to say hello.
“I NOTICED A LOT OF FOLKS ARE JUST CONSTANTLY DISTRACTED. THEY’RE IN A MEETING BUT THEY’RE NOT.”David Bruno
“Just help somebody,” are Bruno’s biggest words of advice when becoming an entrepreneur. Finding out how to make someone’s life easier can lead to long-term, substantial partnerships. After working abroad for 25 years, Bruno knew few people when he came back to America, however he hit the ground running by meeting people and finding out if he could help them in any way.
Say Thank You
Bruno’s last tip is one that we could all do more: say thank you.
“I say thank you 50 times a day because people actually feel good when you take a small moment and thank someone for whatever they are doing for you,” he says. “I think it’s really important to genuinely mean it when you say it and thank people.”
The next CCEI discussion, “Why Should You Invest in the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs” with Beth Settje, Jasdeep Singh and Amanda Clark, will take place on Monday, March 14.
If you would like to get in touch with David Bruno, feel free to email him firstname.lastname@example.org.