Being productive involves more than just setting goals and removing distractions …although those can definitely help!
Being consistently productive means forming effective habits you use every single day – because it's building good habits that will lead to long-term success.
According to author and entrepreneur Sean Covey, habits are the building blocks of productivity. He writes, “Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do”. In other words, the habits you establish determine the outcomes you have.
If you're wondering what habits you should begin to adopt, then this post is for you! I’m going to share seven productive habits of successful entrepreneurs.
We all have 24 hours in the day…so let’s make the most of them!
7 Productive Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs
1. Have a Predictable Morning Ritual
First up in the effective habits of successful entrepreneurs is to create a predictable morning ritual.
A morning ritual is similar to a routine with the main difference being the intention behind it. A routine is a series of activities that we just do by rote whereas a ritual is a series of activities deliberately designed to get you into a purposeful headspace — particularly one that will lead to a productive day.
Your morning ritual would include the obvious morning activities like brushing your teeth, showering, and breakfast, but you would also include tasks you enjoy doing before you start your day. This could include exercising, meditating, journaling, reading, or simply sitting quietly for 20 minutes with a cup of coffee.
Your morning ritual is unique to you and can be as long or short as you'd like. It may look like this:
- Quick stretch
- 30-minute walk
- Brush teeth
- Meditate for 15 minutes
Or maybe you have a tight morning because you have young children. Your morning ritual may look like this:
- Coffee and quiet time for 15-minutes
- Wake kids
- Breakfast with my children
- Brush teeth
Perhaps you're an empty nester like me with time for a leisurely morning ritual like this:
- Stretch for 10 minutes
- Drink 16oz of water
- Brush teeth
- 30-minute walk
- Coffee and journal for 20 minutes
- Read for 15 minutes
Whatever it is, your morning ritual is yours. Construct it wisely because dilly-dallying around, starting your day in reaction mode, and allowing outside circumstances to determine your mood can lead to an unproductive day that is disorganized, chaotic, and frustrating.
2. Get Enough Sleep
The next of the effective habits of successful entrepreneurs is to get enough sleep.
It’s the rare few of us that can consistently function well on little sleep. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, adults need at least 7 hours of sleep each night in order to function properly.
And research done by HULT Business School found that the average working professional gets around 30 minutes less than this each night.
If you want to be productive each and every day you need to get good sleep, so pay attention to your sleeping patterns. How much sleep are you getting? What are you doing right before bed? Are you sleeping through the night? If not, what's waking you up?
A few things you can do right now to start to improve your sleep habits are:
- Have a consistent bedtime and wake time
- Do not use devices like your phone, tablet, and computer at least one hour before bed
- Take a hot shower before bed
- Avoid caffeine and other stimulants
- Create a bedtime ritual to help you prepare for sleep
You'll see a noticeable improvement in your productivity when you're well-rested. So get good sleep.
3. Write a 3-Item To-Do List Each Night
If you're not a morning person, the next of the seven productive habits of successful entrepreneurs is to create a three-item to-do list every morning.
This is a great habit to get into and it's simple to do.
Before you go to bed, write down three things you want to get done first thing in the morning.
This is a trick Kevin O’Leary, of Shark Tank fame, uses every day. He writes, “Before I go to sleep, I write down three things that I have to get done the next morning before I take a call, write a text or an email or talk to anyone else except my family. And they can be random things, like ‘call your daughter at school and ask about whether she’s done this or that' or ‘close a deal.' What I found was once you get those three things done, the rest of your day becomes amazingly productive.”
There are so many benefits to using this strategy. Give it a try.
4. Approach Social Media with a Plan
The next productive habit of successful entrepreneurs is to approach social media with a plan. And if you know anything at all about me, you know I love a good plan!
If you own a business, you're using social media. As I’m sure you know, it can be a huge source of wasted time if you aren’t careful.
Having a plan for how you’re going to use social media on any given day will save you time, reduce overwhelm and help you achieve your social media goals. So, instead of simply browsing your Facebook feed and getting sucked into the latest rant, head straight to your business page with a plan for what you want to get done.
I also recommend setting a timer when you’re on social media or using a program like FocusMe to make sure you stick to your allotted social media time.
5. Build Exercise into Your Daily Routine
This next habit of successful entrepreneurs probably won't be surprising. That habit is to build exercise into your daily routine.
Here's the thing, your physical health is directly related to your productivity. According to Robert C. Pozen, Senior Lecturer at MIT, having an exercise routine can result in greater energy, happiness, and productivity at work.
He also notes that physically exerting yourself leads to increased mental output. Isn’t this something we could all use during a busy workday? Of course, it is.
If exercising hasn't been part of your daily habits, that's ok. No one is saying that you have to spend hours every day at the gym. Start small by walking around the block a few times a week. Not only will you see how your productivity improves, but you'll also feel good.
6. Take Some Time to Breathe
Of all the habits that successful entrepreneurs have, this one may be the most surprising. That habit is to take some time to breathe.
You will be surprised to learn that you may be subconsciously holding your breath at particular times throughout the day. It's referred to as Email Apnea, a phrase attributed to former Apple executive Linda Stone. And it's fairly prevalent.
As a matter of fact, Dr. Belisa Vranich, clinical psychologist and a leading expert in mental health and fitness, shared that in every office setting she encountered she found that 3 out of every 10 people are breath-holders.
Unintentionally holding your breath during intense work has consequences similar to Sleep Apnea. The good news is that by becoming aware of your sleep habits, you can do something about this.
One thing you can do to improve your breathing is to meditate throughout the day.
Meditation, specifically breath meditation has many benefits. Home Care Assistance shares that by learning a few simple breathing techniques, you can:
- Reduce stress levels in your body
- Lower your heart rate
- Lower your blood pressure
- Reduce depression
- Better regulate your body’s reaction to stress and fatigue
Managing your stress alone will improve productivity and manifest many other health benefits.
7. Read Daily
You may have heard that Warren Buffett spends up to 80% of each day reading. He also states that reading is the most crucial habit he's developed. In reality, there are many successful entrepreneurs who read — A LOT!
That's why the last productivity habit of successful entrepreneurs is to read daily!
While you definitely don’t need to devote a huge chunk of your day to reading, there’s no doubt that you should include some reading into your everyday routine!
Final Thoughts About Productivity Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs
We can get so caught up in the day-to-day grind it can be hard to look at the bigger picture. And that bigger picture is this: establishing effective daily habits leads to greater productivity over the long haul.
I hope this list of productive habits of successful business owners has inspired you to start establishing your own set of habits.
And creating better habits will help you work more effectively in your business.
Which habits above are you going to try out this week? Let me know in the comments below!