I've gotten a lot of questions recently in regards to how I stay productive and motivated as an entrepreneur. The short answer is consistency and hard work, I can't tell you the amount of days I've spent working sixteen hour days in my office, or how many times I've gotten out of bed at 3:00 AM because I can't shake an idea or a project isn't perfect.
The life of an entrepreneur isn't for the faint of heart. One week you can get the biggest contract you've ever received, and the next you could be wondering how to pay your mortgage, but at the end of the day there no better feeling than knowing you are in direct control of your own future.
Since this life is so full of ups and downs consistency is key. I was lucky enough to learn this at a past job where I worked out of my house and had to visit 60+ clients every month. The first week on the job my boss told me 'the hardest part about this job is showing up'. The first few months I laughed it off thinking they just had a hiring problem but quickly realized he was right.
After all the fun of the start-up phase has worn off it becomes all too easy to justify binge-watching a show on Netflix for half the day or organizing then reorganizing your office space (I can't be the only one who does this) and at the end of the day....you didn't accomplish anything.
Below are 5 daily habits I have in place to make sure I'm operating at my best, avoiding burnout, and keeping a healthy work-life balance.
This looks different for every person but having some form of a daily meditation is key to success. Whether it's 10 minutes of sitting up straight and focusing on your breath, or an intentional period of silence, some form of mindfulness really helps set you up for success. Personally, I try and spend 20 minutes every morning in silence pursuing a faith exercise such as reading my bible or spending time in prayer.
Sounds crazy right? No one likes to be cold so why do it intentionally every day. I actually stumbled into this habit on accident while preparing for a photo shoot. I had this idea of a picture that required me to be able to stand in 50-degree water for an extended amount of time at night in February, so I started researching how to train accordingly, and what I learned literally changed my life.
Daily cold exposure has a plethora of benefits including a boosted immune system, improved sleep, increase in hormone levels, an increase in endorphins sent to your brain, and additional energy.
Although the photo didn't turn out as I hoped, cold showers in the morning are still part of my daily rituals and one of the first things I recommend to people to boost energy levels.
Check out The Wim Hof Method for more information on cold exposure.
Make a List and Check it Twice
Who knew a simple Christmas song contained such good advice for staying productive. In all seriousness, a daily to-do list is a great way to not only get things done but help you 'clock out' without feeling guilty at the end of the day. Here are a couple tips to make sure that To-Do list ends up helping you rather than overwhelming.
- Limit your list to five items
- Be as specific as possible when writing it down
- Put time estimates next to each item
- Mark them off as you complete each item
At the end of the day go back over your list and make sure everything is completed in full, anything that needs a bit more work, write on your list for tomorrow. One thing I've noticed is I rarely finish my list in a day. Between client calls, new business, and the unforeseeable issues that come with the territory of running your own business, my plans rarely happen the way I think they should but starting and ending your day with a plan helps organize the chaos and prioritize what's important.
This is much easier said than done, especially if you're on the road a lot. Trust me, I understand how easy it is to skip breakfast to sleep in a little bit longer, then hit a drive through for lunch, and end up just drinking your dinner. That doesn't make it any less important though, especially with how much your nutrition affects your everyday life. Just switch out a salad for that hamburger, or add some veggies to your dinner plate, I promise you won't regret it.
If you are on the road a lot be sure you have some form of a healthy snack for when you have to push back lunch a few hours. Fatsbar is one of my favorites to keep with me on long road trips.
Do some form of intense exercise every day to the point of breaking a sweat. Not only does the exercise release endorphins which improve your mood but the simple act of sweating is your bodies natural way of detoxifying itself. It's a great way to increase your daily energy long term in addition to improving and prolonging your health. A healthy you means less sick time which in turn means greater productivity.
I know this all sounds like a lot of additional work, especially with the busy life of an entrepreneur. It can be so hard to take make the additional effort of just one of these tasks let alone all five when you being bombarded with emails and phone calls as soon as you wake up, I get it.
With that in mind here's my challenge for you. Go all in and give it a try for this upcoming week. Wake up 10 minutes earlier for some quite time to yourself, end that morning shower with a blast of cold water, write out your daily task, avoid the burgers and tacos, and get your sweat on! I guarantee it will be worth the additional effort and will pay off ten fold.