I have had the privilege to work with brilliant entrepreneurs and bloggers during my career. And not surprisingly they also only have 24 hours every day.
And it is not necessarily that they work longer hours than everyone else. Even though some of them do work crazy hours.
What I have learned is instead that they are driven by habits and behaviours that help them perform and excel.
Some of these habits are built around a professional persona. Some entrepreneurs may be charismatic leaders. Others are great public speakers or technicians.
But I have also found some habits that I believe are applicable for anyone.
Being a serial entrepreneur I try to live by and incorporate the following 10 habits and behaviours in my professional as well as personal life.
- 1. Surround yourself with other brilliant people
- 2. Work the data and stop the guessing
- 3. Be a doer and do not be afraid to take calculated risks
- 4. Set subgoals and always have daily goals
- 5. Introduce MVP to channel your efforts efficiently
- 6. Set specific time slots for email
- 7. Keep learning and perfecting your skills and craft
- 8. Define your work day
- 9. Remember to always do MIT first
- 10. Ditch the to-do lists and join the calendar crew
- Summary and conclusion
1. Surround yourself with other brilliant people
Do not try to be the alpha at any cost.
It used to be that entrepreneurs were bigger than life charismatic characters. But not necessarily so any longer.
Today we have successful online entrepreneurs that I would describe as shy or even introverted.
And it really does not matter as long as you have the courage to surround yourself with other brilliant people.
Do not feel that you need to have all the answers all the time.
As an entrepreneur you need to grow to succeed.
And you will grow as a professional and an individual if you have the courage to not always be the smartest person in the room.
Instead, surround yourself with brilliance and grow.
2. Work the data and stop the guessing
I used to say “I think…” all the time.
And to be honest. It is a really bad habit as it means nothing. At best my guess would be based on experience and at worst it would just be a feeling or a hunch.
Start measuring and then make it a habit to look at and analyze the data.
When you start working with data you will be able to make real and measurable improvements.
And this is when the fun starts.
You will be surprised how often data reveals truths that you would never have guessed.
3. Be a doer and do not be afraid to take calculated risks
Get in the mindset of making things happen and keep moving forward.
To be successful you need to be a doer and get things done.
This does not mean that you have to do everything. But you do need to make sure that things get done.
This also means not to get caught with “analysis paralysis”. You have to be prepared to take the leap and to risk failure.
But you cannot afford to be reckless. Instead be prepared to take limited and calculated risks.
Get in the mindset that we also learn from failures.
As long as we keep moving forward.
4. Set subgoals and always have daily goals
I have never experienced overnight success in any of my businesses.
Success has always been a result of hard work, opportunity, patience and getting things done.
Needless to say, patience has been an important factor as things don’t happen overnight.
So how do we stay patient?
We make sure to work with clear and measurable goals and subgoals.
Every website owner has long term goals for sales numbers, visitors to website or search engine rankings.
But these goals are just that – long term.
We need to work with daily measurable sub-goals that will take us there.
This is the way we keep moving forward to the completion of long term goals without losing focus and patience.
You need to work with shorter term daily goals to keep moving forward while feeling great about yourself and your progress.
5. Introduce MVP to channel your efforts efficiently
The acronym MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product.
MVP teaches us to stop reaching for perfection too soon.
Fact is that you are unlikely to reach perfection until you have received customer feedback.
And we can only get feedback if we launch our product or service to the market.
This is why we work towards launching a product that is viable while knowing that it is not perfect.
When we have data and feedback we work the data to improve the product with the goal to make it perfect.
6. Set specific time slots for email
From my experience reading and answering emails will steal hours from your workday if you let it.
You open an email and then you must read that article and then you get lost down the rabbit hole.
I check emails three times a day.
Mid-morning but never first thing in the morning. After lunch but never first thing after lunch and then finally 30 minutes or so before the end of the day.
This type of schedule works well for me.
Truth to be told, it is all about being intentional and less about how often you check your mail. Decide on a frequency that supports you and your business and then stick to the schedule.
Do not be the type of person who lives in the Inbox.
7. Keep learning and perfecting your skills and craft
To be successful at what you do you can never allow yourself to stop learning.
Regardless of your field of expertise or craft it is vitally important to stay up to date and to continue your learning.
As entrepreneurs we do not use office hours to educate ourselves.
Personally I use downtime when I am travelling or waiting to read and stay up to date.
8. Define your work day
You will never be done. There will always be more things that need doing.
And it is not sustainable to work all the time and all hours. You should only work when you are crips and able to perform.
There is really no reason to work when you are exhausted. You will not do your best work and you will not be a fun person to be around.
Now, there may be times when it is necessary to work crazy hours. But then at least acknowledge that the hours are indeed crazy with the intent to be temporary.
I have gone through tough years with customer facing businesses and it is hard. When I started my first travel agency we were open seven days a week from 9am to 9pm. But only for the first year.
True story, and it happens. But my point is that you should give yourself permission to knock off at the end of the business day. If you work over time you should feel good about yourself.
But be careful to get in the mindset where you feel guilty if you are not working every evening and every weekend.
Because we all know that person who is always “working” and yet always has time to chat.
Don’t be that person.
Instead decide on a workday and then work hard and make every minute count.
9. Remember to always do MIT first
MIT is an acronym and stands for Most Important Task.
Generally speaking we are the most productive in the morning. This is also usually the time when we get into the office should it be remote or at home. .
A lot of people start the day by going through and answering emails. Wrong.
Instead focus on the MIT of your business. Spend those first hours working on the things that are really important to your business.
You know. The things that will make your business competitive tomorrow as well as in the future.
Do not squander the most productive morning hours on scattered emailing. There will always be time for emails later in the day.
10. Ditch the to-do lists and join the calendar crew
To do lists are simply lists of things that need to be completed at some point in time.
And truly, how vague is that?
And I used to pad out my to do lists to get that good feeling from crossing out items. I have even been known to add and cross out items after a task was completed.
But not anymore.
Today I only work with my calendar.
If a task needs doing I plan for it to be completed. I schedule a time and duration for the task in my calendar. And when it is time, I complete the task.
Summary and conclusion
I have over my career worked on creating good habits and behaviours.
And these are my top 10 habits that help me stay focused, productive and healthy.
A good habit can be created. You just need to work at it – be consistent and stay the course.
I wish you success.