I have been an entrepreneur for the majority of my career. It is certainly not the easiest path, but it’s rewarding, exciting, and allows you to take full control of how you spend your time. On the downside, the hours can be long, there is a lot of uncertainty, and you can get worn down over time.
Staying productive and self-starting can be one of the biggest challenges -regardless of your chosen career. Some days are definitely better than others, and some sort of failure is inevitable when you’re building your career or a business. Whether that’s a small failure like not meeting your monthly sales goals of big failures like having to restructure or shutdown your business completely. It’s all part of the adventure, and you learn to take it in stride.
Over the years I’ve observed and learned a lot about my own habits and the things that potentially set me apart from others. Where have I succeeded where others have failed? Where have I failed where others have succeeded? At the end of the day, it’s not about luck or destiny, new-age “affirmations” or some abstract idea; what determines success is simply a culmination of productive daily habits. As the saying goes, “We are what you repeatedly do.” While developing good habits can be difficult, the concept is actually very simple and you have control over the types of habits you develop.
I believe taking inventory of how you live your life and making an honest assessment about yourself is vital to the outcomes of your efforts. This can be very humbling and is necessary if you want to grow and reach your potential. Of course, there is no end to this journey, and there really shouldn’t be. The day you stop learning and believe you know everything is the day you stop improving.
Here are a few things I do daily to stay productive.
I don’t have time
And neither do you. At any moment, you can leave this life. Every day, hour, minute, second is gone; you don’t get this time back. I think being aware of your mortality and each passing moment is vital to staying productive and streamlining your life. Once you realize how valuable your time is, you won’t want to waste it on unhealthy habits, toxic people, bad relationships, self-loathing, and other things that hold you back.
Suddenly, releasing those things that aren’t good for you becomes much easier. No relationship, toxic friend, bad habit or otherwise is more valuable than your well-being. You quite literally don’t have the time for it.
I write everything down with a pen and paper
Never underestimate the value of a classic pen and paper. In the digital world it can be so easy to use apps or make notes on your phone, but there is something special about writing down your thoughts and goals by hand. The physical activity of writing helps instill things a bit more in your mind. It sets an actual intention and puts the action into motion. So, instead of only making notes on your phone or digital calendar, try writing down your daily goals and ideas in a notebook.
I live healthy and simple
Don’t get me wrong, I’m as guilty as the next person of indulging in french fries and pizza and my love for wine, but you have to find a balance between enjoying life and staying focused. While I do tend to travel often, my day-to-day life is quite low key. I’m not an indulgent person and I’ve never been a partier. While some evenings I attend networking or work events, most days I just work, read, exercise, and go to bed. This means I rarely deal with time lost from hangovers or going “too hard.”
I know it can be tempting to go out and party, and by all means you should enjoy your life, but if you want to be your most productive, you have to be willing to do what others are not willing to do. In other words, if you want to get a leg up, sometimes you have to delay gratification and lead your life in a way that is going to produce the best results for the next day and for your long term future.
“Stacking” is one of the best ways to stay laser focused, even when you’re exhausted or unmotivated. While motivation is partially a habit, it’s also a chemical reaction. If your nutrition, brain chemicals, and hormones are out of balance, it can greatly affect your motivation and ability to get things done. I recommend seeing a doctor or nutritionist to help determine if you have any hormonal imbalances or deficiencies.
Supplements I take daily are probiotics, a multivitamin, and turmeric. Specifically, probiotics have made a significant difference in my general well-being and digestive health. I also like nootropics like Huperzine-A and NeuroIgnite for days when I have to work extra long hours. Each person reacts differently to supplements, so I suggest consulting your doctor and then experimenting with different stacks to see what works best for you.
I Read & Learn Everyday
I read relevant material everyday. Whether it’s a book, an e-book or an article on Forbes. I spend time reading informative books and articles daily. Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new and improve your current skillset. Publications I recommend reading daily are Forbes, Fast Company, Futurism, WSJ, Entrepreneur, and Inc. As for books, you can check out our “Bookclub” section for recommended books from myself and StyleFox staff writers.