Growing your own business is a whole different deal than working for somebody else.
You’re probably more motivated and excited about what you do. But you also have to face more responsibility and stress in your life.
It can be challenging to maintain that excitement while dealing with stressful situations daily. No wonder many great business leaders have written books about how they structure their days, tackle stress, and achieve success.
For many business owners, their work life is inseparable from their private life. That’s why you’ll need to adopt productive daily habits that help you round the clock – not just during business hours.
Read our tips for having a productive day, every day – from the moment you open your eyes in the morning.
1. Create an uplifting morning routine
How you begin your day says a lot about how it’s going to continue.
Will you be constantly running to make it in time and struggling to do anything productive? Or will you start your morning in a way that invigorates and inspires you?
You are likely to have some intense and stressful moments during the day, so at least make your mornings pleasant.
Here’s a tip:
Ask yourself how you’d love to start your workday if it was entirely up to you. Forget any practical issues or obstacles. Then, try to get as close to your perfect morning as possible – even if it takes several weeks to make it a habit.
Ideas on what to include in your pleasant morning routine:
- A hot or cold shower
- A big coffee mug while reading the news
- Exercise - jogging, workout, stretching, etc.
- Delicious breakfast
- Meditation (even if it’s a mini-meditation that requires closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing)
- Choosing your outfit for the day
- Quiet working time
- Creating your to-do list for the day
In fact, the last point is essential for having a productive day – so keep reading!
2. Make helpful to-do lists
Do you know why to-do lists work so well?
Because organizing your tasks in a list keeps you mentally focused and makes your work much more manageable.
Crossing items off your list gives a sense of progress and accomplishment as opposed to feeling nervous or overwhelmed with an unknown number of tasks.
Whichever option you choose, keep these essentials in mind:
- Set goals to achieve every day
- Set priorities – tasks that are more important or that need to be done sooner
- Start with more complicated tasks
- End each day with a to-do list for tomorrow
3. Exercise at least 30 minutes every day
We all know that regular exercise is good for your health, but here’s why being physically active can also help to grow your business:
Regular exercise helps to improve thinking skills and memory and stimulates the production of hormones that support the growth of brain cells
Having no time for sports – or at least 30 minutes of exercise daily – is not an excuse, because being physically active directly helps your productivity and thus promotes the growth of your business.
Some of the world’s greatest CEOs are living proof of this universal truth. For example, Mark Zuckerberg works out in the mornings and claims it gives him the energy to do things well. Meanwhile, Richard Branson believes exercise is the foundation of his success.
4. Set up a pleasant working environment
Regardless of whether you work in an office, co-working space or at home, it’s in your hands to arrange a productive and comfortable workspace for yourself.
Keep these important considerations in mind:
- Comfort – ergonomic furniture is the foundation of every productive workspace. If you want to grow your business, you’ll need a comfortable, adjustable chair to manage it from.
- Privacy – if you are working in an open office or at home with family members present, you need to find a way to get some peace and quiet when necessary. Ideally, there is a door you can close. If not, consider getting a partition wall or a curtain (to show others you’re busy) and earphones to block noise.
- Organization – arrange all the documents, notebooks, stationery, and other items in compartments, shelves or containers. Remember – the messier your desk, the harder it will be to concentrate.
- Inspiration – use motivational posters, beautiful nature photos or a dynamic screensaver on your PC – whatever inspires you to work for the sake of your business.
5. Establish a consistent sleep cycle
Getting up and going to bed at the same time every day helps to align your lifestyle with your Circadian rhythm which in turn promises health benefits, such as stronger immunity, emotional balance, and improved concentration.
But does this mean waking up very early?
There are definitely some benefits to waking up early, like fewer distractions and smaller traffic. It’s a chance to get more done before others are even awake.
However, you don’t necessarily have to wake up at 5 AM to become successful. In fact, if you don’t naturally feel alert and productive in the mornings, waking up early won’t do you much good. Especially if you went to sleep late but decided to rise early anyway.
What matters most is having a consistent waking and sleeping cycle. If you’re having trouble falling asleep at a reasonable hour, try switching off all electronics 30 minutes before going to bed.
Instead, replace your phone screen with a book, for example.
6. Indulge inspirational content for success
To help your business grow, you’ll need not only talent, but also persistence and inspiration. There will be times when you’ll feel stuck or unmotivated. Luckily, there are many ingenious and encouraging books, as well as podcasts and YouTube channels for entrepreneurs to help you regain your passion – and maybe even see a new direction for your business.
You don’t have to wait for a crisis to start consuming motivating content. Promise yourself to read at least one book chapter or listen to at least one new podcast episode daily to keep the spark alive. Or, for example, you can set yourself a personal goal for how many books you want to read per year.
Here are our TOP 3 of books for new entrepreneurs:
- Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Here are other motivational content for business owners:
7. Learn to relax and focus
We live in the age of distraction. Background noise, social media notifications, and multitasking are all constantly demanding our attention.
Knowing how to disconnect and focus has become almost a survival skill. Here are our tips on how to focus amidst distractions:
- Create a music playlist that helps you concentrate. If you don’t know where to start, try Focus or Productivity playlists on YouTube or Spotify, or listen to nature sounds on Noisli.
- Try ASMR - a relatively new phenomenon that can be very relaxing and enhance your productivity.
- Sign up for a personal experiment – switch off social media notifications and block distracting apps.
If all else fails, try working very early in the morning or late in the evening. However, don’t make it a habit or your personal life may suffer.
8. Take regular breaks from work
Today, most people realize that breaks are just as important for your productivity as the actual working time. It’s scientifically proven that short breaks from work up your productivity, so make it a habit to get up, stretch, and relax your eyes.
The perfect work-break ratio is different from person to person, but the bottom line is this:
Don’t wait until your body starts aching and your brain gets fuzzy. If you find it hard to make breaking a habit, try creative techniques to force yourself, like setting reminders to stretch. Or, drinking lots of water -– this way, you’ll be forced to take frequent bathroom breaks.
9. Learn to delegate and outsource
If you are a business owner, it doesn’t automatically mean that you have to do everything by yourself. On the contrary – a good manager knows how to distribute the tasks between himself or herself and the team.
Even if your team is very small, and even if it’s just you on board, you can get help to relieve yourself and promote the growth of your business.
For example, outsource a part of your business, like accounting or social media marketing. Or, hire freelancers for specific tasks like proofreading or design (freelancer platforms like Fiverr and Upwork are perfect for that).
You might be reluctant to do it for financial reasons. But think about the precious time you’ll win out of this. Time to do something meaningful for your business – something that only you can do.
10. Do at least one thing for growing your business (every day)
It’s easy to get lost in paperwork or emails, to just get on top of your daily tasks. Unfortunately, you can’t really grow your business this way - at best, you’ll keep it afloat.
To flourish and advance, your business needs fresh ideas, experiments, new approaches, etc. Depending on the type of business you’re in, this can mean contacting new, large customers, expanding to a new market, trying a new product line, etc.
Promise yourself to try and do something for growing your business every day. Some ideas:
- Write an email to a new shop or chain of stores, where you want to market your product
- Add a simple improvement to your website or online shop
- Create a special offer or a social media lottery to introduce more people to your business
Old habits die hard...
... so replace them with new, better habits!
Take a critical look at your daily routine and see if it benefits you and your business. Are your habits promoting your well-being and sharpness of your mind? Or are they stalling you or robbing you of motivation?
And remember – any habit will work only if you perform it consistently. These seemingly small and unimportant actions will show effect with time. And your business will be the one that benefits.