The well-respected entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “Either you run the day, or the day runs you.”
This is even more true for entrepreneurs who need to be at their best every minute of the day to grow their businesses and achieve their dreams. However, with the many hats you have to wear and projects you have to juggle, it’s often not easy to maintain your focus.
To stay at the top of your game and keep your eyes on the prize, you should make being highly productive a second nature. Start cultivating these daily habits to boost your productivity and you may be amazed how your life can change:
1. Design a Routine
Having a routine can keep you sane, grounded, and consistent. A morning routine helps you start the day with a positive outlook and set the tone for the day while an evening routine can give you the time and space to reflect and wind down. Following a bedtime routine also helps set your body and mind up for a good night’s sleep, which is key to staying healthy and productive in the long-run.
2. Prioritize Self-Care
It’s hard to focus and do amazing work when you feel sluggish. Maintaining physical fitness (e.g., working out) and mental calmness (e.g., meditation) is the key to staying energized and focused. It helps you sustain long-term high-performance no matter what life throws at you. Starting an exercise routine may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you have a mile-long to-do list but staying well mentally and physically can easily be your highest ROI activity!
3. Align Your Actions With Your Priorities
If the tasks you’re doing aren’t taking you where you want to be, you’re just doing busywork that won’t yield any meaningful results for you. Most people use various goal setting techniques — which is a great start — but you have to align your actions with your objectives in order to get to where you want to be!
Avoid any unnecessary meetings or tasks that don’t align with your priorities that day. Set milestones and check in regularly to make sure that you’re on the right track to accomplishing your goals.
4. Start the Day With the Hardest Tasks
Recommended by Brian Tracy in his book “Eat the Frog,” you should tackle the most difficult or complex tasks of the day first thing in the morning when you’re at your freshest. Doing so will give you the dopamine rush of accomplishing something worthwhile and set a positive tone for the day. This also prevents you from procrastinating on important action items while establishing a momentum that will make other tasks seem easy by comparison!
5. Prioritize “Deep Work”
“Deep work” is a concept from Cal Newport that gives you the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task so you can quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work is the product of your time spent working on the most important tasks multiplied by the depth of focus you can bring to the work. You can achieve such a high level of productivity by blocking out uninterrupted time each day to work on your most important objectives with intense focus.
6. Take a Nap, Strategically
Taking a nap during the day can do wonders for your physical and mental health — especially if you plan to work late, slept poorly the night before, or need a boost of energy. However, you have to nap strategically to reap the most benefits.
Time your nap right (about 20 to 30 minutes) to avoid grogginess and sleep inertia. Plan your caffeine consumption right before you nap so you can wake up energized. Schedule your nap (e.g., 5-6 hours after you wake up) so it doesn’t interfere with your bedtime, create a dark, quiet, calm environment, and use eye masks and earplugs to tune out distractions. Some companies even set up mattresses in areas of the office so you can quickly get some shut eye.
7. Stay Upbeat During the Day
Your mood can have a significant impact on your productivity. Check-in with yourself regularly during the day and “course correct” if you find your mood heading the wrong direction. Besides taking a nap, you can stay upbeat by eating a mood-boosting snack (e.g., nuts, bananas) or doing some mindful breathing exercises to release stress. Also, take a walk outside since exposure to sunlight can uplift your mood and boost productivity.
8. Plan For Tomorrow
Before wrapping up your day, take a few minutes to plan your schedule for tomorrow. This will allow you to hit the ground running when you wake up instead of losing the precious momentum on figuring out what to do. You’ll start your day organized, knowing exactly what high-value activities to tackle first, and how to chain together meetings and appointments to make the most of your time.
9. Track Progress and Celebrate Success
To make sure you’re doing work that’ll achieve the results you want, keep track of your progress to make sure you’re heading the right direction. Set milestones for your projects, record benchmarks, and measure relevant metrics — doing so helps make your hard work tangible and allows you to visualize your achievements. Also, celebrate success regularly, no matter how small they seem. This will help you stay motivated and upbeat, which will, in turn, boost your productivity so you can achieve more.