Have you wondered what are the things that successful business owners do? Habits truly are a powerful thing. Develop the wrong set of habits and you are destined to fail in various ways. Develop the right ones, however, and chances are you will soon see your business thriving, regardless of the economic environment.
These ten life-changing habits that you should adapt today to accelerate your success in business; and virtually every other area of your life.
1. Have a Daily Morning Routine
The way you start your day has a major effect on how it will pan out. If you have a sleep-in, a long breakfast in bed and don’t leave the house until after 1pm, it’s unlikely it’s going to be super productive day. If you get up early, however, and have a routine that puts you in the right mind frame, you are much more likely to have an extraordinary day.
I was first introduced to the idea of a morning routine by Tony Robbins with his Hour of Power.
A while ago I came across a book called The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, which is all about developing a morning routine designed to fit into your everyday lifestyle. This one habit alone, if implemented into your daily life, will catapult you into a different league.
(Don’t think I don’t love having a sleep-in every now and then. They surely have their place.)
2. Regularly Schedule Implementation Days
Boost your productivity by incorporating implementation days into your work. I started having these days with my clients, where we plan out an entire day in advance and then set a date where I come into the business and help them implement a certain strategy. These days have literally doubled my productivity, compared to working on a project for a couple of hours and over a number of days. My credo on those days is that I’m not leaving until our to do list is completed.
Be sure to have a well-planned agenda for the day. I usually plan it out a few days in advance and schedule tasks in 15-minute slots.
3. Go on an Information Diet
I am a big personal development junkie. I believe that we should never stop learning, evolving, and striving to fulfill our true potential, at work and in our personal lives. However, taking time to let your mind rest and reflect is in fact necessary to keep high levels of productivity (and your sanity). Take a few weeks every now and then where you consciously reflect on what you have learned and focus on actually using your newly acquired knowledge. It’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of jumping onto the latest tool and strategy without ever having implemented anything you learned in the past. Remember, the best strategy of all is the one you implement, not the ones stuck in your head.
During this time, try to also stay away from technology, email and social media as much as possible. I like to have occasional no-tech weekends with my kids to enjoy quality time without all the daily distraction.
4. Develop a 90-Day Action Plan
Four days per year that can change the entire course of your life. Literally.
Take a day every quarter to re-write your vision for your life and business. Get clear about where you want to be in life in 2 years, 5 years or 10 years from now. Then think of the 5 tasks or projects that you believe will have the biggest impact in moving you closer to your goals. It might be launching a new website or implementing a new lead generation strategy. Make sure you it’s not more than 5, as you are much more likely to lose motivation if you pick too many. Make these 5 projects your absolute priority for the next 90 days.
Hint: It’s often the things that are not urgent that are in fact the most important ones to work on. We tend to give all of our attention to the most urgent tasks and as a result never actually get to the things that truly matter. A great way to ensure you will actually tick off your top 5 projects is to schedule a number of implementation days (see habit #2).
5. Write a blog or journal
When we write down our thoughts and ideas, our brains are forced to organise these thoughts. This will help you to clear your head and bring structure into all the knowledge you have acquired through seminars, podcasts, books or audio books. Every now and then, I take the time to sit down, pick a topic and simply put everything on paper that shoots into my head. It doesn’t always end up on my blog but it helps to get it all out of my head. If you don’t want to make it public, you can simply keep a journal instead.
6. Pay attention to what you pay attention to
Did you ever pick up your phone to quickly check your emails or look something up and suddenly realised that an hour has passed? After checking your numerous social media profiles and watching yet another useless YouTube video, you ask yourself, where did all this time go? With all the noise and distraction these days, it’s easy to get sidetracked and lose focus. Fact is, the more you indulge in these distractions, the harder it will become for you to regain focus and dedicate your time to what truly matters. You can think about it this way. We all start our day with a limited number of attention credits. Every time you pay attention to something you are giving away some of your credits. Until you have no more credits left to focus on the right things. That’s when most people simply zone out and turn to Netflix. Be mindful of how you spend your time and stop wasting precious attention credits.
7. Practice the 80/20 rule
The 80/20 rule – also called the Pareto Principle – has been around for over a hundred years and states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. For example:
80% of your problems can be attributed to 20% of causes
80% of your profits come from 20% of your customers
80% of complaints come from 20% of your customers
80% of your profits come from 20% of the time you spent
80% of your sales come from 20% of your products or services
By focusing on the 20% of tasks that make the biggest difference in your business you will free up a lot of your time and drastically increase productivity and profits.
Ask yourself, who are the 20% of your customers that generate 80% of your turnover? Or who are the 20% of your customers that create 80% of your headaches? Maybe it’s time to let them go? (Yes, sometimes it’s wise to fire our customers.)
8. Have a not-to-do list
We are often so busy worrying about all the things we need to do that we don’t realise that we fill our spare time with habits that are not only unproductive, but can be absolutely draining, even harmful to our bodies, minds and overall health. There used to be a time where I’d come home after a long day of work and, without giving it any thought, switch on the TV, wasting the rest of my precious evening. I’d watch random shows, go to bed late and wake up the next morning exhausted and with a lack of motivation. The longer I kept going, the harder it seemed to break the cycle. Until I made a conscious decision to change my habits. A not-to-do list was a great start and helped me keep on track. My list looked somewhat like this:
- Do not switch on the TV when coming home
- Do not check your phone at random intervals and get sidetracked
- Do not eat out of boredom
You get the picture. I then added things I could do to replace my old habits. Instead of watching TV, I would go for a run, have a shower and go out with my kids for an hour. Instead of having my phone next to me at all times, I started switching it off during times where I want to be productive and only check my messages during a break or at the end of my day. What are some bad habits that you should/could stop doing right now? You probably already know what they are.
9. Have a Think Week
In his book Essentialism, Greg McKeown writes about the concept of Think Week. A week where you take time out of your busy schedule to simply indulge in good books, articles and magazines to learn, gain new insights and, most importantly, think. We are often too busy to think about if what we are doing right now is still congruent with our values and purpose. Taking time out to re-evaluate where we are and where we want to go in our lives is crucial to our success and, more importantly, our happiness.
If you are too busy to take an entire week off, start by dedicating a few minutes each day to read, learn and reflect. Your morning routine would be a perfect time for this (see habit #1).
10. Streamline & Automate Tedious, Repetitive Processes
One of the fastest ways to free up your time and budget is without a doubt the use of the right tools and software to streamline and automate the most time-consuming processes in your business. With the technology available today, many repetitive tasks can easily be fully automated, so you can focus on the things that truly matter to you.
Here are just a few things that I have helped business owners to automate and streamline:
- Lead generation
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Answering Customer Questions and Enquiries
How many of these things are you currently doing yourself or have staff doing, when they can be fully automated? The goal of my 90-Day Marketing Transformation program is to automate all of the above, as well as other aspects in your particular business. You can find out more about the program here.
Do you have certain habits that help you to be more productive and accelerate success? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below to share what’s worked for you or what challenges you are facing right now that are holding you back.
To your success,