7 Productivity Habits of Successful Startup Founders
Topic Highlight: Our habits determine the quality of our lives, and so we shouldn’t skimp on the quality of our habits. If you developed some of these habits yourself, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if you got some of the same success as the entrepreneurs behind them.
Let’s face it. Entrepreneurship isn’t something you do if you’re faint-hearted. You have to walk the unbeaten path, work on gathering a vast amount of resources from nothing after having started from nothing, and take some incredible risks on your way there.
The energy you need to become a successful entrepreneur is usually a preserve of the young. That’s why so many entrepreneurs start out in their 20s when they have most of the energy required. That’s not to mean that you can’t start out later, though.
There are plenty of other things you need on the way to success, such as creativity, knowledge, experience, and more than a little wisdom, all things that the old have a lot more of than the young. And so entrepreneurship is a mixed bag if you really take your time to think about it. Add to that the fact that about 90% of startups will fail and you realize you’re in a race against failure from the very moment you start.
That means that it takes a lot to beat the odds to be successful. There must be something special about the entrepreneurs who make it big. They start out with no wealth, no business experience, and no network. Then they become more successful in the span of a few years than most people will ever be over the course of their entire lives.
“We believe it’s all about productivity”, says David Ingram of Essay On Time. He was one of the initial employees and watched the business bootstrap itself to success. “You need to have the grit to stay productive, even when there doesn’t seem to be an immediate reward for doing so. That’s what spurs you forward and gets you through the hard times.”
We’re inclined to agree with David. In fact, a lot of the entrepreneurs and Startup founders we’ve interviewed echo the same sentiments in one form or another. This article isn’t going to be generic about hacks anyone can tell you about. You’ll probably walk away with a been-there-done-that attitude. We want to go to the real guys who make it happen every day and listen to their opinions on the matter. So strap yourself in and prepare for a wild ride.
1. Have a well-organized schedule
Rameet Chawla of Fueled believes it’s all about your schedule. He says his goal is to be as consistent as he can with his schedule from day to day. That makes him live a lifestyle that allows for the most work and productivity to be got out of each day of hard work. He believes it is his ability to prioritize that has allowed Fueled to grow as rapidly as it has.
Rameet is always done with his dinner by 11 pm. Later, he works hard until 330 am. He sets aside that time to be both creative and productive. That’s when he answers emails and thinks critically about the most important things pertaining to his business and his life in general. He then goes to bed at 4 am and later wakes up without the help of an alarm clock.
2. An important question to ask yourself at the EOD
Jesse Lear of V.I.P Waste Services has an important question that he asks himself every day before he goes to bed, and he believes it has proven to be the secret of his productivity over the years. He asks himself “If I live every day the same way I did today, what kind of future would that create?”
When you ask yourself a question like that, you’re forced to evaluate the actions you take every single day and ask yourself if they line up well with your priorities. Jesse Lear believes that it’s pretty hard to lie to yourself when you ask yourself that kind of question. You know what your dreams and priorities are in life and you will instinctively know if you’re actively working towards them or not.
At the very least, this kind of question helps you get things in perspective and plan your day well so that every single action you take helps to create a brighter future for you and those around you. The future is shaped with every single day that comes around. It’s always right there, at the corner, waiting for us to change it.
3. Take some Time off to gather Perspective
Ryan Kania is the founder of Advocates for World Health and he goes on a long hike every weekend to someplace that he’s never been to before. Sometimes he takes hikes for up to 4 hours. He takes an old notebook with him and lets his thoughts flow, not forcing anything.
The habit helps him to relieve stress as well as unpack his ideas for the following week. It’s a form of meditation if you think about it. He evaluates ideas and figures out how they fit into his business. That way, he is better able to bring them to reality.
4. Take a Contrast Shower in the Morning
Phil Dumontet is the founder of Dashed and he takes hot-cold contrast showers every morning. He says he’s done it every morning for the past 14 years, no matter where he’s been at the time. He would alternate between hot and cold every 30 seconds and it would give him the clarity to start his day feeling refreshed.
5. Do a lot of Reflection on Open Questions
Danielle Fong, the co-founder of Light Sail Energy, believes you should do this a lot, and especially consider critical open questions from as many different perspectives as you can. LightSail Technologies has explored a lot of different technologies and Danielle believes that the company has been able to do that by trying to answer the open question. Her trick is also not to always go for the first answer to come to mind but instead to cultivate a slow hunch attitude to the matter.
6. Set Weekly and Monthly Goals
Patrick Ambron, the co-founder of Brand Yourself believes that you shouldn’t try to do the millions of things you can do to improve your business and life all at once. You will probably make absolutely no progress. He, therefore, sets 3 kinds of goals that work together to help him work toward his goals.
These are daily goals, weekly goals, and every other kind of goal. Bu holding weekly meetings at the office, the company is able to evaluate where it is in terms of pursuing its goals.
7. Use the Power of Lists to your Advantage
Jonathon Nostrant, the founder of Ivee, has a habit of creating a list for everything he’s going to do on a material day for the first hour after he arrives at the office. He records the lists on his iPad and then links them to his email with Gmail Tasks. It forces him to take stock of his short and long-term plans before he even begins to execute them.