BONUS - DAILY HABITS AND INTERVIEW
THE PRODUCTIVITY HABITS OF 15 STARTUP FOUNDERS
What's the best way to start and end each day?
This is a question I've asked and been asked many times. We are all different so I don't believe there is any one size fits all for everyone.
After interviewing and talking to dozens of people though on what they do, there are definitely a number of commonalities.
Here is what I have personally found to be most effective in my life and what other entrepreneurs and high performing people do.
THE MORNING STARTUP ROUTINE
- 1. Water - Your body is dehydrated when you wake up. The first thing that should go in is one or two glasses of water (Feel free to add a lemon). It kick starts your body and metabolism into switching on.
- 2. Dynamic Stretch Routine (10 min) - Remember that Stretch Routine I provided in Pillar 3? Now is the time to use it. Your muscles have been inactive for 8 hours while you slept. If you want to create energy in your day, you need to actively switch them on. If you don't workout in the morning, make sure to do this.
- 3. Journaling / Gratitude (5 min) - The first step to put yourself in a positive and motivated mindset for the day. Write down what will make your day ahead great and what you are grateful for. If you want, try the 5 minute journal.
- 4. Read or Listen to Audible (20-30min) - Read or listen to something while you commute in or are still at home. Something that motivates you, energizes you and that you learn from. Starting the day with confidence and positive energy is immensely powerful.
- 5. Go Time - Grab a tea, coffee and an optimized breakfast (unless your doing intermittent fasting ) as we discussed in Pillar 2 and get ready to go!
THE NIGHTLY SHUTDOWN ROUTINE
- 1. Prep a Calming Tea or Glass of Wine - The objective before bed is to start putting your body in a calm and relaxed. Remember do less. Many herbal teas work great or a glass of wine can work wonders after a busy day.
- 2. Static Stretch Routine (10 min) -In the morning we wanted to get the blood flowing more, now we want to relax our muscles. Do static stretches where you hold the muscle in a stretch for at least 30 seconds. This will relax your entire body and avoid you going to bed with tight muscles. Your body will thank you.
- 3. Journaling / Gratitude (5 min) - It's great to end your day on a positive as well. Journal what went well during the day and what you think you could have done better. It's an incredibly calming tactic to take all the thoughts in your head and put them on paper.
- 4. Read (20-30min) - Whenever I read for about 20-30 minutes before bed I find I sleep like a baby. Read something that's not too intense so you won't be up all night thinking about it.
- 5. Dim the lights and listen to Delta Waves - As we learned, lights are detrimental to us trying to get to sleep. Dim to a really low light level and put on delta waves for those days where your mind is really racing.
Name your top habits you have that help you stay highly productive and motivated each day?
I use three specific tactics each day to prepare my body and mind. These are sitting meditation, regularly moving my body through working out, walking and yoga along with Bulletproof tea for sustained energy.
Dave Burns. Founder at The Business Monk
Proper sleep pattern is critical to me. Everything you do is impacted by the quality of your sleep, why would you mess around with this? I also ensure I keep an avid curiosity by reading stimulating things and expressing gratitude by spending time with my family.
Ameer Rosic. Founder at BlockGeeks
I start and end each day writing down what I am grateful for in the Five Minute Journal. This helps keep everything in perspective. I also use the productivity Planner to plan out my entire day and meditate regularly.
UJ Ramdas. Co-founder at Intelligent Change
I use conscious focus and then relaxation. I do a block of 30-90 minutes of heads down work, and then I take a break of roughly 30 minutes. REAL focused work is incredibly powerful and most people just never do it.
I'm not a big fan of grinding, as your throughput and quality just suffers greatly.
Sol Orwell. Founder at Examine.com
I distill all tasks into a top 10 ranking of importance for the day. I then start at top and do just that task till completion before going on to the next.
I also regularly review tasks and push them to a later date if they are less urgent. I have folders of pushed tasks that I never look at until that date, which takes those tasks totally out of my consciousness till then. This allows total focus on current top action items.
Creating this back log of less important tasks also allows your staff to know exactly what they should work on when their time frees up. The question of them asking “what do I do?” doesn’t come up. Instead they always come to me with multiple options, and their recommendation. This exercises their judgment, and leads eventually to them being able to handle all decisions independently without consulting me.
I optimize my nutrition intake each day to avoid the energy crash that can happen. For me, this means I avoid carbs most of the time. Serotonin is a hormone secreted by carbs and generally you want to avoid that when you are trying to get things done.
I also avoid alcohol. In my younger days, I abused this a little too much. However, I've since given up alcohol (about 3 years ago) because the hangover and side effects impacted my entire week. I simply just wasn't able to perform as effectively as I do now.
I start each day prioritizing fitness and meditation. I work out in one form or another every morning as well as meditate daily. My workouts alternate between several options so each morning feels interesting: kettle bells, weights, kungfu, a 1 hr walk, ecstatic dance, or a qi gong + pranayama set (for lazy mornings).
I use a ton of digital tools to stay hyper productive when I'm at the keyboard. My 3 favorite tools are Instapage.com for making marketing pages, TextExpander for speeding up any actions on the keyboard, and lastly FoxType for making sure I send emails that are polite.
I wake up in the morning, check my schedule for the day and make a specific to-do list of what I want to achieve that day. It ensures I stay focused. I don’t only do this for each day but also for weeks and months. This is so I always have targets for a given week and a given month and work towards fulfilling them.
Sometimes stepping out of the office and working from a different place helps. A change of scenery keeps things fresh. I like sitting down in a nearby coffee shop to prepare for important meetings.
I approach the day with massive organization, knowing what myself and my assistant need to get accomplished. I work out every single morning before starting my day and then spend some time getting dressed up. We all feel more confident when we look good and it’s noticeable in how you approach the day. I spend a large chunk of my day calling (actually calling with a phone) and connecting with other entrepreneurs and business partners. This helps me provide value where need be and build potential deals. I’ve made many close friends this way and I find it keeps things interesting and worthwhile.