Chasing deadlines, crunching numbers and pushing innovation are components of '"just another day at work" for startup owners. They have a lot on their plates, knowing that 80 to 90 percent of startups fail in the growth stage.
Given all this pressure and constant workload,startup owners are left with no time for themselves. And that's a shame because little do these entrepreneurs know that following the tried-and-tested habits described below -- ones successful owners follow all the time -- can boost their productivity like never before.
Here they are:
1. Get moving -- any time of day
Indulging in a fitness activity is the best way to kick-start your mornings, as exemplified by numerous entrepreneurs, leaders and CEOs.
Hit the gym or go for brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, yoga, or simply take your dog out for a walk. Not only does physical activity add to your health and wellbeing, it also sets the tone for the day, leading to better performance at work.
Not all of us are early birds like Richard Branson and Jack Dorsey. However, you can always make time for a quick workout in your schedule even if it's not at the crack of dawn.
As Russell Pate, a professor of exercise science at the University of South Carolina said in an American Heart Association article:"The best time of the day is when you will do it most consistently, because the benefits of physical activity are tightly linked to the amount you do on a consistent basis."
2. Network. It's the key to growth.
Constantly being in touch with people who subscribe to the same school of thought you do is a definite morale-booster. The incessant flow of knowledge, the wide access to multiple opportunities and the sharing of ideas with influencers and peers at various business and social events raises the bar for any business.
Network with them on social media, join organizations, attend local meet-ups and drop in at business seminars or at meetings at co-working spaces. Also, don't forget to follow up.
3. Take frequent breaks between work tasks.
Researchers have found that brief diversions from a task have the potential to vastly improve focus on a task for prolonged periods. This also supports the belief that skipping breaks can result in stress. This means that scheduling a 15-minute break before burning out does more good than harm.
Wondering about the frequency of your breaks versus your need to boost your productivity? Studies point to working consecutively for 52 minutes followed by a 17-minute break. Another article advises "unplugging" every 90 minutes.
4. Remember: "Reading maketh an entrepreneur."
Reading is a common pastime that unites highly successful people.
- Elon Musk reportedly said ,"I read books" when asked how he learned to build rockets.
- Warren Buffett spends 80 percent of his day reading.
- Bill Gates is a known bookworm and reads up to 50 books in a year. He also collects rare books.
- In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg pledged to read a book every two weeks.
- Entrepreneur David Rubenstein takes reading to the extreme level by -- he claims --reading six books a week and 10 newspapers a day.
So, step into the shoes of entrepreneurs like these who love reading, and put some good books on your reading list to add to your personal and professional growth.
5. Pursue some hobbies (even if they are offbeat).
Rich and famous entrepreneurs also pursue unusual hobbies.
As Marissa Mayer put it, "My hobbies actually make me better at work. They help me come up with new and innovative ways of looking at things." While Mayer has a penchant for cupcakes, other entrepreneurs have just as individual hobbies and interests:
- Warren Buffett's his passion for ukulele is well documented. He has even played a duet with Jon Bon Jovi.
- Elon Musk collects James Bond Memorabilia.
- The Segway Polo world championship is also known as the Woz Challenge Cup after Steve Wozniak of Apple who's an avid player of the "sport of nerds."
- Jeff Bezos is funding the construction of the 10,000-year clock in New Mexico.
- Richard Branson's stint at a hot-air balloon flight across the Pacific Ocean reflected just one of his diverse interests.
Take up any hobby of your choice that'll help you unwind after a hard day's work. It'll add to your personality and get your creative juices flowing.
6. Never stop learning.
This one's a no-brainer. You should strive to get better with each passing day. Even Bill Gates attributes his success to the fact that he never wanted to stop learning.
Stay on top of the startup game by being aware of the latest happenings and trends in your industry. At the same time, constantly add new skills to your arsenal and use them for the betterment of your startup.
7. Practice philanthropy -- give back.
Integrated philanthropy is another common trait successful entrepreneurs share.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Marc Benioff's 1/1/1 Model are all examples of founders giving back and exhibiting social responsibility. More recently, Airbnb's co-founders committed half their fortunes to charity. And while Steve Jobs was criticized for not being philanthropic enough, it was later revealed that he donated $50 million to hospitals in California, and funded HIV and AIDS research.
Take the cue from people like these and work toward giving back to society in some way or another.