Good habits are the foundation on which most successful entrepreneurs build their business. According to Aristotle -
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
They realize that where their focus and energy is directed matters to achieving their goals. For those of us who struggle with poor habits there is hope. With perseverance and hard work you too can develop the habits of the successful.
According to Charles Duhigg (author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business), studies show that people perform automated behaviors the same way every time if they are in the same environment. Leveraging this behavior allows successful entrepreneurs to avoid decision fatigue and instead focus on more important things.
So what habits can help you get on the path to success? Well there a number to choose from but here are 11 researched backed habits.
A NASA study of 4000 of their employees showed that those that took a 30 minute break to recharge themselves, increased productivity by 35% and improved decision making by up to 50%, compared to those that didn’t.
While recharge rituals vary from person to person they are a key part of successful people's lives. Take entrepreneurs like Joel Gascoigne, Alexis Grant and Elaine Wherry.
Here are some ideas to help you create your recharge ritual. Be sure to test and keep trying till something works for you. :
According to Psychology Today, spending time alone improves your ability to focus, and increases your productivity. In fact many entrepreneurs actually look forward to this habit and ritual in order to energize themselves and make better decisions.
So schedule in time by yourself so that you can benefit from this habit. Here are a few idea of how to effectively develop and reinforce the habit.
A series of studies shows that taking time out to reflect teaches you to do it better next time and boosts performance. According to a study done at Stanford University, taking time to reflect instead of working extra hours will make you more productive.
It is a daily habit that has become invaluable to entrepreneurs including David Heinemeier Hansson and Marc Andreessen. So how can you create the habit of reflection despite your busy schedule. Here are a few ideas:
In 2010, researchers at the University of Maryland published a study that indicated students compared their internet use to addiction. It also showed that constant multi-tasking never increased productivity. In fact the use of technology leads to increased stress, anxiety and can make you dumber.
How do you create the habit of disconnecting from technology? Here are a few ideas.
According to researchers at Duke University, well-formed habits become automatic responses. Successful entrepreneurs realize they can leverage this and take the time to develop habits that help them succeed.
One of the most crucial things any person can do to get productive is to plan their week ahead. Jack Dorsey at one point led two companies at the same time. His secret to being productive and getting things done was to plan his week ahead of time. He used to give each day of the week a theme.
Here are a few ideas you can implement as you plan your week ahead of time.
According to Lifehack, many successful entrepreneurs use exercise as the ultimate stress reliever. In fact Jack Dorsey co founder at Twitter says that people just need to squeeze in time for moderate daily exercise and be are aware of how not being healthy can harm productivity.
Microadventures are small little adventures that you can look forward to during your day at work. This may mean taking a walk to a cafe to grab a cup of coffee, or simply sitting outside at a park for a few minutes to recharge.
Alastair Humpreys coined the term microadventures and his tips to start out with this habit include:
According to research done at Stanford University, regular sleep helps you manage your time better. Research also show health benefits including the ability to regulate your hormone levels. Other research also shows that your body actually prepares you for the time that it believes you are prepared to wake up leading to a more productive day.
It works many people including CEO’s the likes of Jeff Immelt and Ursulal Burns.
How do you wake up at the same time everyday? Mental Floss provides some insights.
“If you follow a diligent sleep routine—waking up the same time every day—your body learns to increase your PER levels in time for your alarm. About an hour before you’re supposed to wake up, PER levels rise (along with your body temperature and blood pressure). To prepare for the stress of waking, your body releases a cocktail of stress hormones, like cortisol. Gradually, your sleep becomes lighter and lighter.”
According to research we all have a reservoir of will and discipline that gets depleted each time we make a decision. To conserve willpower for important decision making, you need to make regular routines that have little value, automatic.
For example take the clothes you wear. President Obama and Mark Zuckerberg are known to wear the same colored clothes in public, in order to minimize their time on trivial things like the color of clothes they wear.
Here are a few ideas to help minimize your chores and tasks:
Research suggests that morning people are more productive than those who stay up late at night in terms of their willingness to take action. Steven Benna in this post says that research also suggests that setting your morning routine, and including a quick breakfast will help you maintain your productivity throughout the day. In fact it is a habit that seems to work well for the likes of Richard Branson and Tim Cook.
Try these ideas to create a morning routine for productivity:
Networking is essential for the successful entrepreneur, in fact it can be the lifeblood of a business due to the connections and business referrals you can get out of it. But with the busyness of everyday life it can often be neglected. Forbes Magazine states that you can improve your networking skills if this is an area in which you are lacking.
How can you include time to create the habit of networking and attending meetings? Here are a few tips.
While the above research-backed habits provide some ideas to help you become successful they are not a complete list.
These habits may seem so simple that you may be tempted to dismiss them as non-essential. But as research proves those that develop good habits will find themselves ahead of the pack every week.
Do you have a favorite habit or ritual that helps you? Share with us in the comments!