As an entrepreneur or a high achiever, you may be overwhelmed with seemingly endless work or the general feeling that there’s not enough time to do everything you want to do. To make it through the day, it’s easy to fall into “bad habits” or let tasks fall to the wayside. However, it is important to establish positive habits to set yourself up for later success. Setting goals and boundaries, both personally and professionally, is necessary to sustain the life you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
To get a better idea of what that might look like, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council to share positive habits they’ve found that have led to success. Here’s what they suggest:
1. Create a task list first thing in the morning.
Every morning before the day begins, and sometimes even as the previous one is ending, I like to briefly review my upcoming tasks for the next day and then prioritize them according to importance. Just spending this short 15 minutes allows me to have absolutely everything in alignment, and the result of that is a much better and more efficient day.
2. Share difficult problems you’re working through.
I’ve never understood founders who keep things “close to the vest.” When we’re wrestling with a major issue, I talk about it with anyone who will listen! Working through the problem with different people yields different ideas. As importantly, people will want to help you, and you never know who is connected to the person who can ultimately help you solve your issue.
3. Practice transparency.
Being 100 percent open and transparent at all times has been my guiding light for over a decade now. Honesty is indeed the best policy. It helps in clearing out conflicts as early as possible, building healthy business relationships based on trust and commanding a respectful corporate brand.
Running on a regular schedule helps me to actually clear my mind and focus on what the biggest things are to help me succeed both at work and in life. The release of endorphins is key for sustaining a happier state of mind, focus, energy and overall positive moods.
5. Eat healthy.
What you eat can make or break your day. I used to eat so many sugar-filled, processed foods because I was super busy and that was what was quick and available. But I felt lethargic and gross. I was doing a million things and didn’t have time to worry about what I was eating. But it affected my day. So now I bring healthy snacks with me every day, and I’m sharper and more productive longer.
6. Follow up.
I am a firm believer in following up on every significant encounter in my professional life. It doesn’t matter if I’m working with a new investor, giving performance reviews or helping resolve internal conflict. I always try to follow up with the other part so we are always on the same page. I believe this led to my success because it resolves issues before they arise.
Even if it is only for five minutes, when things really ramp up and my day is getting hectic, I now take a step back and meditate. This short break allows me to refocus, take a breath and remember what is important at that moment. This is a newer habit for me, but it has been tremendously helpful in keeping me on track and productive.
8. Let go.
Most problems are not as serious as they seem. Learn to let go of things that are not important in the long run. Here’s a simple reality check exercise: If something won’t matter a month from now, don’t even bother to stress about it. Once you learn to let some issues slide, you’ll realize these were not the real issues in the first place.
9. Carve out time for what matters.
As a mother, running a business can be difficult. But if you want to succeed, you’ve got to be able to find the time. Being able to squeeze as many minutes out of your day is an important skill to have. It not only takes time management skills but also perseverance and determination. It’s also important not to get overwhelmed: You have to plan your day in order to get the most out of it.
10. Practice skills.
I spend a lot of time practicing my skills to improve them. That takes time, but it pays off in the long run because it sets me apart from those not willing to practice. It’s like sports or an instrument: The more time you put in, the better you get. I apply that to anything I use in my job and it gives me similar results.
We don’t understand all the psychology behind why certain techniques for success work and others don’t, but a popular one I’ve been trying lately is talking myself up in the mirror. There’s something about repeating positive mantras to yourself that works—it gets you pumped for the day and ready to tackle its challenges.
12. Put people first.
Some days I spend more time on other people’s priorities than my own. However, my “service first” attitude is one of my favorite parts of being an entrepreneur. I’ve found that when I go out of my way to be helpful and accommodating, I almost always see a return on investment. Plus, befriending interesting people challenges me and makes me better. Give all that you can, as often as you can, to anyone you can.
13. Reach out to people you admire.
Talking to people I admire within the industry, as well as watching people online with a wealth of knowledge are building blocks to success. You get to look inside the mind of someone whose work ethic and motivation you envy, and it makes you think about things differently. Talking to people I admire, and whose success level I want to reach, only motivates me to get the ball rolling.
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprising the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.