These 21 business habits changed my life
These 21 business habits I am about to share with you, combined with learning to love and accept myself fully, are what I attribute to the quality and success of the life I live now…travelling the world in luxury with my husband, doing what I love every day.
My life used to be like a rollercoaster ride! I would experience incredible highs but they would be followed by some sharp corners and some pretty deep, dark lows. Nowadays, I still get to experience remarkable heights but there is much more stability in my life. If I have a low period it’s very short-lived and nowhere near as dark.
By implementing these business habits into your own life I know they can have a positive impact on your life and business success for you too.
1. Scheduled me time
This one is first in the list for a reason! Part of my daily “official” schedule includes time for me to do my own tasks, projects, self-care and things I love.
I’ve learned that it’s important for me to look after me first because it boosts my productivity even more. This is why I get up at 4am every day.
By doing so, it allows me time to write, exercise, get focused, and get my learning in before the day starts. Plus, because I am happier, I then get more done and am much more fun to be around.
This is why scheduling me time is the opposite of selfish, it's actually smart!
Sometimes, as a result, I can book in a massage, nail appointment or lunch date with a girlfriend during the day too. Double bonus!
2. Give yourself deadlines
With every project or task I have to complete I give myself a deadline. A specific time limit to have it done by. Then I tell someone about it to hold myself accountable.
This stops perfectionism (and procrastination) creeping in and keeps my fear monkey under control.
Yes, it may not get done “perfectly” but I have learned that having it actually get done is much more productive and conducive to success and achieving goals.
This is ultimately much more satisfying than having it done perfectly.
3. Focus on one thing at a time
There’s no such thing as multi-tasking successfully. Yes, even for women! It’s a scientific fact.
The reason women appear to multi-task is because of their ability to jump from one topic to another. But at any given moment they are actually focusing on one thing at a time.
I used to think I was the queen of multi-tasking but nowadays I choose one thing to focus on at a time and give it my full attention. I set a specific deadline, and then go for it. Giving it all I've got.
I have found I am much more productive this way.
I also plan my day in blocks of 40 minutes, don’t check my emails until mid-morning and again mid-afternoon, and schedule meetings on set days and times only.
4. Minimise distractions
We all know this one but implementing it is another thing altogether.
To achieve this I have turned off all of my computer and phone notifications. I’ve come to realise that if I don’t get back to someone's email immediately, the world isn’t going to end.
My phone also remains on silent the majority of the day. This enables me to be fully present with what I am doing or who I am speaking to or meeting with.
By limiting my distractions, I am MUCH more productive and therefore able to serve people better in the long run. This alone is one of my best success habits.
5. Take regular breaks
I used to think I was a productivity machine! And in a way I was but, with that, came burnout, and quite regularly.
These days I take regular breaks throughout the day and this ensures my performance is much more consistent and sustainable. I also don't work on weekends.
With my schedule, I choose a topic or task for each hour. Then I focus like crazy for 40 minutes leaving the remainder for taking a toilet break or stretching.
Every couple of hours I take a complete break and go for a walk, do some exercise, wash the dishes, play with the dog, bake something etc
This balance only keeps me focussed and stops me from burnout, but I’m more productive now than I’ve ever been because I know I only have 40 minutes to get it done.
6. Get an accountability buddy
I have THE MOST incredible accountability buddy and am a firm believer that we all need at least one of these to succeed.
Having a posse of people who “have your back” as well as at least one specific buddy to keep you accountable, has turned my life around.
Choosing someone who will “call you out” when you aren’t being true to yourself has made me much more successful than I ever could have been on my own. And that's the key.
You don't have to do all of this on your own. Find someone to bounce ideas off, hold your feet to the fire, cheer you on when you need it.
Make a commitment and start looking for the right person(s) now. Post on FB even. They are out there and looking for someone just like you to buddy up with for the same reasons.
7. Honour your own style
It took me a while but eventually, I realised I am a visual learner. I'm a big picture visual creator and basically, all things start and finish with me with something visual.
Accepting that is who I am instead of feeling guilty and trying to be more like everyone else around me (kinaesthetic, verbal, or aural) has been a game changer.
I have also educated all those around me such as my team, business partners, friends and hubby. To balance it all out I even hired an assistant who is the total opposite.
Best thing I ever did because now everyone else understands the best way to communicate with me too. Don’t get me to read or listen to something, show me a picture instead!
Honouring who I am instead of fighting against it has made a world of difference in my life and I know it will in yours too.
8. Clear your head regularly
I believe it’s so important to capture creativity when it happens. That’s why before I go to bed at night I dump anything and everything that’s sitting in my head, onto a digital notepad called Evernote.
It’s there for any ideas or thoughts I have during the night too (because I can rarely remember them the next day).
If I am out and about there's Evernote on my phone too. Any time of the day if I have a random idea or thought about another topic or business I can add it in.
If I am unable to write it down in Evernote I use Voxer to record it so my assistant can file it appropriately until I am ready to action it.
By doing this it clears my head to be as creative as it needs to be. Allowing space for new ideas. Capturing it all while I am in the 'flow'.
9. Make automation your friend
I am a big believer in systemising everything! This creates consistency, clarity and makes it easy to stay focused.
By adding automation into some of the systems has meant I have so much more time to do the things I really love to do.
For example, I utilise my website for on-boarding, memberships, courses and forms, email autoresponders to build relationships, and calendar booking systems just to name a few.
This means I don’t have to manage every single part of my businesses, there's no downtime with new employees and it builds my businesses all day, every day.
If done right, automations won't feel automatic to the end user either which is often a concern. We've all received those non-personal emails. Technology today enables personalisation and so much more.
10. Learn to let things go
I’ve learned to choose my battles wisely and make sure they are worth the fight. For everything else, just let it go!
Like the book “Don’t sweat the small stuff” by Richard Carlson says it’s all about not letting the little things in life drive you crazy.
Practicing how to let things go is a hugely valuable tool for building strong relationships, reducing stress and increasing success.
A great question I ask myself is, “Will this matter to me in twelve-months-time?”
There's also the practice of letting tasks go and delegating them confidently to others.
This too is a valuable skill to give yourself more time, and more sanity in life and in business.
11. Practice saying no
It’s such a short yet powerful little word. Joined together with “thank you” it works to set and enforce your boundaries.
Learning to say “no thank you”, knowing my own boundaries and limits, and respecting those boundaries, has been a hugely valuable success habit to have.
Doing this without apologising has been the next level. When you feel you have to defend yourself, it’s coming from a place of shame, guilt and fear.
Learning to say no without giving reasons or excuses was also hugely empowering for my confidence because I was no longer defending my choices.
This sends a message not only to the universe that you are worthy and valuable. It also sends a message to the other person that you are in control of your life and time.
12. Reduce your reactivity
There’s a great saying that goes something like, “A lack of planning on your part, does not constitute an emergency on mine”.
Once I grasped this to its full potential I stopped being reactive to other people’s 'emergencies'.
Don't get me wrong, if someone really is in an emergency and I can help I will. The difference is I no longer do it at the expense of my own health, happiness or success.
Planning out my day the night before has also limited the emergencies I was responsible for too. All round, reducing my reactivity and instead I am much calmer and more organised.
13. Chunk it down to minimise overwhelm
I love taking on the impossible and solving problems. Those jobs that others aren't willing to give a go. This can sometimes cause overwhelm though.
Overwhelm gives my fear monkey the opportunity to grab hold and spiral me downwards. Into a negative, disempowering, and un-achieving headspace.
Instead, nowadays whenever I have a mountainous task ahead of me, I chunk it down to bite-sized pieces.
This keeps my motivation, focus and productivity strong and gets it done a lot quicker than procrastination (the other option) ever did.
Sometimes starting it can be the hardest part. So, if it’s really daunting I just choose one little ten-minute step to do and start with that.
Usually, the result is that once I have done that I end up going for the full 40 minutes on the project. Action always creates motion and motion squashes fear and consequently overwhelm.
14. Cut out the caffeine and sugar
Although I’ve never been a huge coffee fan my caffeine addiction of choice was through chocolate (and a LOT of it!)
I really should have had shares in Cadbury because I used to eat several family blocks a day! Yes, you read that right.
To “fuel” my body I also filled myself with a constant flow of sugary sweets.
I knew my sugar addiction was killing me but I hadn’t realised how much it was killing my success until I stopped both of them.
I made the decision one day and I haven’t looked back since.
My energy levels are much more consistent, I don’t have brain fog anymore and I also lost 15kg as a bonus!
If you feel you can’t stop like that, at least cut back. You’ll be glad you did.
15. Start your day healthy
I never used to eat breakfast but these days I believe in starting the day how I want to finish it. That means a healthy protein filled breakfast with plenty of fuel for my body to get through the day.
When I wake up I start with a warm (or iced if it's a hot day) lemon drink. Then anything green is a good start. It has to be quick and easy for me or I wont do it.
If I can I add some spinach to a smoothie but it depends on what's available in each country we travel to. I love it when we are in SE Asia because the options are so healthy.
Often, I will order or make extra the night before and have the left-overs for my breakfast, especially if there’s plenty of vegies.
By starting my day with a healthy breakfast it usually ensures the rest of the day is healthy too which gives me more brain power for the whole day.
16. Create a positive environment
While I’m on the topic of being healthy, let’s talk about a having a healthy mind too.
As Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with.” Therefore, choose carefully the people you have around you.
Evaluate if they lift you higher or lower, do they inspire or depress you, are they caring or condescending? Be honest but realistic with your evaluation.
When I focused on this and started spending more of my time with people who were positive, motivational and successful, the quality of my life and businesses increased.
This doesn’t mean you have to cut people out of your life who you care about but may not necessarily be uplifting. It just means you choose carefully who you spend the majority of your time with.
17. Use music to change your mood
I am an emotional creature. All of my close friends know it. I am also an empath so I take on other peoples emotions too. This used to mean I was susceptible to my emotions. Until I realised the effect music has on me.
By creating several different playlists I was able to have a better control over my emotions.
If I started feeling stressed, overwhelmed, out of control, tired, worn out or having negative thoughts I would use my playlists to change my state.
For a pick me up I would put on an energising playlist. For a de-stress there's a relaxation playlist. If I needed to be more loving I would put on a romance playlist of all of my favourite romantic songs.
It's quite amazing how much music can change the way you feel. I can tell you, this works!
18. Do a re-set mid-day or a re-do
This little success habit is golden. For most people, as was the case with me, the afternoon would see a slow decline in productivity, focus and motivation.
Nowadays, in the middle of the day, I stop, take a few moments to assess how the day is going and adjust accordingly if I need to.
If I notice I am beginning to spiral downwards or out of control I can meditate for a few minutes mid-day and get re-focused and re-energised.
This has stopped my afternoons from being a slow decline in productivity and turned them into some of the best times of the day.
19. Discipline gives you freedom
Most people dream of the lifestyle we lead, travelling the world and having the freedom of working when and where we want to. And yes, it truly is an amazing way to live and work.
Having so much freedom though isn't necessarily always good. We all need a certain amount of structure in our lives. One of the six human needs is for certainty and that is what a routine creates.
When you work for yourself though it's easy to slip into a non-routine. Spending too much time enjoying the lifestyle and not enough creating the money. This can be costly to your business.
Currently, I run three companies and the only way I can do this successfully is if I schedule the days I work on each one and the times. I am disciplined and because of that, it gives me freedom.
My goal each year is to reduce the number of hours I work while increasing our income. I've been successful so far in bringing my “official” working week down to less than thirty-five hours. Only possible due to being disciplined.
20. Connect to kindness daily
To keep me connected to my heart and purpose I make sure I watch or read at least one inspirational piece per day. This keeps me humble, thankful and focused.
It also reminds me of the true nature of people. I believe that in their hearts, all people are good. Some just get lost in fear and consequently react with bad behaviour.
By focusing on the good that people do each day, it reminds me of why I do what I do and why I want to continue to help more people.
Also why I don’t watch the news (way too negative!).
By choosing to focus on the positive in the world you attract more of the same into your life. This has certainly worked for me.
21. Reward yourself regularly
Life without rewards is…well…dull and un-motivating. So, I like to set myself realistic but comfort-zone stretching (not impossible) goals.
When I achieve these goals it’s important that I acknowledge the effort it took to get there and reward myself. If I don’t then it all just becomes too much like hard work and that’s not living at all.
A lot of the time these rewards are scheduled into my day like I mentioned earlier e.g. getting my nails done or a massage. By rewarding myself like this it keeps me motivated and I achieve more.
As a rule though, I tend to avoid using food as a reward and instead opt for experiences.
For larger goals, I find an adventure or pamper experience is much healthier and consequently more rewarding, especially if shared with my husband or a girlfriend.
The 21 business habits that changed my life
So, there you have the 21 business habits that have had the biggest impact on changing my life.
There is a lot there but please don’t go out and attempt to do all of these at once or you will burn out, guaranteed.
It took years for me to implement all of these. So, give yourself a chance and maybe just choose two a month to roll out into your life for 2019.
That way you will give yourself enough time to make them habits instead of just attempts to change.
Give yourself this gift to achieve the success you deserve and let's make 2019 your best year yet.