By David Henzel, co-founder of TaskDrive—we support sales and marketing teams with personalized lead research and outbound campaigns.
Our habits are everything because, whether it be in our professional, personal or social roles, the way we spend our time and energy can define who we are. So many entrepreneurs like myself tend to place precedence on our professional roles and hone all of their habits accordingly. But when we do this, not only does our health tend to suffer, but our social relationships can also be negatively affected, which results in a lack of peace of mind and the clarity and focus you could have.
There are a number of healthy habits we can cultivate in our personal lives that may not seem to correlate to our professional roles directly, but in fact, they can be those key habits that will actually lead to a more productive and focused professional life. Don’t learn this the hard way like I did after gaining weight and feeling stressed because I wasn’t committing myself to the healthy habits I wanted, instead always pushing them aside, giving precedence to professional obligations. Since then, I’ve learned that if I stick to the healthy routine that works for me, then everything in my life has harmony, which results in more focus: all factors which have an immensely positive impact on one’s professional life.
While every routine we have in our lives is actually a “habit,” key habits, or “keystone” habits—good or bad—are the ones that have a ripple effect. A key habit can inspire the forming of additional habits on top of the original one, or the key habit itself can affect multiple areas of our lives. What is important is to make sure that our key habits—in other words, those habits we do without thought and with consistency—are actually the right habits that work best for us and that we want to have in our lives.
Sweat Every Day
For example, like many people, you may think you don’t have enough time to start running regularly or to go to the gym because your work life consumes you or always tends to take precedence. You may feel guilty about taking time away from your professional obligations to focus solely on your health. However, when I—finally feeling overweight and burned out—began to force myself to go to the gym and start a running practice, I immediately felt better physically. What I didn’t realize was that while exercising, I had the mental clarity to find solutions to what seemed like insurmountable problems at work. Not only does exercise allow for the opportunity to see things from a different perspective, but it can also give you more focus throughout the day, which means that by taking the time out to exercise, you actually get more stuff done and faster.
“Sweat every day” has now become a key habit of mine and it preferably gets done as early in the day as possible. Here are a few ways to make this happen for yourself: First of all, set aside the time and plan for a workout as you would a work meeting. Book a trainer to give you that added sense of accountability to help you commit to the challenge. Another healthy habit you could pick up from working out in the morning is not eating after 9 p.m. so as not to ride that extra wave of late-night energy, which would mean less sleep. Much like how you can make working out easier by, for example, having a personal trainer arrive at the door at 6 a.m, you can make caving to unhealthy snacks harder by not even having them in the house.
Eat The Frog
Another key habit I strongly advise abiding by is “eating the frog,” which is getting the most important task you have for the day completed as early as possible. We all have those pressing tasks, which, whether desired or not, weigh on our minds until we finish them. The longer you hold onto something, the heavier it is and the “eat the frog” productivity concept lightens that load by advising you to finish the most challenging task of the day first. You should plan for it in your schedule and encourage your staff to do the same. If there is a pressing project that needs doing fast, our team takes part in 15-minute “stand-up” meetings as early as possible in the day so everyone is on the same page and feels supported and motivated to take on the task at hand.
Begin by troubleshooting any blockers and have everyone share what each of their respective “frogs” are for the day to lay solid foundations for a fast track to progress. Admittedly, most of us are pressed for time, but when something needs to happen, I make room to do it as immediately as possible, and that brings me to my third key habit, which is planning.
Plan Your Life
It is impossible to successfully execute a project if you don’t plan for it, and the same rule applies to how we live our lives. Luckily, there are two methods to make planning more efficient. The first is to plan the week ahead every Sunday evening, and the second is to plan the following day the night before. When you can clearly see your schedule for the week, you can then properly plan for each day that follows. This means not only scheduling work obligations but also setting aside the personal and quality social time we all need to be at our peak performance.
Exercise, executing and planning are the top three key habits that keep me on my personal and professional A-game. Each of these habits, whether it be getting in a run or simply getting something done, can have positive effects that infiltrate every area of life and certainly give peace of mind, which is actually what allows us to be at our peak performance as professionals.