It’s a roller coaster.
It stretches you to the limit.
It’s something you love to call rich in variety outwardly, while inside, it mostly feels overwhelming in your everyday work.
Yes, the beast I’m talking about is your online business.
Your online business has huge potential (and the power) to control you and your actions entirely.
But to make your biz work, it has to be the other way around.
Control always needs to be in your hands, no matter how diverse and challenging your business turns out.
A good set of habits is what can give you that control:
- to stay focused in the face of overwhelm
- to stick to your schedule even if your business wants to mess it up
- and to generate results even if you feel completely paralyzed
In this post, I want to share some habits with you that are not only easy to start with, but also some of the most powerful accelerators to increase your productivity forever.
Why are habits so important?
Online business is the opposite of predictable.
It’s very dynamic, fast-moving and often reacts to your actions other than planned.
That’s an equation with many unknowns you can not really change.
But what you can change is yourself.
If you have control over your behavior and reactions to expected and unexpected things, driving your business will be much easier.
It’s your habits that keep you at bay when turbulences occur. They will give you the routine and serenity to act cool-headed in the heat of the moment.
There are many useful routines you can adopt to make things easier in business (and life).
But I don’t want to overwhelm you. That’s why I picked the 3 habit changes that boosted my everyday output the most!
So let’s get started with the first one!
Productivity Habit Nr. 1: A night-owl that morphs into an early bird
“Oh no!” I hear you say, “you can ask me to do anything but don’t touch my time to get up in the morning!”
That’s what I said when I first was introduced to Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning.
My defiant thoughts on that were that it’s the work done that counts in the end and if it is done at night or during the daytime doesn’t matter.
But it does matter.
There is a reason why evolution has set us up to work in daylight and sleep in the shelter of the night. It’s simply the way we are coded in our DNA.
The invention of electric light and all the technical progress just made us forget about it.
But evolution is not the only reason to shift to early bird.
Getting up early means you start in the day ahead of the world.
You collect your first wins of the day while others are still dreaming about their epic future.
And you have done huge parts of your day’s work around 11 am.
When I started to get up earlier, I decided to do my content creation in the early hours – one of the best decisions I ever made!
It not only raised the quality of my content. I also almost tripled my content output!
And the best thing is, next to your new productivity habit, you establish a new mindset habit as a side effect.
That is, getting used to getting things done.
Your routine of collecting accomplishments every morning early on boosts your self-esteem and your believe in being on top of the daily struggles.
You learn to rely on yourself.
Aren’t that good enough reasons to give the early bird habit a try?
So go for it! And give yourself an extra-motivation dose by visiting Hal Elrod’s website. He’s a genius in pushing you through the resistance:)
Productivity Habit Nr. 2: Choose batch work over multitasking
Online business is probably one of the biggest multitasking-traps around.
The range of varied tasks simply is colossal.
And it’s again the technological progress that caused this creeping process of wanting to do more and more things at the same time.
All the hyped tech gadgets made us forget that the human brain is not designed to run in multitasking mode by default.Click to tweet
Multitasking lowers effectivity and raises stress.
Multitasking lets distractions win over you.
The ongoing hectic switch-to-the-next mode makes your brain lose focus.
Half-ass rushing from one task to the next is the result.
In the end, most of your days are made of semi-satisfying results, burdening you with a growing list of things undone which somehow need to be covered asap on top of the regular stuff…
Batching your work is the best cure to escape this hyper juggle!
Batching means doing a narrowed task over a couple of hours, rather than switching from one task to the next in shorter periods of time.
In blog post creation, for example, this means you have a “post writing” batch, with a couple of hours only dedicated to writing.
The publishing part is another batch, only working on the publishing jobs for your posts.
Checking emails and social media updates every couple of minutes are eliminated with this time management system.
Instead, you install an own batch for cleaning up your inbox, another one for writing emails, and a batch purely dedicated to checking social media.
All of this organization has multiple productivity effects:
- all your focus is dedicated to your batch only
- no distractions disturb you
- you get into a nice flow of creating high-quality output fast
And your mindset? Is happily fed again with uplifting things on a regular basis.
With sticking to your schedule and focusing on your batches, you are the one who controls turbulent online business, not the other way around.
You get used to keeping up a high level of productivity.
You get used to trusting in yourself as a reliable output resource.
And struggles? They still come. They still go.
But they don’t mess up your entire working day anymore. You give them a slot to solve them to then head over to your next batch.
Business as usual. No roller coaster anymore.
Batch working has caused quite a furor in our industry. Whoever your blogging idol is, chances are, he or she is well into batching.
Chris Ducker is a great example. He leverages batch working to a level where his workweek ends at Thursday evening, every week!
Take a look at this training video he shared to get some insights on how he does it!
Productivity Habit Nr. 3: Engage in self-improvement
You need to feed your mind with good stuff on a regular basis!
Thoughts determine what you feel and what you do, so you better let your thoughts be positive, exciting, aspiring, motivating, confident and fruitful in every possible way.
But how can you make your thoughts all that fruitful?
Through a balanced diet of valuable input.
That input can be books, podcasts, videos, even music.
Throughout our lives, we all collect certain thought patterns.
Some of them make us grow.
Many of them make us stagnate or even shrink.
If you regularly feed your mind with inspiration, these destructive thought patterns can be “recycled” into good ones.
Reading just one book, of course, won’t have that effect.
But if you consistently consume books, all the inspiration will accumulate and sink into your mind.
This leads to a shift of your mindset, well suited to take massive action and handle whatever challenges in a winners way.
What do you think almost all successful entrepreneurs have in common?
Yepp, engaging in self-improvement consistently, before and beyond their business breakthrough.
I’ve always been interested in reading about successful people or things like how to become more productive, focused, persistent, vigorous, healthy, etc.
But I never found the time to engage in self-improvement.
That changed with my new early bird routine. Since then, I read inspirational books for half an hour every morning.
The results from that are amazing.
I collect tons of practical & proven ideas of successful people I can apply to my own business and life.
And I recognized a change in my decision making.
I am increasingly facing all things new with “This sounds interesting, I’ll give it a try,” rather than backing off from making new experiences in case they might not work out well.
And that’s exactly what you need to improve your productivity:
Stop the (passive) pondering and start to take massive action accompanied with a strong belief in you reaching your goals.
So, don’t wait to inspire yourself and shape up your mind, it’s very well worth it!
How to make your new habits last
Let’s face it:
Habits can be a real pain in the butt.
We know how powerful they are, but we simply can’t manage to stick to them.
Habits just come and go.
And the more of them go, the less we believe in any routine could last or even change our life.
Did you ever wonder how all these celebrated, smart, successful, healthy people manage to stick to dozens of habits year-in-year-out?
It’s actually no rocket science. They just know about two crucial things:
The first thing is – whatever you want to change in your life, there always is a resistance phase where your “old you” tries everything possible to pull you back into your old habit.
The second thing they know is that you always need a strong WHY to drive the change: What’s the ultimate outcome of your new habit that excites you to the core? What are the painful consequences of breaking that new routine?
So, the first step you need to take is to survive the resistance phase, which is claimed to be at least 30 days long.
This means to stick to the new habit, no matter what protest your mind and heart will create, for at least 30 days.
Next to that, you need to charge your heart with BIG emotions for both, keeping the habit and breaking it.
Keeping the habit means all the joy.
Breaking the habit means all the pain.
Once these mega emotions are deeply etched in your mind and heart, only the thought of skipping the habit will make you defend your new habit against any threats coming from your mind.
The hardest part, though, is the resistance phase. To make it through it, it’s important to uncouple your behavior from your thoughts and emotions.
Hence, no matter what threats are coming from your mind, it won’t affect your behavior, which is sticking to the new habit every single day.
I just lately listened to a podcast from Darren Rowse where he shares his strategies to increase productivity with smart habits.
His credo for persistently sticking to the new habit is “It’s just what I do.”
“Nice try, my dear mindset, but you can’t talk me into anything. This new habit is just what I do, better accept that.”
One you have practiced your new routines often enough, they become second nature, after all.
This means the fightback of your thoughts and emotions will disappear, which makes keeping the habit even more easy.
My attempts to start new routines and maintain them have failed for many years.
Actually, my habit breakthrough came with the day I stopped smoking, once for all.
Up to that moment, I didn’t trust myself. I didn’t believe in my capability to make bold decisions that last.
But, from that breakthrough moment on, I realized I could rely on myself and my commitment.
That boosted my self-assurance so much that I even made it a “habit” to join people in the smoker’s corner, flying high by saying “No thanks, I don’t smoke anymore.”
Once you’ve made one new habit last, all other new habits are much easier to follow. You’re simply backed up by the experience that you can truly rely on yourself.
In the end, it’s a good set of habits that enables you to make lemonade, no matter how many lemons life gives you!
So, don’t wait any longer and gift yourself with habits that make you grow, not only in business but also in life!
What’s the state of your habits? Have you tried new ones to boost your productivity? What made them sticky?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
To your effective blogging days,
Martin - WeeklyNinja.com says
love your post! Thanks for sharing.
I read a lot of books where I sometimes get suggestions for changing habits, other times I get suggestions from colleagues, friends, etc. At some of the habits I want to learn I utterly fail 😀. Sometimes these habits stick however. It really helps to think of some reward to give to myself. An example is to maintain my runstreak for my daily meditation exercise. This really helps to meditate each day, for at least ten minutes. It’s a very small reward, but it definitely works for me.
Natalie - Honestly Nat says
Love these insights on becoming more productive! They are so true. I lost my mornings when our littles were small, but lately I’ve been getting them back. I’ve realized how much I missed working in the morning. I do all of my writing for my businesses at that time and it’s really gotten me a jump on my day. And I do feel like I’m ahead on my day, which gives me more time later to spend with my family. Onto working to engaging more in self-improvement. Thanks again!
Brooke Morrison says
Great post! I agree that the “why” is exceptionally important. Resistance, as you mentioned, can be terrible, and stay with us for a long, long time, even after the 30 days it takes to create the habit. It’s also easy to forget. That’s probably the hardest thing for me, is to have a strong “why” and remember it. Thanks for the reminder to focus on the “why”!
Great reminders. I work third shift so I’m not too productive in the morning 😁 I do love reading about self improvement ideas, unfortunately, like everyone else I have issues implementing all the strategies. Thanks for the tips on how to better create habits!