Are you wondering what agency owners do on a weekly or daily basis? Want to learn the habits they cultivate every day?
If you are starting a new agency or looking to grow your current one, here are some of the habits that highly productive agency owners incorporate in their daily lives.
1. Wake up early
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise,” Benjamin Franklin.
Just like Franklin, successful people tend to start their day early. They usually take this extra time as their “me time” or to extend their working hours by starting early.
PIMCO co-founder Bill Gross starts his day as early as 4:30 a.m. He immediately checks out the markets and gets into the office by 6 a.m.
Richard Branson, chairman of the Virgin Group, starts his day around 5:45 in the morning. Even if he is staying at his private island, he leaves the curtains drawn so the sun gets him up. He uses the first hour of his day to exercise then he enjoys an early breakfast and gets to work.
Gerry Laybourne, founder of Oxygen, is out of her bed by 6 a.m. and out of the house half an hour later to have a morning walk and even meet with young people who want to seek her advice.
“Once or twice a week, I go for a walk in Central Park with a young person seeking my advice. This is my way of helping bring along the next generation. And if someone is up early in the morning then they are serious about life. I can’t take time at the office to do this, but doing it in the morning allows me to get exercise and stay connected with young people at the same time,” she said.
Waking up early gives you the opportunity to start your day quietly and at your own pace – no babies crying, no noisy cars and no kids yelling. You will also have enough time to exercise, plan your day and even enjoy your breakfast.
Tip: Go to bed at a reasonable time and never snooze your alarm. Stick to your wake time.
2. Create a to-do list
Seeing a clear outline of what you should accomplish in a day will make everything much more manageable and help you feel grounded.
Start by writing at least 5 things that you should do and order them according to its importance or urgency. Be ready if you have to add new things to your list and don’t feel bad if you don’t get everything done. It’s normal especially if new things pop up and they have to be on the top of your list.
Brooks Powell, founder and CEO of Thrive+, admitted that he used to feel guilty when he didn’t finish his to-do list but that changed when he considered his to-do list as a queue system.
“I call my to-do list my ‘queue’ and I am always very strict of always allowing important things that pop up to be added to the top of my queue so that I get it done first. This means that a lot of things don’t get done, but what I have realized is that most of the time if something doesn’t become important enough to deal with now, it’s probably not worth doing anyways,” Powell said.
Overall, your to-do list will help you determine if you are productive on that day. Aside from helping you organize your day, this will also help you keep track of your progress about something you want to achieve.
For example, if you are developing a new habit like taking a 20-minute walk every morning,you should include it on your to-do list. The more frequently you see this on your daily list, the more likely that it will become a daily habit.
Tip: Keep your list simple and always place the most important tasks on the top. Also, be more specific in each task. For example, don’t just write “Read book” because it’s too vague. You can say “Read chapters 1-5 of [title of book].” Break down big tasks into smaller ones so you won’t be burdened when you see it on your to-do list.
Most think that successful people are too busy and they don’t have enough time to workout, but in reality that is not the case. In fact, successful people have developed exercise routines that include their health and fitness.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, works up to 100 hours but still finds time to workout once or twice a week. Among his favorites are treadmill and lifting weights.
Richard Branson of Virgin Group loves physical activities. His exercise routines include kite surfing, swimming, playing tennis, practicing Bikram Yoga, rock climbing, running, weightlifting and more. For Branson, his exercise routine gives him extra four hours of productivity each day.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also works out at least three days a week as part of his morning routine. The American technology entrepreneur and philanthropist revealed that he also takes his dog, Beast, running and stressed the importance of being fit in his profession.
“Staying in shape is very important. Doing anything well requires energy, and you just have a lot more energy when you’re fit,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook Q&A session.
Pump yourself with energy by incorporating exercise into your daily routine just like these successful entrepreneurs. If you are full of energy, you can accomplish more.
Tip: Find time to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Determine when’s the best time of the day that you can do this. If you are busy in the evening, then start your day early to have time to work out.
4. Communicate constantly
Nowadays, we have to process a lot of information that we tend to forget important matters. The best way to deal with this is to process the information quickly and dispense it immediately.
If there’s a task that needs to be delegated, assign it to someone immediately. If you need to update a workmate about the project you are both working on, send a message right away, don’t delay because you may forget it.
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Asking relevant questions will be helpful to your organization.
Constant communication offers tons of benefits for the success of your business. When you communicate constantly, you create better relationships, improve your collaboration and make your team more effective. In addition, it makes the business more transparent and gives leaders valuable feedback.
Tip: To make constant communication easier, be approachable, welcome feedback and take it seriously. Also, keep your employees updated on what you do.
5. Listen intently
Communication is a two-way process, you have to speak and listen. Encourage your colleagues or employees to speak up. Ask them how they are doing, how you can help them and how you can progress together.
Even if you are the owner of the business you always need to consider your people because they run your business on behalf of you. Make sure that they are happy working for you by listening to their concerns.
Jacob Morgan shared an eye-opening anecdote about this in his book “The Employee Experience Advantage”
“’If I could bottle up what it was like to work at your organization and give you that in pill form right now, would you swallow the pill?’ Almost always the answer is ’no.’ How can we expect employees to swallow the same pill when the leaders who work there won’t,” Morgan wrote.
Aside from hearing your employees’ concerns, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs believes that you have every reason to let them speak up.
“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do,” Jobs said.
Build a good relationship with your colleagues and employees. Don’t be a boss, be a leader. Leaders teach why and how to do a particular task while a boss just tells his people what to do.
Tip: Look for opportunities to engage with your team daily and build trust and support among each other. Start by greeting them, ask them about their work and how they are doing. When they are comfortable with you, you won’t have a hard time encouraging them to speak up.
6. Feed your mind
Aside from working out, you have to ensure that you feed your mind and soul. Yes, you have to take good care of your body, but you should also enrich your mind.
A number of successful people find time to read inspirational stories and motivational quotes. Some watch videos that offer lessons on excellence. While some read a chapter of a book that will help them in their journey.
“A most important habit of success is the monitoring of daily nutrition. But by that, I am not talking about what successful people eat or drink. I am talking about what they feed themselves through what they, read, what they listen to, who they talk to and what they watch. In every day, the truly great ones I have had the chance to work with use a piece of that day to feed themselves something that will give them an inspirational advantage over those they’re competing against,” said Don Yaeger, award-winning motivational speaker.
Tip: Download a motivational app to get a daily dose of positivity. List the significant personalities you look up to and watch their speeches online or read their book. Inspire and motivate yourself from their work.
7. Ignore the haters
There was joy and excitement when you decided to venture into a new business. You happily shared your plans to your dear friends and family, but not everyone was supportive. Don’t be surprised if you encounter those people.
As they say, life is 10% percent what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it. No matter how negative some of those friends or family members are to your business, know that you are in charge.
Don’t listen to the people who bring your spirits down. Believe in yourself, you can pursue whatever you want if you have the grit, the confidence, the resources, and the time to make it happen.
The fable of the Deaf Frog tells the story of a bunch of little frogs that fell deep into a pit. Initially, the crowd cheered and encouraged those frogs to jump higher, but they eventually got tired and discouraged the frogs that they couldn’t make it. They said it’s impossible, that it was difficult and that they would never succeed.
One by one the little frogs lost hope and got exhausted trying without success. However, one frog continued to jump harder and harder. The mud pile kept increasing higher and higher as it jumped and finally that little frog reached the top and escaped the pit. Everyone was astonished how he made it. When they asked, the frog indicated that it was deaf. It turned out that the frog didn’t hear the discouragement the crowd was shouting outside the pit.
The moral of the story is to learn to ignore the negativity of those who don’t support your journey and build relationships with those who do. Focus on what you want to accomplish and do your best to ignore the naysayers.
“Support comes in many forms. Everyone has things going on in their lives and you may not be aware of issues that have come up,” said Amy Vernon, digital media and content consultant, Amy Vernon LLC . “Just because someone hasn’t supported your business in the way you had hoped doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is not your friend.”
Tip: Ignore others’ negativity and focus on your goal until you realize it. It’s okay if you don’t have others’ support because the most important thing is, you believe in yourself.
8. Manage your time well
Entrepreneurs and agency owners have the same 24 hours as you, but usually, you feel that they accomplish more than you do – this boils down to time management.
All of us are given 24 hours a day, but successful entrepreneurs and agency owners accomplish more. They do this by managing their time well, so if you want to be like them be on top of your schedule.
Elon Musk the CEO of SpaceX, Tesla Motors and SolarCity is obsessed with time management. In the past, he used to worked over 120 hours a week and pulled back to a more sustainable 80-90 hours a week. Given his hectic schedule, he still manages to do the things he loves. How did he make it?
Anupam Rajey spent hours watching Musk’s video interviews and learned how the technology entrepreneur, investor and engineer makes it possible to manage his three huge businesses and still squeezes out some time for himself.
Musk does this by working on similar tasks simultaneously, optimizing email (keep the message brief and bulleted), having a strictly segmented schedule and having more waking hours to work. Even if Musk sleeps at 1 a.m. he is always out of his bed by 7 a.m.
You don’t have to work a similar number of hours as Musk does every week but learn from him on how you can maximize your time. Also, how you spend your time depends on your priorities. Some find time for meditation and exercise because they believe that this is a good way to start their day.
“My schedule includes activities which are important to me placed throughout the day. As an example, I perform my morning routine daily without interruption. This routine includes time for meditation, exercise, reading, naming three things that I’m thankful for and determining the day’s big win. There are a million competing priorities when you have your own company, so it’s important to specify which one you’ll focus on achieving daily and prioritize accordingly,” said Matthew Tillman, founder and CEO of Haven, Inc.
Tip: Own your schedule and don’t waste your time. Do similar things simultaneously to save an hour or two, so you can accomplish more things.
9. Find ‘Me Time’
Make sure to have time for yourself. “Me Time” is something that is very important for your growth and sense of fulfillment. Make sure to reserve a time for yourself by spending an hour or more doing something you love.
You can define your “Me Time” in your own terms. This could be the time you spend for your morning run, when you work out in the gym, when you write an entry in your journal, when you enjoy your coffee in the morning or the time you spend in the shower singing or thinking about new ideas.
Your “Me Time” is your personal time. If you want to achieve something like learning a new language or improving a new skill you can spend your “Me Time” doing that new thing.
This time of the day is for your pleasure and fun. It will also enable you to recharge yourself especially if you are overwhelmed with work.
Tip: Think of something you want to do for yourself that will make you feel happy, fulfilled or satisfied. This can be any activity from writing, reading or playing and find the time to do it.
10. Minimize your decisions
Highly successful individuals don’t waste their time and brain cells in the morning deciding on what to wear and how they should look that day.
A number of successful people have their own uniform for success. Zuckerberg always sports his iconic gray Brunello Cucinelli t-shirt and Barack Obama only wears gray or blue suits. Meanwhile, Jobs was known for his black turtleneck, jeans and New Balance sneakers.
These people have reasons why they opt to dress the same every single day and it’s something that might convince you to do the same.
“You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia,” Obama said in an interview with Vanity Fair.
“I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community,” Zuckerberg said when an audience asked why his outfits never changed. “I feel like I’m not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life.”
Making decisions can be time-consuming and not to mention, exhausting. Making decisions in everything including small matters that you deal with every day can result in decision fatigue where the quality of your decisions deteriorates over time. If you want to be more productive don’t make a fuss over small matters.
Tip: Reduce decision fatigue by wearing the same outfit every day, having a meal plan and scheduling your day ahead. Also, if you have a number of people under you, learn to delegate decision-making tasks.
There are the habits of highly productive, successful entrepreneurs. If you want to achieve the same success, start doing what they do, manage your time well and find “Me Time” to enrich yourself.