This short list offers some techniques I’ve used to improve my productivity, grow as an individual, and achieve success. Hopefully it can help you, too.
1) Build an Instagram following
Despite being a great way to get your brand’s message out into the world and one of the easiest ways to build a social media following, Instagram also helps with consistency, quality, authenticity, and commitment, four traits every entrepreneur should have.
Because of Instagram’s limited posting methods–Instagram is all about its users being “in the now”–it forces users to make periodic updates throughout the day. I believe that if you can’t make time to post on Instagram, you can’t possibly have enough time to run your own business.
2) Give more than you get
In Give and Take, Adam Grant makes a great point: while takers, those that take more than they give, often win the sprints, it’s the givers, vice versa the takers, that win the marathon.
I really enjoy offering information and time. I don’t hold back with what I give, either and always try to deliver 110%. And while my paid clients get preference over pretty much everyone except for my family (and often 30-60 additional minutes every session than what they’ve paid for), I have no problem answering emails, DMs, FB messages, and comments to those who want to know more.
3) Assemble an email list
Email lists are the currency of the internet. The bigger your list, the bigger your reach. The bigger your reach, the more you’ll make. As your email list grows and you’re able to keep the subscribers on your list engaged, you’ll find yourself doing less work to make future sales.
4) Answer questions on Quora
If you’re an expert of some sort–or even want to demonstrate that you have knowledge related to whatever it is you’re selling–I can’t think of a better place than Quora.
Like Instagram, Quora works only if its user is authentic, committed, consistent, and delivering quality information. Quorans can sniff out fakes, so don’t go there thinking you’ll write a half-assed answer and get a million views overnight.
Work hard, give the best answers you can, and soon you’ll find yourself with a massive, convertible following that trusts your word.
5) Keep a journal
I got this one from Tim Ferriss. Every day I write in my Five Minute Journal. I log my Instagram metrics and write what I’m grateful for, what would make that day great, and my daily affirmations. At night, I write down the three most amazing things to happen that day and what could have made the day better.
Since my wife purchased this for me on Father’s Day, I’ve written in it every single day. I’m hoping to get to 66 days straight without stopping. It’s great for building consistency and willpower.
If you’re going to be successful, you’ve got to keep learning things, and you want to learn things well, read more books. I read 200+ books per year, but I didn’t always read that much. In fact, up until only a few years ago, I probably read no more than one or two books per year. It doesn’t take long to become a hyperautodidact. You’ve just got to commit.
7) Turn off your cell phone
Cell phones are useful pieces of technology, sure, but also have a lot in common with drugs. Simon Sinek noted that cell phones–especially those that send off lots of notifications even when they’re dormant–target the dopamine centers of our brain, releasing chemicals to make us happy. These rewards come every time we get a like on Instagram or see that someone has text us. Overtime, we become addicted to these rewards and can even experience withdrawal.
To focus on the monumental tasks involved with entrepreneurship it is imperative that you get away from your phone. Turn it off, put it in a drawer, use it only when you absolutely have to.
8) Get up and work
Willpower is a limited resource. However, it replenishes daily following a good night’s sleep. That’s why it’s hard to resist late night craving, but easy to knock out a mountain of busy work before lunch. When I wake up, I immediately make my bed, make sure my kid has everything he needs for school, and then I start working on the toughest tasks first: writing my newsletter, shooting my Instagram photos for the day, and writing any code I’ve been holding back on.
Plenty of celebrities such as Dwayne Johnson, Stephen King, and Jerry Seinfeld have similar schedules.
9) Ignore your email
One thing that I don’t do when I wake up is check my email. In my experience, email comes in two forms: stress-inducing (bad news from a vendor, business partner, accountant, etc) or distracting (newsletters I’m subscribed to, messages from friends, etc). I won’t mess with my email until I’ve conquered all of my biggest tasks for the day.
Finally, I try to meditate. Admittedly, I’m not great at it yet. I definitely have, what the experts call, “monkey mind” and have a lot of trouble focusing. But as the Dalai Lama is known to have said, it takes about 40-days of a minimum of 30-minutes of meditation to get good at it. So I’ve got to practice.
Those that meditate are proven to have more focus, more willpower, and less stress.