We are all guilty of wondering how some individuals seem to be able to get so much more done in a day then we do.
As someone who studies the routines and habits successful individuals use each day, I’ve noticed the individuals in Silicon Valley seem to be constantly pushing boundaries forward. Who else is going to get your burrito delivered to your front door via a drone?
Wondering what keeps these folks going to achieve such a high output, I simply decided to ask.
I’ve spent the past month interviewing 15 startup founders to dive into the habits, tips and hacks they use that keeps them productive and motivated each day. Some have sold companies for over eight figures and many have had their products and services featured in top tier publications.
The interviewees and links to the amazing things they are working on:
Sam Parr – Founder @ The Hustle.
Luke Williams – Founder @ Blue Sea Studios, 2 minute revolution
Dennis Yu – #1 Facebook Ad Expert in the world. Founder @ Blitzmetrics
UJ Ramdas – Co-Founder @ Intelligent Change. (5 minute Journal).
Ameer Rosic – Co-Founder @ BlockGeeks.
Dave Burns – Co-Founder @ Singularity Growth Accelerator
Josh Fraser – Founder @ Torbit (Acquired by Walmart), Din, EventVue
Lea Von Bidder – Founder @ Ava
Josh Fechter – Head of Growth @ GrowthX Academy
Name your top 1 to 3 habits you have that help you stay highly productive and motivated each day.
I use three specific tactics each day to prepare my body and mind. These are sitting meditation, regularly moving my body through working out, walking and yoga along with Bulletproof tea for sustained energy.
Proper sleep pattern is critical to me. Everything you do is impacted by the quality of your sleep, why would you mess around with this? I also ensure I keep an avid curiosity by reading stimulating things and expressing gratitude by spending time with my family.
I start and end each day writing down what I am grateful for in the Five Minute Journal. This helps keep everything in perspective. I also use the Productivity Planner to plan out my entire day and meditate regularly.
Regularly going for walks helps clear my mind and push out noise.
I use conscious focus and then relaxation. I do a block of 30-90 minutes of heads down work, and then I take a break of roughly 30 minutes. REAL focused work is incredibly powerful, and most people just never do that. I’m not a big fan of grinding, as your throughput and quality just suffers greatly.
I distill all tasks into a top 10 ranking of importance for the day. I then start at top and do just that task till completion before going on to the next.
I also regularly review tasks and push them to a later date if they are less urgent. I have folders of pushed tasks that I never look at until that date, which takes those tasks totally out of my consciousness till then. This allows total focus on current top action items.
Creating this back log of less important tasks also allows your staff to know exactly what they should work on when their time frees up. The question of them asking “what do I do?” doesn’t come up. Instead they always come to me with multiple options, and their recommendation. This exercises their judgment, and leads eventually to them being able to handle all decisions independently without consulting me.
For me it is critical to get a good night’s sleep. I threw away my alarm clock! Along with this I also emphasize getting regular exercise (using running or climbing) and reading regularly to always be improving my mind.
Gratitude to start the day; exercise sometime during the day, having a full breakfast.
I optimize my nutrition intake each day to avoid the energy crash that can happen. For me, this means I avoid carbs most of the time. Serotonin is a hormone secreted by carb intake and generally one you want to avoid that when you are trying to get things done.
I also avoid alcohol. In my younger days, I abused this a little too much. However, I’ve since given up alcohol (about three years ago) because the hangover and side effects impacted my entire week. I simply just wasn’t able to perform as effectively as I do now.
I use meditation and then map our One-Page Strategic Plan. This informs and breaks down my daily schedule down to 1/2 hour chunks.
I start each day prioritizing fitness and meditation. I work out in one form or other every morning as well as meditate daily. My workouts alternate between several options so each morning feels interesting: kettle bells, weights, kungfu, a 1 hr walk, ecstatic dance, or a qi gong + pranayama set (for lazy mornings).
I walk 2-3 hours every day, write four hundred words each day and tell two people I appreciate them.
I use a ton of digital tools to stay hyper productive when I’m at the keyboard. My three favorite tools are Instapage.com for making marketing pages, TextExpander for speeding up any actions on the keyboard, and lastly FoxType for making sure I send emails that are polite.
I wake up in the morning, check my schedule for the day and make a specific to-do list of what I want to achieve that day. It ensures I stay focused. I don’t only do this for each day but also for weeks and months. This is so I always have targets for a given week and a given month and work towards fulfilling them.
Sometimes stepping out of the office and working from a different place helps. A change of scenery keeps things fresh. I like sitting down in a nearby coffee shop to prepare for important meetings.
Lea Von Bidder
I approach the day with massive organization, knowing what myself and my assistant need to get accomplished. I work out every single morning before starting my day and then spend some time getting dressed up. We all feel more confident when we look good and it’s noticeable in how you approach the day. I spend a large chunk of my day calling (actually calling with a phone) and connecting with other entrepreneurs and business partners. This helps me provide value where need be and build potential deals. I’ve made many close friends this way and I find it keeps things interesting and worthwhile.
Do you have any specific morning routine you follow to prep you for your day?
Hell yes. I wake up, make myself Bulletproof tea, meditate, do various weirdly effective journaling practices, and meet with my team. Dave Burns
I wake up and drink 1 litter of filtered water to re-hydrate and kick start my digestion. I then turn on my espresso and sit underneath my infrared light while doing my Five Minute Journal. Ameer Rosic
Here is the exact routine I follow each morning. Wake up. Five Minute Journal. Make bed. Cold shower. Supplements. Brush teeth. Do pullups. Stretch. Meditate. Plan out flow of the day. Eat breakfast. Head out to get some work done! UJ Ramdas
Yes, it’s about 90-120 minutes starting at 5/5:30 am. In order: Vivid Vision review/affirmation, yoga, meditation, journaling, set daily schedule, read 20 pages, do 1/2 hour on a passion project. Mike Brcic
Wake up, meditate in bed a bit, work out, shower, eat a healthy breakfast, read for 10-20 min and then go to work. Floyd Marinescu
Check emails and Facebook mastermind groups I manage, eat oatmeal and peanut butter, drink coffee, and then walk for an hour and a half. Josh Fechter
I do a serious of active stretches on my bed for a period of time. Can’t start a day with loose hips! Sam Parr
I have a set routine to start the day. I read my favorite politics site (www.electoral-vote.com), then take a two-minute cold shower while blasting some Skrillex, take my meds (yay genetic disorders), and go for a little walk while sipping my can of coke zero. I get home, do the 5 Minute Journal, and am just rearing to crush it by then. Sol Orwell
Setting my priorities for 20 minutes at start of day so I know exactly what to do. Dennis Yu
I have a boot-up and shutdown list. Boot-up includes reflecting on the top item to move my company forward now or what’s been causing the most stress. The plan is then to address this immediately. I practice inbox zero and empty my inbox from top-to-bottom; clear any residual notes from yesterday; quick checks of Asana task system and Slack messages and pull top items from task folders and organize them. After this I turn on Do Not Disturb for Slack and my phone and start my focus block. I prefer four continuous hours uninterrupted. Luke Williams
Every morning, I wake up and do workouts with the Freeletics app on iPhone. Kumar Thangudu
Name one thing you couldn’t get through each day without.
Mindfulness. Dave Burns
Seeing my family. Ameer Rosic
Meditation & Journaling. UJ Ramdas
Reading. Mike Brcic
Meditation. Floyd Marinescu
Walking for at least 30 minutes. Josh Fechter
Diet Root Beer. The Hustle
The 5 Minute Journal. Sol Orwell
Proper sleep. Dennis Yu
Boomerang Extension for Gmail. Luke Williams
1Pass – A tool for managing all my login info. Kumar Thangudu
Monster Energy. Will Bunker
Purpose. Josh Fraser
A Green juice. Neil Patel
A number of tools were mentioned throughout the interview. To make it easy here they all are.
- 5 Minute Journal
- The Productivity Planner
- Asana Tasks
- Bulletproof Tea
Featured photo credit: Shutterstock 197404370 via shutterstock.com