Advertising
Advertising

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 13 Ways to Stay Productive on Your Darkest Days

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 13 Ways to Stay Productive on Your Darkest Days

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

Failure can be pretty devastating but it’s part of business. What trick do you use to stay productive on those dark days?

1. Keep a Thank Bank

Martina Welke

    I started keeping an email folder labeled “Thank Bank” in the early days after starting our business to keep all the supportive messages, positive comments and thoughtful introductions I received. On the really hard days, I go back through the folder to be reminded of all the people who believe in what we’re building, and it never fails to motivate me to forge ahead.

    Martina Welke, Zealyst

     

    2. Play With Positive People

    Kelly Azevedo

      It’s easy to get down in the dumps and attract all those people who knew “that would never work” and like to wallow in your misery. Instead, consciously seek out the positive people you can work with who will lift you up after a failure. These people don’t necessarily have to be entrepreneurs, but it helps when others know what you’re dealing with and can provide perspective.

      Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

       

      3. Practice Meditation

      Robert-J.-Moore

        Meditation is a great way to gain perspective by putting emotional distance between you and the stressful things in your life. It’s a great complement to the lows you experience on the bad days.

        Advertising

        Robert J. Moore, RJMetrics

         

         

        4. Take a Step Back

        peter minton

          Go for a walk and breathe some fresh air, grab lunch or drinks with some friends, call your family, play with your kids, whatever works for you to refocus and gain some perspective. Remember why (and for whom) you are working so hard, take that deep breath and attack that next challenge.

          Peter Minton, Minton Law Group, P.C.

           

           

          5. Try Music and Napping

          Michael Bruny

            I use a playlist I call “Get It Going.” I also leverage naps as a reset button. When I get up, it’s a brand-new start.

            Michael Bruny, The New Art of Conference Networking

             

            Advertising

             

            6. Focus on Getting Back Up

            David Ehrenberg

              I have faith in myself and in what I’m creating. And I remember that everyone who swings big misses sometimes — failure doesn’t matter, just the ability to get back up and go for it again. In the Bay Area, there is no stigma attached to failure. Here, people are allowed to fail because there’s a belief that in an environment where failure is allowed, there is the ability to create something new.

              David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services

               

              7. Use Failure as Motivation

              Bryan Silverman

                We use failures and naysayers as our motivation to continue to push. With each failure, we know that we are able to learn, and we are that much closer to the next success. Our fellow employees, due to our company culture, help foster that motivational mindset with one another as well.

                Bryan Silverman, Star Toilet Paper

                 

                 

                8. Look at the Past

                Wade Foster

                  Simply looking at a graph of our results over the past year will show the remarkable progress we’ve made. On bad days, we’re still a thousand times better than we were on day one.

                  Advertising

                  Wade Foster, Zapier

                   

                   

                  9. Keep Your Perspective

                  Jeremy Hitchcock

                    Perspective is the silver lining in the dark cloud of failure. Entrepreneurs are usually successful because they have both a willingness to serve and a love for solving problems. If there’s a problem in 2013, it means that the problem is hard. Realizing things don’t happen overnight and remembering why you’re working so hard to begin with are the best ways to get through even the darkest of days.

                    Jeremy Hitchcock, Dyn

                    10. Focus on Action

                    Elizabeth Saunders

                      You can’t guarantee success, but you can decide what actions you will take each day to move yourself and your business forward. When I need to increase my motivation and productivity, I come up with a series of actions to take. Then, I focus on completing those and celebrating what I can control (actions) without worrying about what I can’t control (results).

                      Elizabeth Saunders, Real Life E®

                       

                      11. Learn From Failure

                      Ziver Birg

                        Always remember that experience is the result of failing and learning from that failure. As long as you’re learning from failure, you’re growing and improving. Always remember this, and smile in the face of failure. Positive energy is contagious. If you’re positive, chances are your team will also be positive. It’s hard not to feel great in a super positive environment like that.

                        Advertising

                        Ziver Birg, ZIVELO

                         

                        12. Leave and Start Fresh Tomorrow

                        Andrew Angus

                          On the darkest of days, I don’t use a trick to stay productive. It just won’t work. There are times when you have to realize that no matter how bad things are, you are in no shape to fix them, and you are only going to make them worse — so I leave. I get a massage, get a good night’s sleep and start again the next day. You need to end the pain quickly and start fresh.

                          Andrew Angus, Switch Video

                           

                          13. Realize Time Brings Perspective

                          Michael Costigan

                            Being effective at doing what you do is much more important than always being productive. If you experience a failure, even if it’s a massive failure and you decide to take the rest of the day off to unwind and do something you find happiness in, it’s okay! Sometimes, we think that we always need to be reacting to problems; we spin our wheels and don’t always realize that time brings perspective.

                            Michael Costigan, Youth Leadership Specialist

                             

                            More by this author

                            9 No-Brainer Ways to Track Employee Time Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Things Entrepreneurs Should Stop Doing Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Best Note Taking Tools Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Tips for Mastering Public Speaking Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Tasks You Should be Outsourcing

                            Trending in Productivity

                            1 10 Good Habits To Have in Life To Be More Successful 2 What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It 3 How to Set Long Term Goals and Reach Success 4 Easily Distracted? Here’s How to Regain Your Focus 5 Why You Need to Set Future Goals (And How to Reach Them)

                            Read Next

                            Advertising
                            Advertising
                            Advertising

                            Last Updated on January 24, 2020

                            10 Good Habits To Have in Life To Be More Successful

                            10 Good Habits To Have in Life To Be More Successful

                            Habits are behaviors and patterns that you showcase by default. They enable you to carry out crucial activities like taking a shower, brushing your teeth, getting prepared for work.

                            Interestingly, you follow this routine every day without considering them. Your unconscious habits create room for your brain to perform more advanced activities like problem-solving and choosing what book to read.

                            Everyone has habits, and several of those habits are activated every day. I would classify them into three groups:

                            • The first category includes the habits that you hardly notice as they have become a major part of your life- such as brushing teeth or wearing clothes.
                            • The second category comprises good habits to have to be more successful-like eating healthily, exercising your body and reading books.
                            • The last group consists of those habits that are harmful-like procrastinating, smoking or overeating.

                            Habits are fundamental to becoming successful in life — or probably ending up a failure. Yet, as significant as habits are, some lack the knowledge of their capabilities.

                            Habits are default activities that you engage in without giving an afterthought. They are automatic behavioral or mental activities. They help you carry out some actions without exerting too much energy. They simplify your life.

                            Several people aspire to break bad habits. For instance, some people diet to stop overeating. They exercise to reduce obesity. Habits can hinder or impact your performance and productivity.

                            That’s why I would share 10 good habits to have to be more successful in life.

                            1. Begin Your Day with Meditation

                            I recommend mindful meditation early in the morning. This practice helps you to be in the present moment. Consequently, it enables you to be mindful of challenging situations during the day.

                            Different stressors may trigger as you go through the day; meditation helps you to remain calm before taking on the challenges.

                            Personally, it helps me to devise strategies and think about ideas. Meditation is a good habit to have if you want to be connected to what’s significant in your life.

                            Advertising

                            2. Be Grateful for What You Have

                            Sometimes, you waste time thinking of what’s not enough. You become immersed in those daunting challenges. However, challenges justify the presence of hope. When you have life, you have expectations. You will be free from challenges when you are six feet under. The only strategy you have to stop focusing on your problems is to focus on what you have.

                            Gratitude is a time-tested pathway to success, health, and happiness. It redirects your focus to what you have from what you lack. Here’s what James Clear does every day,[1]

                            “I say one thing I’m grateful for each day when I sit down to eat dinner.”

                            3. Smile

                            Can you pause and smile before you continue reading this?

                            Now here is what just happened based on research conducted by the Association for Psychological Science; you set a pace for living a happier life when you smile. A genuine smile or what’s called a Duchenne smile is a good habit to have if you want to find spiritual, emotional and mental peace of mind.[2]

                            Smiling induces the release of molecules that function towards fighting stress. The physiological state of your body determines the state of your mind. When you slouch or frown, your mind takes cues relating to unhappiness and depression. But, once you adjust yourself by putting up a smile, you begin to feel a new level of excitement and vibrancy.

                            Can you smile again?

                            4. Start Your Day with a Healthy Breakfast

                            Starting your day with a healthy breakfast is a good habit to have and forms a crucial part of your life. Nevertheless, about 31 million Americans skip their breakfast each day.[3]

                            If you are fed up hearing that breakfast is a crucial component of your day, you are only fighting the truth. If you want to become more successful, you need to ‘break your fast’ with healthy foods every morning.

                            This habit is not difficult to form if you usually rush out the door every single morning. You can wake up earlier to fix yourself a meal so you don’t break down during the day.

                            Advertising

                            Get inspired by these 20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time.

                            5. Exercise Daily

                            One of the good habits to have is to exercise your body and muscles every day. You don’t have to run a marathon or lift a weight. You only need to engage in less strenuous activities that oxygenate your blood and inject endorphins in your body.

                            Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, classified exercise as a good habit to maximize his already jam-packed schedule.[4] He said,

                            ‘I wake up by 5, meditate for 30 minutes, seven-minute workout times three, make coffee, and check-in.’

                            He said on Product Hunt that he follows this routine every day as it gives him a steady-state that empowers him to be more productive.

                            6. Manage Your Time as You Manage Your Finance

                            Another good habit is the act of managing your time effectively. This goes a long way to impact your achievement.

                            Time management is what separates the successful from the rest of the world as we all possess the same amount of time. How you leverage time determines your potential to succeed in life.

                            So how do you manage your time effectively?

                            Here’s Jack Dorsey’s recommendation in one of the Techonomy events;

                            “I accomplish effective time management by theming my days and practicing self-discipline. These themes help me handle distractions and interactions. If a request or task does not align with the theme for that day, I don’t do it. This sets a cadence for everyone in the company to deliver and evaluate their progress”.

                            And this is Dorsey’s weekly theme:[5]

                            • Monday – Management
                            • Tuesdays – Product
                            • Wednesday – Marketing and growth
                            • Thursdays – Developers and partnerships
                            • Fridays – Culture and recruiting
                            • Saturdays – Taking off
                            • Sundays – Reflection, feedback, strategy, and preparing for Monday

                            No wonder he was able to run two companies when others were struggling with one job.

                            7. Set Daily Goals with Intentions

                            Everyone has goals. It may relate to business or personal life. The truth is, we’re all tending towards a particular direction or another. Nevertheless, while long-term goals can offer you direction, it’s your daily goals that you establish that help you develop short-term goals that are essential for your success.

                            Long-term goals may not give you the motivation you need to keep on. But when you implement your short-term milestones daily, you become fired up, and you can overcome the challenges that come with taking on bigger tasks.

                            Here’s the main truth:Successful people don’t set goals without establishing their intentions. According to Jennifer Cohen of Forbes,[6]

                            “What helps you to achieve your desired expectation is ensuring intentions accompany your daily goals.”

                            Be intentional about your daily goals!

                            8. Seek Inspiration

                            It is usually difficult to be inspired for a considerable length of time. Sometimes, you become discouraged and feel like giving up on your goals when things are not working out as intended.

                            A practical approach to stay on top of the situation is to inspire yourself each day. When you wake up in the morning after meditation, watch some motivational videos, and let the story of great leaders inspire you.

                            Establish what Anthony Robbins called the ‘hour of power.’ Determine how many minutes you spend but make it count. Inspiration is the fuel for achievement because when you can conceive it in your mind, you can accomplish it.

                            Advertising

                            Michal Solowow, an investor and the founder of Mitex, a construction company puts it this way,[7]

                            “The problems I encounter in everyday life motivates me to find solutions. This is a self-propelling mechanism. becoming a billionaire was never a motivating factor.”

                            9. Save Steadily, Invest with All Prudence

                            I can exhaust the good habits to have without talking about saving and investing. Most times, you overlook the significance of saving for the future when you are living in your present moment. According to CNBC, a $1000 emergency will propel several Americans into debt.[8]

                            However, it is not enough to save, and you must invest your fund and be wise with it. If you pay attention to this now, you will set yourself for a life of success in the future. Ensure you save at least six months in your emergency account so you can be prepared for any future emergency.

                            10. Budget and Track Your Spendings

                            Benjamin Franklin warned of taking the precaution of little expenses. He said,

                            “A small leak sinks a great ship.”

                            It is easy to discard little expenses, but the truth is they always add up. This happens when you fail to budget.

                            Budgeting is a good habit to have, which can impact your financial life significantly. The money you spend on extravagant lifestyles can be saved and invested in your future.

                            The Bottom Line

                            Endeavor to cultivate these good habits to have to become more successful as you journey through life. The quicker you cultivate them, the faster you achieve your goals.

                            More About Habits

                            Featured photo credit: Andrijana Bozic via unsplash.com

                            Advertising

                            Reference

                            Read Next