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Use These Daily Routines of 7 Famous Entrepreneurs To Create Your Own Routine

Use These Daily Routines of 7 Famous Entrepreneurs To Create Your Own Routine

Belle Beth Cooper of Buffer has collected the daily routines of seven extremely famous and successful entrepreneurs so that you may learn to construct a fantastic routine yourself. From Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter, to Benjamin Franklin: here’s how you can get the most out of your days.

Our daily routines can make a huge difference to how healthy, happy and productive we are. I’ve recently tried adjusting my own routine in the hopes of getting more done and wasting less time in-between tasks or activities.

While it’s important to understand how your own brain works and what routine will suit your body best, I always find it interesting to see what works for others when planning something new for myself.

Amazing routines of 7 successful entrepreneurs

In the hopes of building the best routine I could, I did some research on the daily routines of some of the most successful people I know of. They certainly inspired me to think about different parts of my routine – perhaps they’ll be useful to you as well.

Jack Dorsey, CEO Square & Founder of Twitter

In this video interview with Twitter and Square co-founder, Jack Dorsey, he explains his daily routineas he juggles a full-time role at both companies.

To get everything done, Jack puts in an 8-hour day at each company, every day. Of course, in a recent interview Jack said that he only did this routine for a limited time and today he is more fully focused on Square.

Back then, when he wrote the post however, it meant that he’s doing 16-hour workdays, Monday-Friday. Whether that’s the kind of workday you’re aiming for or not, you’d have to admit it’s impressive that he can fit it in!

The only way to do this is to be very disciplined and very practiced

Jack’s trick in staying productive while putting in such long hours is to theme his days. Each weekday is dedicated to a particular area of the business at both companies. Here’s what his themed week looks like:

Monday: Management and running the company
Tuesday: Product
Wednesday: Marketing and communications, growth
Thursday: Developers and partnerships
Friday: Company culture and recruiting

Jack says this method of theming his days helps him to stay focused even when he’s often interrupted:

There is interruption all the time but I can quickly deal with an interruption and then know that it’s Tuesday, I have product meetings and I need to focus on product stuff.

16-hour days might sound like workaholic territory, but Jack still makes time to disconnect and recharge on the weekends:

Saturday I take off. I hike. And then Sunday is reflections, feedback, strategy and getting ready for the rest of the week.

It’s nice to know that even while working two full-time jobs, it’s possible to get away sometimes and relax. It’s interesting to compare that to the actual origin of the 8 hour work-day, as it can appear quite counter-intuitive at first.

Benjamin Franklin: “Evening question: What good have I done today?”

Benjamin Franklin is known for being keen on self-improvement. He famously detailed a thirteen-week plan to practice important virutes such as cleanliness, temperance, etc. Each day he tracked his progress on a chart.

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Benjamin also set himself a strict daily routine, which included time for sleeping, meals and working, all set for specific times of the day. Unfortuantely, the demands of his printing business made it difficult for him to always stick to his routine, but this image shows how he aimed to spend his time:

benfranklin

     

    One thing that isn’t detailed in this daily routine is habit he adopted later on, which I found really fascinating: a daily “air bath.” Although cold baths were considered beneficial at that time, Benjamin believed that cold water shocked the body too much, and preferred “bathing” in cold air instead:

    I rise early almost every morning, and sit in my chamber without any clothes whatever, half an hour or an hour, according to the season, either reading or writing. This practice is not in the least painful, but on the contrary, agreeable; and if I return to bed afterwards, before I dress myself, as sometimes happens, I make a supplement to my night’s rest, of one or two hours of the most pleasing sleep that can be imagined.

    I’m not always the best sleeper, so I’m tempted to try this and see if I too can have some of “the most pleasing sleep that can be imagined”!

    Evan Williams: “Take the middle of the day off”

    As the founder of high-profile companies like Blogger, Twitter and Medium, you’d probably expect Evan Williams to be at work more than most of us. Particularly in the middle of the day, right? But in fact, Evan takes a break from work in the middle of the day to visit the gym.

    We’ve looked at energy levels before, and how they fluctuate during the day. Everyone’s body is different, so it’s helpful for us to understand how our own energy fluctuations affect our productivity.

    Although Evan used to go to the gym in the mornings, he found that it wasn’t the best natural time for him to be there:

    My focus is usually great first thing in the morning, so going to the gym first is a trade off of very productive time. Instead, I’ve started going mid-morning or late afternoon (especially on days I work late).

    Although Evan’s now leaving the office mid-way through his workday, he’s found that overall it’s been a beneficial change to his routine:

    It feels weird (at first) to leave the office in the middle of the day, but total time spent is nearly the same with higher energy and focus across the board.

    Winston Churchill: “Start the day by working from bed”

    Being Prime Minister is probably one of the busiest lifestyles you can have. Yet, somehow among everything he had to get done, Winston Churchill managed to stick to his daily routinefor years.

    He would wake up around 7:30am every day and spend most of his morning in bed. Here, he had breakfast, read his mail, caught up on all of the national newspapers and dictated to his secretaries.

    Around 11am he got out of bed, washed and took a walk in the garden.

    Lunch went from 1–3:30pm most days, and was usually a full three-course meal with his family and guests. After lunch he would often work again until around 5pm.

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    Being a fan of naps, I’m glad to hear that Churchill took a long one at around 5pm every day—usually for an hour and a half.

    At 8pm he would have dinner—dining again with family and guests. Usually he returned to his study for another hour or so of work after dinner.

    I like how much variety Churchill was able to pack into his days, even though he was working for much of them. That’s definitely something I’d like to get better at!

    Leo Babauta: “Start your day by planning what you need to get done”

    A morning routine can be particularly important to setting up your day in the best way. Leo Babauta of Zen Habits sharedhis schedule when he began experimenting with the best morning routine for him:

    • Wake at 4:30 a.m.
    • Drink water.
    • Set 3 Most Important Things (MITs) for today.
    • Fix lunches for kids and myself.
    • Eat breakfast, read.
    • Exercise (run, bike, swim, strength, or yardwork) or meditate.
    • Shower.
    • Wake wife & kids at 6:30 a.m.

    Leo’s routine is all about starting his day in the best way possible:

    The reason I like having a morning routine is that not only does it instill a sense of purpose, peace and ritual to my day, but it ensures that I’m getting certain things done every morning … namely, my goals.

    You’ll notice that one of Leo’s items is a flexible one: exercise or meditate. On Fridays he meditates, rather than exercising, while every other day he does some exercise in the morning.

    This flexibility is a great way to work in activities that you want to change based on the day. I’ve recently started running, and to keep my routine close to normal on the days I run, I just interchange my running time with my normal afternoon nap time.

    Barack Obama: “Get a head start on tomorrow, tonight”

    Like Winston Churchill, Barak Obama is a fan of sharing meals with his family. He eats breakfast with his wife and daughters every morning before helping to get his daughters ready for school. He reads newspapers and does his exercise (weights and cardio) early in the morning, before hitting the Oval Office around 9am.

    Obama also makes sure to eat dinner with his family, before returning to work—sometimes staying as late as 10pm.

    After his family retires to bed, Obama often stays up working on odds and ends left over from the day. Chief among his nightly responsibilities is leafing through the binder of documents that his staff has asked him to review.

    Having this time alone at night gives him time to catch up on work and get ready for the following day, so he can afford to spend his morning exercising and eating with his family.

    Obama is also very careful to minimize distractions like decision fatigue:

    “I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing,” he told Michael Lewis. “Because I have too many other decisions to make.”

    If anyone’s going to struggle with work/family balance, it would surely be the President of the United States, but he seems to have a solid routine in place that helps fit everything in each day.

    Tim Ferriss: “Keep your routine as flexible as possible”

    Tim Ferriss often gets asked what he does all day long. The thing I love about his routine is that it’s never the same—each day is different, depending on what he has on.

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    He does have some general rules for organizing his schedule, though: Mondays and Fridays are generally off-limits for phone calls from Tim’s assistants, so he has the flexibility to take a long weekend on either side. He usually does general preparation and prioritizing for the week on Mondays, as well as general admin tasks.

    Tim also schedules very few things into his calendar, so that he doesn’t need to stress about multi-tasking to get things done:

    The goal is to spend as much time possible doing what we want by maximizing output in minimal time.

    Tim’s routine is especially flexible, which I find really inspiring:

    I don’t have to do anything in this schedule. I choose to do them because I like them. None of them are financially-driven or unpleasant obligations. If the chance to do something more fun comes up last-minute, I can cancel all of them.

    Who wouldn’t want a schedule like that? It definitely also goes hand in hand with Tim’s counter-intuitive advice on starting a business.

    Our 6 best tips for designing your own routine

    If you’re ready to get started on your own awesome routine, here are some tips to get you started.

    1. A good breakfast can still be fast and easy

    This is a great suggestion from Lifehacker which can help you get your morning routine going. If you struggle to eat breakfast every day because it’s too much effort or takes too long, this one’s for you.

    Preparing your breakfast the night before by getting out the dishes you’ll need or cutting up fruit pieces can save you time the next morning. You might want to opt for a simple meal like cereal to save time and effort as well.

    If something more time-intensive like oatmeal is your thing, you can make breakfast for the whole week in 5 minutes – perfect for a Sunday night before your week starts.

    Here are some other fast, easy breakfast recipes you could try:

    • Dressed-up yogurt
    • Oatmeal muffins
    • No-bake oatmeal breakfast bars
    • Mason jar parfait
    • Frozen fruit smoothie
    • Omelette-in-a-pita

    Do you have another great breakfast recipe that’s easy to make? Share it in the comments below—the more the merrier! This is especially important since breakfast is so tightly connected to higher productivity.

    2. Do creative work for when you’re tired

    Our bodies have built-in clocks that determine the best times for us to eat, sleep, exercise and work. You might not have the flexibility to do everything at the right time for you, but try listening to your body clock as much as you can.

    If you do better creative work at night, for instance, try to put creative tasks off during the day and schedule more admin or analytical tasks for your mornings.

    If you find, like Evan, that exercising is best for you in the middle of the day, you could try doing this during your lunch break or taking a mid-afternoon break from work and hanging back a little later in the evenings.

    3. An alarm to wake you up might not be enough – have one to tell you to go to sleep

    Most of us have alarms to wake us up in the mornings but we all-too-easily stay up later than we plan to. Having an alarm to remind us when it’s bedtime can be a great help in sticking to a regular routine for sleep.

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    In Eric Barker’s experiments with sleep, he found that setting an alarm to tell him when to go to bed was even more effective than one to get him up in the mornings.

    To get you ready to wake up fresh and rested the next day, try simulating natural sleeping patterns as much as possible. An alarm clock like this that simulates sunrise, or even a gentle alarm sound like birds chirping can help you wake up more gently in the morning. Making your bedroom pitch-black and keeping the temperature low (and consistent) can also help with a more restful sleep.

    4. Switch yourself off at night to sleep better – the “zero notifications” method

    We’re pretty fond of hacking and experimenting with our routines at Buffer, but a nightly wind-down routine is one we pay particular attention to. Many of us have found that this makes a big difference to how much—and how well—we sleep.

    Our CEO, Joel, has written about his own routine before, and I really like how he explains his nightly wind-down habits:

    Disengage: An activity to allow total disengagement from the day’s work. For me, this is going for a 20 minute walk every evening at 9:30pm. This is a wind down period, and allows me to evaluate the day’s work, think about the greater challenges, gradually stop thinking about work and reach a state of tiredness.

    Avoid re-engaging: After the activity, go straight to bed. Be sure that all devices are in a separate room to the one you sleep (and slient). Once in bed, do not read books which are related to your work in any way. For me, this means reading fiction.

    You might want to try a walk, like Joel, or some quiet reading time. Other great wind-down activites include meditation, drinking tea, sitting quietly, stretching and taking a bath.

    And since light of any kind, including backlit screens like our computers and phones affect our sleep patterns negatively, try avoiding these for a while before you go to sleep.

    5. Develop a morning routine that you keep on weekends too

    Building up a habitual morning routine can help you to start your day in the best way. This is another one Joel is fond of, and he has a great suggestion for creating a consistent morning routine:

    I certainly believe that allowing imperfection and some slack at the weekend is important, but I personally made the mistake of having a weekend wake up time which was too divergent from my week day wake up time. Only once I started to think about the weekend, I hit a chain of many days of early mornings.

    I love this point especially, because I’m prone to have big sleep-ins and late nights on weekends, which can make my morning routine much harder to get into on a Monday morning.

    6. Track your habits to understand yourself better

    It takes time and effort to track everything you over a day. I recently started tracking my weekday activities and noticed that remembering to track each activity is the hardest part for me.

    Having said that, if you can put in the effort for a few days, you might find the insights you need toimprove your daily routine. Understanding how you live right now can help you to work towards how you want to live.

    With habits especially, it’s good to follow Richard Branson’s advice and start something before you feel ready. It’s one of the most powerful things that has helped him succeed.

    Belle Beth Cooper: Content Crafter at Buffer. Co-founder of Hello Code—creators of Exist . I write about social media, startups, life-hacking and science.

    The Daily Routines of 7 Famous Entrepreneurs and How to Design Your Own Master Routine | Buffer

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    Last Updated on January 6, 2021

    14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

    14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

    Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

    In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

    For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

    For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

    Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

    Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

    Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

    How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

    Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

    1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

    Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

    For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

    2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

    Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

    Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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    Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

    3. Create a System

    Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

    This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

    You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

    Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

    Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

    4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

    We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

    If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

    Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

    Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

    5. Use a Ratings Scale

    Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

    Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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    It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

    6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

    This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

    You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

    You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

    7. Offer Feedback Forms

    Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

    First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

    Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

    You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    8. Track Cost Effectiveness

    This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

    Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

    Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

    9. Use Self-Evaluations

    Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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    Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

    10. Monitor Time Management

    This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

    Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

      The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

      While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

      11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

      We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

      Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

      For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

      Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

      Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

      From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

      12. Utilize Peer Feedback

      This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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      Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

      Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

      It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

      13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

      When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

      Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

      Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

      14. Use an External Evaluator

      Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

      They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

      While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

      Final Thoughts

      These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

      The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

      The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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      Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

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