It's funny, really. Most of us who get into entrepreneurship start with the intention of working LESS than we did at our regular jobs. The startling reality is that we often end up doing way more because we love the projects we're involved with. And because oftentimes, that's what it takes to make things happen.
Still, the long hours can take their toll—and even the Elon Musks of the world are no exception. To keep yourself productive, it's essential that you build habits to help you organize your day and get the most out of your time.
Here are three of the most powerful.
1. Become an early riser by going to bed early.
There was probably a period of time in your life where it was easy stay up late into the night (or early into the next morning) trying to get things done.
Going to bed at 10 pm and waking up around 6 am is EXPONENTIALLY better than going to bed at 3 am and waking up around 11 am, even though number of hours you sleep is the same. I’ve tested this over and over again, and the evidence is pretty clear: I don’t perform well if I stay up past 11 pm-ish.
Early risers really do have a distinct advantage when it comes to mental clarity, acuity, and energy.
2. Start every day with an intention, focus, or meditation.
Starting your day with a clear idea of what you want to do changes EVERYTHING.
Take 10 slow breaths, think about your main objectives for the day, then get moving. This seems too simple to have an effect, but it’s not. If you’re used to getting up already in battle mode, then you’ve probably forgotten how it feels to have a moment to yourself.
Take a few of those minutes back to refocus yourself. It really helps. You can also use that time to create a better to-do list.
3. Physical activity. Do it.
Working out is probably the highest-leverage tool in your arsenal. It predictably and reliably makes you feel better and keeps you both physically and emotionally healthy, year round.
Training yourself physically not only gives you benchmarks to hit on a regular basis, but it also creates a predictable backbone in your daily life that you can count on, even if everything goes wrong. Mentally, that’s very comforting.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor.
Photo from Flickr (Anne-Lie Boman)