We always remind you that the strategies that you used to get where you are, aren’t what will get you to the next level. So we’ve gathered the strategies that we consistently see used by our 7-figure clients.
Start with just one. Add one per month for the next 6 months and by the end of the year you’ll be so much further along than you are today.
Start the day with strategy, focus and intent
Wake up earlier
How you start your day sets the tone for the rest of it. If you start by rushing around and trying to do a million things at once, you’ll be stressed out and frazzled all day. But if you start with a plan and focus on what’s important, you’ll be able to get more done in less time.
Start by waking up earlier. Late risers have a more narrow window of opportunity to perform best versus early risers. You’ll be more focused, less stressed and calm as a result.
Include meditation or prayer in your day. We highly recommend this simple gratitude meditation app. This will help you reduce stress, anxiety and depression that might slow down your ability to perform at an optimal level throughout the day.
One great way to start your day is by planning out your goals for the day. Write down a list of things you want to accomplish and then focus on one task at a time. Breaking down your goals into smaller tasks makes them seem less daunting, and focusing on one task at a time will help you stay on track.
Another way to start your day with focus and intent is to keep your phone away from your bed so that you aren’t tempted to get distracted. Studies have shown that just glancing at our phone before we’ve even opened our eyes can cause anxiety and stress. Keeping the phone out of reach allows you to start your day without any distractions, helping you feel more focused on the tasks ahead. You need this time to unplug your brain to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
Plan your day around when you’re mentally sharp vs drained
The first thing to understand is that we all have a different time of day when we’re mentally sharp vs drained. The best way to figure out the time of day you work most productively is to track your energy levels throughout a week. Most people see an increase in their energy levels around lunchtime and a decrease at the end of the day.
Once you know where your high points are throughout the day, plan your days around it.
One simple productivity hack for figuring this out is to categorize what you need to accomplish into low-energy and high-energy. If you spend too much time on things that take a lot of energy, you’ll burn out. You have to push those off to another day.
If you’re still struggling with organizing your most important tasks, the best thing to do is narrow it down to a short list – but not an unrealistic one – and then prioritize what’s most important vs least important. Once that’s done, focus only on the top priority for each item on your list. When working in a group setting with a team this serves as a great way to teach them how to become self-driven and self-motivated as they realize who is fully responsible for what.
If you have trouble with a long list of prioritized tasks, it’s best to break them down even further so that you only have a few top priorities to focus on at once. Multitasking can be counterproductive as it makes the tasks take longer and results in less time spent focusing on each task. By limiting yourself to one or two items on your list, you’ll accomplish more in less time overall.
I’ve found that I’m most productive when I use my own adaptation of the Pomodoro technique. That technique recommends that you do work in 20-minutes of focus followed by a short 5-minute break. What I’ve found that works best for me (over years of testing) is 90-minutes of focus followed by 60-minutes of free time. What tasks I do during each 90-minute session depend upon my energy level for that part of the day.
Delay social media consumption until mid-day
It’s important not to get distracted by social media throughout your day – but don’t feel bad about letting yourself use it a little bit! Afternoon is the perfect time for this since most people are winding down from their morning and don’t really need anything else to do.
Another great time to use social media is when you can multi-task with another enjoyable activity, like watching a sitcom while you scroll through your feed.
Most people start their day off by checking their feeds, but it’s best not to get distracted throughout the day. When spending too much time on social media before noon, you reduce your focus for the rest of the day and burn yourself out quickly. You need this time in the morning to be productive instead of wasting it checking your phone every five minutes.
Focus on goals
Don’t set resolutions – we tend to lose those by the end of February. Instead, set goals every January to work towards. After all, that’s why you made New Year’s resolutions in the first place, right?
Use SMART Goals
1. Specific – What is the specific goal you want to accomplish?
2. Measurable – Does it have a measurable, realistic number attached to it?
3. Achievable – Is this goal at all possible given your current situation and resources? Will it be challenging but doable if you stick with the plan?
4. Realistic/Relevant – Is this goal actually realistic given your other goals and life responsibilities, or just an easy way to check off an item on a list?
5. Time-bound – Is there a deadline by which you want to achieve this goal/accomplish this task? If not, you’re less likely to follow through because there’s no pressure from the outside to keep you on track.
Make annual goals, but it’s even more important to think about mid-term goals that are achievable within the next few months and weekly/daily goals for what you want to accomplish within those timeframes. That way there are smaller milestones along the way so you know how much progress is being made toward your larger goal.
If your business doesn’t have a long tradition of using metrics/metrics reporting, this has several benefits:
- Keeps everyone accountable
- Provides measurement against which to compare & gauge success over time (which can be used as reference points in future planning)
- Helps identify underlying issues at an early stage before they grow into major problems
- Differentiates between what’s important vs. not important
- Puts your business on the fast track to success by avoiding costly mistakes
Measure the Goals
It’s absolutely essential that you measure everything about your business, no matter how small it is or how much money it makes. Measuring will give everyone involved in the company a clear understanding of what each key metric means and where everyone needs to put their focus in order to up revenue . It also helps you identify problems at an early stage so they don’t become big issues down the road. This is crucial for growth, since running out of money will shut down your business almost immediately – but poor habits that can cause sales to stagnate or decline are harder to notice and will take longer to impact your bottom line.
By measuring, you’re putting your business on the fast track to success because you can avoid making costly mistakes that would otherwise put a serious damper on growth. There are also more nuanced benefits – for example, one of our clients found that by tracking the progress of their employees, they could build better relationships within the company and create an environment where everyone was learning from each other rather than competing with each other.
Make the Goals Public
Integrate metrics into meetings so everyone knows where you’re at and what needs to happen next. You can even share results anonymously or give people rewards for sharing data on things like conversion rates (or anything else they want to work harder/smarter at).
When you make your goal public, it can help build your community and create a fun atmosphere where people are working together to accomplish the same thing. It’s also much harder to quit when you know other people are counting on you because they announced their goals publicly as well!
Having clear steps will take away the stress of trying to come up with them all on your own – just choose 10 or so for this year that seem reasonable and achievable based on how much time/money/resources you have available right now. Without any guidelines defining what success looks like, it can be hard to even start taking action toward achieving your goals because there’s no way of knowing if what you’re doing is having an impact.
Revisit the Goals
Revisit your goals every 2-3 months. Set an appointment with yourself on your calendar at the beginning of the year for these reviews. Ask if you still want those goals, if they still fit with where your business and life are at the moment.
If you find that the goals you’ve chosen aren’t working out, adjust them and set new ones. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a little trial and error to figure out what works for you – it can even provide valuable insight into how your business and life operate.
Work out consistently
66% of rich people do aerobic exercise 30 minutes or more every day
Working out consistently is one of the most important habits you can develop for your business. When you’re in good shape, you have more energy and focus to put into your work. You also look better and feel better, which can help with your confidence levels when it comes time to close a sale or give a presentation.
There are so many benefits to working out regularly that it’s impossible to list them all here, but some of the most important ones are increased production of glucose – a brain fuel, release of endorphins and serotonin, and improved cardiovascular health. These all translate into increased productivity, creativity and motivation in your business.
The best part is that you don’t need to go to the gym or spend hours on your exercise each day – just 30 minutes of daily physical activity will translate to huge benefits. I like to work out in virtual reality using Supernatural on my Oculus Quest 2. Getting time for my workouts is the most difficult for me because I hate it, but my coach has been enforcing this and I’ve started seeing great results.
Read more books
The rich would rather be educated than entertained.
Reading more books is one of the best things you can do for your business. Not only does it help you learn new information and skills, but it also helps you become a better thinker and problem solver. When you read more books, you expose yourself to new perspectives and ways of looking at the world. This can help you come up with new ideas for your business and find solutions to problems that you’ve been struggling with.
In addition, reading books can help improve your writing skills. If you want to start a blog or write articles for publication, reading books will help you develop a style that is both interesting and informative. You’ll also learn how to structure your thoughts and arguments in a way that is easy for readers to follow.
When starting off, you may want to stick with non-fiction books that are related to your goals and interests in your business. Read to acquire or maintain knowledge, using subjects such as:
- Biographies of successful people
- History books
- Self-help or personal development books
Nurture and prioritize relationships
Nurturing relationships is one of the most important things you can do for your business. When you have strong relationships with others, you have a support system that you can rely on during tough times. You also have people who are willing to help you out when you need it.
In order to build and maintain strong relationships, it’s important to nurture them. This means spending time with the people who are important to you, talking to them regularly, and being there for them when they need you. It can also mean helping them out when they need it and doing favors for them.
Prioritizing relationships also means making sure that your family and friends come first. This doesn’t mean that you have to neglect your business. It just means that if something is really important – like family events or holidays – you need to put it ahead of work and make sure that your plans are adjusted accordingly.
Do something for others
Helping out others can be one of the most rewarding habits you can develop in your business, especially when you do it with intention .
When you help others, you bring value to their lives. This creates a healthy reciprocity dynamic – when people sense that they can get something out of helping and serving someone else, they’re more willing to do it.
In addition, doing things for other people can help you feel better about yourself and your business. Helping others is one of the best ways to feel fulfilled, even if you’re doing it on a small scale.
This takes time and effort – you need to be willing to put in the work so that you can develop a sustainable habit of helping others with intention. If your schedule is already packed, you might want to consider taking a step back so you can focus on the things that are most important.
This doesn’t mean you have to give up everything else – it just means prioritizing serving others so that you don’t burn out or get resentful about your business.
Networking and building relationships is one of the most important things you can do in your business. When you have a strong network, you have people who are willing to help you out when necessary and who recommend your services to others. This helps expand your reach, bring in new clients, and increase sales.
Building relationships with others isn’t something you can do overnight, however. You need to be strategic about how you go about networking and building better relationships with others.
You don’t want to come across as desperate for connections or social capital . It’s also important that you focus on the people who will actually be able to help you out rather than trying to network with everyone.
In order to build better relationships, you need to be a good listener and show that you’re invested in the person you’re networking with. While it might sound corny, it’s important to go into conversations seeking to understand what other people have going on in their lives. This will give you a better idea of how what you’re offering can help them, and it will increase the chances that they’ll want to do business with you once you leave.
Join a Business Coaching Group
There are a number of business coaching groups that you can join – both online and in person. Many of them are free, while others require an investment on your part.
Joining one of these coaching communities will allow you to get direct support from fellow entrepreneurs who have already been where you are. You’ll get access to strategies, techniques, and courses that you can use to improve your business.
You’ll also have access to a group of people who are willing to help you out on an ongoing basis – so if you ever need someone to brainstorm ideas with or ask questions, there will be other people in the group who are open for this kind of conversation.
Have a set sleep schedule
It’s important that you don’t neglect your sleep – this is when your body recovers from the day and prepares itself for another day.
When you neglect your sleep, however, it’s not just your body that suffers – your business will also take a hit. When you’re overtired, you won’t be able to think clearly or perform at your peak . You might also struggle with your mood – depression or irritability can take a toll on your relationships with others.
It’s important that you get at least 7-9 hours of sleep on a regular basis. This will help you work better, think more clearly, and have the energy that’s necessary to be productive throughout the day.
This doesn’t mean you need to function on 8 hours of sleep forever, however. You can train your brain to sleep less during times when you need to be more alert – just don’t neglect your sleep entirely if you want to have a healthy and productive business.
Cut off the screens at least 30 minutes before bed
The blue light is proven to disrupt sleep. It can prevent melatonin (a natural sleep aid) from being produced, and it makes you feel less sleepy when you’re in bed.
You should use this time to do something that relaxes you and prepares your mind for sleep – like reading a book or meditating. If you still want to check your phone before going to bed, turn on the nighttime mode so that you won’t be exposed to as much blue light.
Have a stress-free sleeping environment
Your sleeping environment should be free of stress and distractions. Make sure your bed is comfortable, and that the room is dark and quiet. If there are any noise or light sources that are keeping you from falling asleep, try to address them.
You might also want to consider using a noise machine or blackout curtains to help reduce noise and light exposure.
Have a relax and wind-down routine
A relax and wind-down routine is a great way to prepare your mind and body for sleep. It can also be helpful for reducing stress levels during the day.
Some of the activities that you might want to consider include reading, meditation, yoga, or stretching. You could also try aromatherapy or using a noise machine to create a relaxing environment.
You can also focus on gratitude and do an activity such as journaling what you are grateful for the day. I’ve also used Lysa’s Gratitude Meditation app every few nights for the past year to wind down and relax before bed. This has helped me get a better night’s sleep and feel more rested during the day.
Avoid eating or drinking too close to bedtime
Another small habit that can help you get a good night’s sleep is avoiding eating or drinking too close to bedtime. If you’re going to have a snack, make sure it’s something light and healthy that won’t keep you up at night.
And if you’re going to drink alcohol, make sure you do so in moderation – too much alcohol can also disrupt your sleep.
Stick to consistent sleep schedule
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for a productive day. When you’re well-rested, you’ll be able to think more clearly, have more energy, and be less irritable.
One way to ensure you’re getting enough sleep is to stick to a consistent sleep schedule. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. It might be difficult to do this at first, but it will get easier over time.
Set an alarm for the morning
Setting an alarm for the morning is a great way to make sure you get up on time. When you have an alarm set, you’ll be less likely to hit the snooze button and oversleep.
It’s also a good idea to use an alarm that’s pleasant to wake up to – like a bird chirping or light slowly turning on. This will help you start your day in a positive mood. And remember from above all of the benefits of waking up earlier.
Do you have something in your routine that we haven’t mentioned above?
Let us know in the comments below!
Vicky is the CEO and Chief Creative Strategist of Vicky Wu Marketing. She draws from 30 years of experience at the CMO level, the CEO level, marketing for Fortune 500 companies and multi-million and multi-billion-dollar organizations, PLUS strategies learned helping startups and nonprofits with limited budgets … now focusing on providing SMBs with effective and efficient marketing strategies – giving them access to the same level of expertise as the really big guys with deep pockets, that they may not otherwise be able to access.