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13 Entrepreneur-Recommended Habits To Maintain Productivity (Even When You’re Busy)

No matter how stressed or busy you get, the right habits can keep you moving forward.

As an entrepreneur, you’re going to battle stress, busyness, and likely even exhaustion from time to time. While these episodes might feel discouraging, they’re not permanent, and you’ll be able to push through and find motivation again. 

The ability to keep up your energy and mental stamina begins with good, healthy habits. Below, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members shared habits they adhere to in order to maintain productivity:

Q. What’s one habit you adhere to in order to maintain productivity, no matter how busy or stressed you are? How does it help?

Try some of their tips to get you through the rough patches in your business.

1. Following a Morning and Evening Routine

I stay productive by establishing a solid morning and night routine. At night, I’ll think about my priorities for the next day and make a mental note on how I am going to accomplish those things. Then when I wake up, I know exactly what I need to be getting done. Having a productive morning routine helps set the tone for a productive day, and I would recommend every person start creating one. – John Hall, Calendar

2. Scheduling Everything on a Calendar

If I want to make sure I get something done, I schedule it in as though it was an important meeting. Tasks actually get more stressful the longer you put them off. It can help to enter them into a productivity app or a to-do list. It’s a question of thinking of it as something you just have to do, whether you feel like it or not. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

3. Keeping Email Closed

I close my email throughout the day. Constantly reading and replying to emails is a huge distraction and it interrupts otherwise productive work time. Each day, I set aside designated times to read and answer emails and leave them alone the rest of the day. This is especially helpful during busy and stressful times at work because you don’t feel a barrage of emails coming at you wave after wave. – Jordan Conrad, Writing Explained

4. Starting With the Most Important Task of the Day

No matter how busy my day is, I always make sure that I complete the most critical task right when I start my day. I am the most productive during these hours and working on the most important tasks at this time helps me get things done more efficiently. Once the difficult tasks are done, I feel motivated to carry on with the rest of my work no matter how stressed I am. – Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite

5. Practicing Deep Breathing

What I love about consciously breathing deeply is that I don’t have to leave my desk or stop working. I simply take note of when my breathing is shallow and start mindfully expanding my breath through my diaphragm. After a few minutes I notice that my head is clearer, my heart rate lower, and I feel noticeably less tired. This helps a lot with productivity during a stressful day. – Amine Rahal, IronMonk Solutions

6. Going for a Morning Run

Going for a morning run is nonnegotiable for me, regardless of how tired or grumpy I am. Running puts me in a positive mindset so I’m ready to do what needs to be completed on my to-do list for the day. Plus, I can think more clearly. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

7. Listing Out Priorities for the Day

I always start my day with a list of things I hope to accomplish throughout the day. A paper list that I can physically check off helps keep me on track, even on my busiest days. I suggest you start by writing down what you 100% need to get done by the end of the day. As you learn to master this list, start adding extra tasks and watch your productivity soar. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

8. Eating a Healthy Breakfast

I notice a stark difference in my productivity levels when I skip breakfast and don’t start my day with a hearty meal. Back when I only drank coffee in the morning, I’d quickly become lethargic and felt I needed a nap before lunchtime. After incorporating a healthy breakfast into my morning routine, I’ve noticed an increase in my productivity. I can get more done in less time. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

9. Saying No to More Things

Successful people say “no” to almost everything, and you might know some of the names of those successful people. So try to validate your team’s ideas and opinions, but at the end of the day, those ideas should be subordinate to the organization’s goals and policies. By doing that, you’re more likely to increase your own productivity and also your team’s efficiency. – Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz

10. Setting Timers for Tasks

I like to use different timers to maintain my productivity and finish my tasks. It’s easy for me to get distracted by the simplest things, so setting timers for different times based on my productivity level helps me accomplish the most. If I’m feeling extra productive, I’ll give myself more time to work. If not, I’ll break it down into smaller increments and take more breaks. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

11. Waking Up Early

I always wake up early as a matter of course. Waking up early and reading or finishing personal objectives can set the tone for the entire day. You also feel like you’ve had a great start and this creates a feeling of positivity that lasts as the day goes on. The feeling that you get when you’ve used your time well can be deeply satisfying and lead to greater happiness. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

12. Structuring the Day With ‘Windows’ of Time

I find a structured day is extremely helpful. I identify my daily windows and stick to them: a window for calls, a window for work, a window for exercise, a window for family. The structure in an unstructured world is critical to me being productive, focused and the best version of me. – Zane Stevens, Protea Financial

13. Following the One-Minute Rule

My favorite productivity rule is the one-minute rule. If something can be done in one minute or less, do it now. It is the best way to stay on top of smaller tasks that can become nagging and linger on your brain, making it difficult for you to tackle the important issues that need to be done. Plus, lots of small tasks add up at the end of the day, leaving you with a sense of accomplishment. – Ashley Sharp, Dwell with Dignity

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

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