It is fairly well-known that if you want to be successful in business, good habits are a must.
Starting your workday early versus sleeping in, for instance, allows you to handle important tasks while your mind is sharp and fresh. Setting your alarm for the wee hours of the morning also enables you to get things done with minimal distractions because the rest of the world is still fast asleep.
Harvard University also reports that regular physical exercise is a good habit for improving work performance. Specifically, it enhances your ability to concentrate, your memory is better, and you learn with greater speed. Exercise also has beneficial effects on your creativity, while lowering your stress. As a solopreneur who is solely responsible for your business’s success, these are all positive effects.
While I don’t normally advocate for the development of bad habits, there are a few that I’ve found helpful to my success over the years. If you don’t already have these same habits, I am by no means suggesting that you develop them. However, if you do, it may be helpful to realize the benefits they offer. Not so much to reinforce that you keep the habits, but more so to identify other ways to achieve the same results, albeit in a healthier way. These bad habits top my list.
You Don’t Sleep As Much as You Should
The National Sleep Foundation would prefer that every adult in the U.S. get 7-9 hours of shuteye per night. Sometimes I am able to hit that goal, but most of the time I fall miserably short.
Admittedly, going to bed late and getting up early often leaves me feeling tired throughout the day. That said, I’ve also found that my insomnia enables me to get more done. By submitting my work well before the deadline, I’m also able to set myself apart from other writers who tend to put things off to the last minute.
Since my expertise is in health and wellness, I am aware that a lack of sleep over time isn’t good mentally or physically. Your mood suffers, your body doesn’t adequately heal, and you’re more susceptible to colds and the latest bug. How do you increase your productivity while still getting enough rest?
One option is to set a timer when you work. This gives you a dedicated period to focus on a specific task, improving your concentration and boosting your productivity as a result.
Also, limit your time on social media. It is way too easy to go into these platforms to post an engaging update only to suddenly realize that you’ve been checking your news feed for the last hour and not getting any work done.
If you do your own posting, give yourself a certain amount of time to go in, post, respond to comments, and engage with your followers. Otherwise, stay off these sites until your workday is done.
You Live on Coffee
I have to admit, most mornings the only thing that entices me out of bed is knowing that I can brew a hot cup of coffee within a couple of minutes. That starts my constant flow of caffeine throughout the rest of the day, primarily to keep me from getting too tired (maybe because of my poor sleep habits?).
Is coffee that bad for you? Not according to all of the research. The Mayo Clinic reports that it may even help protect against major diseases like type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s, heart attacks, and strokes.
The problem comes in when you drink too much. This can increase your blood pressure and, in some cases, even raise your cholesterol. Not to mention the jitters you get, or the heartburn.
How do you increase your energy without an unlimited supply of java? Drink more water. When you are dehydrated, you get tired more easily. A high-coffee diet enhances this effect, since this beverage is also a mild diuretic.
Taking regular breaks throughout the day helps as well. Get up and move around. Do a jumping jack or two to get your blood pumping. When you get back to your desk, you will feel more energized.
Your Work-Life Balance is Nonexistent
Do you have the habit of being so driven in your business that you sometimes forget that life also exists outside of work? Yeah, me too.
One of the first lessons I learned when becoming a solopreneur is that if you want to be a success, you’re going to have to work for it. This typically involves putting in long days and working weekends and holidays, leaving minimal time to relax and enjoy life a bit too.
Having poor work-life balance means that my mind is always on my work. This isn’t good because I’m always on the clock. Yet, it is also an advantage because I find that when my brain is constantly thinking about my projects, I’ve come up with some pretty creative pieces of content.
Fortunately, there are better ways to increase your creativity without your personal life suffering in the process. One is to get up and walk away for 10-15 minutes. This gives your brain enough downtime to get your creative juices flowing (which is also why you sometimes get the best ideas in the shower!).
Another good way to boost your creativity is to learn to constantly ask why. Develop a higher level of curiosity, which teaches your brain to look for solutions that are typically considered to be outside of the norm.
On a side note, I have learned that when you come up with a creative idea, WRITE IT DOWN! It’s amazing how quickly that great idea can float away, never to be heard from again.
If you have other bad habits that are providing some benefit to you as a solopreneur, figure out what advantages they offer and try to come up with a healthier way to achieve the same goal. This will enable you to remain a solopreneur for years and years to come.