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8 Habits of Highly Effective Entrepreneurs

How you live and work each day is the foundation of your success.

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Effectiveness comes down to producing desired results. The most successful entrepreneurs have mastered being effective because it makes them work smarter, eliminating unnecessary effort and wasted time. Success cannot happen with any consistency when approached in a lazy, haphazard, hit-or-miss fashion. Effectiveness is rooted in discipline and routine, not talent or genius. Successful entrepreneurs make sure to be detailed, organized and fully prepared before executing on any goal or plan.

Here are eight characteristics of effective entrepreneurs.

1. Visionary

Successful entrepreneurs spend a significant amount of time thinking, creating and visioning. Being innovative comes naturally to all of us if we can discipline ourselves to enjoy the process of being in constant discovery. The use of imagination is a successful entrepreneur’s most powerful asset. The most effective entrepreneurs dare to dream, take action and turn their dreams into a reality. This visionary quality sets them apart from those who do not dare to dream as big. Standout entrepreneurs do not see a limit to their creativity, success, ability to make money, have a positive and lasting impact on others, or to involve themselves in new ventures.

Related: Are You a Goal-Setter or a Visionary?

2. Early Risers

The most effective entrepreneurs are early risers. They support the belief that the early bird gets the worm. They start their day visualizing what they want to achieve and speak affirmations of success over their mindset. Many also start their day with some form of physical activity. It’s the method they use to wake themselves up, get their blood pumping and their mind alert and active. Getting up early and getting a jump on their day allows them to get into the office before others arrive. This gives them some time to set themselves, collect their thoughts and generate lists of priorities to most efficiently organize and tackle their day.

3. Scheduled

One of the easiest ways successful entrepreneurs increase effectiveness is through being scheduled. They live a schedule based on putting their responsibilities first and leisure activities second. Socializing is important and life-giving and successful entrepreneurs recognize the value in getting out to be around people, not just for the human interaction and feelings of interconnectedness, but because being around others reduces stress and increases innovation. The most effective entrepreneurs choose to schedule social time at the end of their day when work-pressures are off. When responsibilities are put first, this type of discipline helps successful entrepreneurs enjoy their free time unencumbered by nagging responsibilities that we not met during the day.

Related: Entrepreneurs Need a Better Calendar App Than the 2 Everybody Uses

4. Sleep

To be effective, successful entrepreneurs appreciate the importance of sleep. The more sleep they get, the sharper, more emotionally available and mentally on-point they tend to be. Ariana Huffington in her book The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time shows the well documented body of evidence on the bi-directional relationship between sleep and stress; a lack of sleep creates an increase in emotional reactivity and a decrease in frustration tolerance, which contributes to another night of poor sleep. It’s a horrible cycle. If poor sleeping patterns are left unmanaged, effectiveness and success become impossible.

5. Simplicity.

Simplicity is the secret weapon successful entrepreneurs swear by to increase their effectiveness. They live nearly obsessively by simple yet practical routines. Creating simple routines helps them avoid taking on workloads which are beyond what they can reasonably handle. They are the most productive in achieving their desired results when not too overwhelmed with stress. For this reason, they set protective and firm limits around themselves and their time, understanding even superhero’s need a day off. In his book The Way of the Quiet Warrior Tom Dutta teaches there is no path to efficiency without self-care.

6. Journal

One the easiest ways to increase effectiveness is to develop the habit of journaling. The most effective entrepreneurs put pen-to-paper and write down what is important to them, the things that were both good and bad during their day and ideas on how they can improve. They write lists, goals, gratitude and sometime write simply to vent their frustrations. Journaling calms the emotions caused by stress or conflict by providing a much needed disconnect from the daily grind of consistent talking, emailing, taking calls, and other distractions which come along with electronic devices that never allow us to fully unplug. Successful entrepreneurs value participating in an active inner dialogue with their inner critic as it helps them to transmute this negative voice into a positive coaching voice that is all about overcoming odds. Entrepreneurs are the most effective when they’re strategizing ways to beat a challenge.

Related: Have 5 Minutes? Try Journaling to Keep Yourself Grateful for the Everyday.

7. Flexible

As important as routine is, successful entrepreneurs also understand how imperative it is they be flexible enough to pivot on demand in response to unforeseen or changing circumstances. Being flexible enough to change direction greatly increases their chances at success and it also enhances their own learning, growth, and education. The routines they live by are simple by design because this simplicity makes it easy for them to maintain their life and career no matter their circumstances. Effective entrepreneurs make it a habit to only need the bare essentials. This increases their productivity because their set-up to work and communicate doesn’t require anything special from them to be effective whether they are at the beach or in the office.

8. Curious

The most effective entrepreneurs view boredom as the great killer of success, which is why they make sure never to be bored. They happily spend endless hours working and doing what they love to do. They have made it a habit to be open and curious about everything in life and in their field of work. This curiosity keeps them asking questions and generating ideas for what their next steps are going to be. Because they choose to remain open and curious, it is impossible to drain their creative reservoirs. Curiosity is just another aspect that contributes to effectiveness for them. It is my belief that curiosity is the key difference separating an average success from a  great successes.  In my book Success Equations: A Path to Living an Emotionally Wealthy Life I teach that people tend to stop working when they run out of creative energy, while effective entrepreneurs have a radically different approach in that they never stop generating new ideas or paths to follow.

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