Entrepreneurs have to absorb, synthesize, then spit out a wider variety of information than almost anyone else on the planet. After all, when you’re starting your own company, it’s common to be the CEO, Head Accountant, Fundraiser, Chief of Operations, and Marketing Director all at once (not to mention beta tester, survey taker, and every other roll in between). Simply put, keeping information straight across categories and rolls is difficult, which is why successful entrepreneurs look for ways to work harder and smarter while they chase their dreams (and often before they can afford to hire their dream team of fellow dreamers).
Below are five key brain hacks that help business owners keep their heads straight when the path to success is anything but.
1. Write It Down (By Hand)
It might remind you of elementary school, but writing down a to-do list and taking copious notes (on everything) is a proven way to retain more information, even if you never look at those notes again. Keeping a notebook happy is also insurance against losing a fleeting thought that could turn into your next great idea. Some entrepreneurs we talk to even keep a journal or small notebook next to their bed so they can record thoughts and ideas from dreams as soon as they wake up, while abstract thinking is still fresh.
2. Up Your Fitness
The brain is very much a part of your body, and ignoring one will wreak havoc on the other. Exercise, both cardiovascular conditioning and weight training, has been shown to increase productivity and the brain’s ability to store and categorize new information (in addition, it’s good for overall mental health and function). Billionaire and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has claimed he gets an additional four hours of work done each day because he takes the time to exercise, which ups your mental and physical fitness at once.
3. Supercharge Your Brain
It’s no secret we’re fans of gaining a mental edge. Brain-boosting supplements, also called nootropics, are an increasingly popular way to boost productivity and sharpen focus among business owners. There are several science-backed supplements in this category, including some from herbal, natural, and even organic sources. Our reviewers have cut through the hype and separated fact from fiction in outlining which work for certain lifestyles, professions, or preferences.
4. Work Standing Up
Want to up your work output by 10%? Try standing while working. Whether it’s at a custom standing desk or one you fashion by putting your laptop on top of old phone books, a standing workstation benefits posture and productivity while fighting fatigue and reducing procrastination. In our experience, it takes a few days of adapting, but there’s a pronounced uptick in work energy less than a week in.
5. Set Smaller Goals
Starting a company is daunting; making it success is an even scarier prospect. Start small and subdivide to-do lists in order to bite work off into manageable chunks. Make incremental progress, a goal to accomplish within a day, afternoon, or hour, without procrastination, and the big picture starts to come into focus much clearer.