Panel: Daily habits that help you thrive as a CEO • Dare to Grow

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Panel: Daily habits that help you thrive as a CEO

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Raise your hand if you’ve…tried to be creative on zero sleep, started your day by staring at your to-do list for 30 minutes, or worked until 9…10…11pm because you just wanted to get one more thing done.

You too?

One thing I’ve realized over the past almost 10 years is that the DAILY HABITS that support me as a CEO are as important as the strategies that grow my business. 

Because it’s those habits that keep you feeling excited to sit down to work, have the energy for a 5pm call, or stave off the stress that comes from being in charge of it all.

But sometimes it’s easy to go hog wild creating and learning and implementing and forget about supporting yourself, setting boundaries, and creating those habits that allow you to stay in business for a long time.

This is why today on the podcast we’ve got a panel episode to give you a bunch of options to help you create good CEO habits. 

You’ll hear from Maggie @smallbusinessboss, a consultant for service-based biz owners, and Heidi @heidi_jones_coaching who helps ambitious women balance their work and life while going after their goals.

Follow Maggie @smallbusinessboss + her podcast The BS-Free Service Business show
Follow Heidi @heidi_jones_coaching + her podcast The Heidi Jones Coaching Podcast

My fave cycle tracking apps Stardust + Clue

Too long, didn’t listen…

Today we’re going to talk about daily habits to help you survive and thrive as a CEO. One thing I’ve realized over the past almost 10 years is that the daily habits that support you as a human and as a business owner are as important as the strategies. 

Because it’s those habits that keep you feeling excited to sit down to work, have the energy for a 5pm call, or stave off the stress that comes from being in charge of it all.

When you don’t have habits – that is where burnout happens. When you go hog wild on creating and learning and implementing and forget about supporting yourself, setting boundaries, and creating those habits that allow you to stay in business and at the helm of your business for a long time.

We’re doing a panel episode today to give you a bunch of options to help you create good CEO habits. Today we’ve got Maggie Patterson, a consultant for service-based biz owners (if you haven’t connected with Maggie she has been talking about some of the bullshit that happens in the online business industry which is so important to discuss and she does a great job of digging into these issues – so I extra love her for that) and Heidi Jones (she’s a Dare to Grow member) and she helps ambitious women balance their work and life and hit their goals.

But first I’ll share a few of my CEO habits…

Planning in advance – I’m never sitting down the day of to figure out what I need to do next. This helps me to support myself. Sarah in Jan sets the plan for Sarah in May and August and December so I know where I’m going the entire year.  I make a plan at the beginning of the year, I adjust at the beginning of each quarter, and then I set everything in stone at the beginning of the month and plan out my daily tasks. A lot of people resist planning an entire year at once, but it doesn’t mean you can’t change the plan. If you plan at the start of the year it will make sure everything you do keeps you on top of your goals and keeps you from forgetting things.

Being realistic about what I’m able to do every day. I have a big project that I’m in the process of working on and I realized last week that I was starting to pack my days with too many tasks. I was moving things around and stuff was piling up which added unnecessary stress and chaos. I know that we aren’t launching until May 10th. Which means I do have enough time to do everything, I don’t need to double my workload. 

Being conscious of how much time things take and then only adding the number of tasks I know I’ll be able to complete. Once I looked at the previous weeks and saw that I was only really checking off 2-3 tasks, so that has to be my limit. Otherwise, I can continue to put way more into my schedule, but that sets me up to fail. I’ll end every day feeling like I didn’t get enough done. And I don’t want to feel like that every day. I want to feel like I checked off everything on my list, felt good about the work I did, and can take the rest of the night off without thinking about everything else I need to get done. 

If that sounds like it might be an issue for you too, tracking your time for a week or two will be a big help to figure out your task limit.

Tracking my cycle. Which doesn’t seem like a business tip (because most business advice in the past came from men) but if you have a menstrual cycle this is a good thing to look into.

I was already aware of fluctuations in my mood and energy during the week of my period – PMS makes that nice and obvious – but using a tracking app has helped me find days throughout the month when I’m super creative or I feel like an absolute boss – there’s a specific 3 days when I’m on fire – but it also helps me identify days when I’m tired or unfocused or generally feel like garbage. I never tracked those things or paid attention to my hormone levels, so I never saw a pattern. Now I can note those days in my schedule and scoot things around. I can do video on my badass boss days and do boring admin stuff or take the day off when I’m feeling like a slug.

That helps to make me feel confident in my abilities as a CEO because it’s never a question of why I’m feeling a certain way. I can look at my hormone levels, and adapt to what my body needs on that day. When before I would just be annoyed that I wasn’t on fire all the time.

The app I use is called Stardust which includes info on the moon cycles. I’ve also used the Clue app which has similar tracking features. I like stardust slightly better because it gives you a daily reminder of how you might be feeling.

Next up we’ve got Maggie

Hey, Maggie from Small Business Boss here. I’m a consultant and mentor for service-based business owners and I help them build BS-free businesses that put trust first in everything they do. I am really excited to share some of the daily habits that help me thrive as a CEO because so many times when I see or hear these types of things I roll my eyes and think, “who has time for that?”

I’m sure I’m not alone. You definitely are feeling what I’m saying because here’s the thing: I’m never going to be a member of the 5:00 AM club or have this super elaborate morning routine. There are more than a few things, habit-wise, that helped me immensely as someone who runs two different businesses.

First, this isn’t so much a habit as my functional reality, my habits and routines vary day by day. As a Canadian who lives through a long winter and someone with seasonal affective disorder, what I do in the winter is very different than in the summer months and throughout the year. Another functional reality is I typically work one week on one week off cycles with clients and trainings.

What I do on my on weeks is very different than my off weeks. I know it’s a lot of caveats, but I want to keep it real that flexibility and ability to shift as needed and be adaptable is essential to my wellbeing. Frankly, for me to be able to do CEO-level work, trying to conform to a hardcore list of habits and routines simply does not work all that well for me, and if it doesn’t work all that well for you, hopefully that inspires you a little bit. 

The way I approach my habits to make this work for me is I have a set of anchor habits that happen on workdays. Then honestly, the rest is negotiable, and believe me, there is nothing magical about any of them. They’re simply what works for me. It may take some experimenting to figure out what’s going to work best for you. 

Habit number one is I get up and I head to the kitchen and I make a cup of tea. While my tea is being made, I unload my dishwasher and tidy up the kitchen. That household part of things is a major distraction for me when it’s not done, so I like spending the first five minutes of my day tidying up the kitchen. 

Habit number two, is this a super sexy one? I pick my vitamins up off the counter because I put them out the night before. I have arthritis, so I take a lot of supplements at this point, and then I’ll head off to the couch with my cup of tea.

I allow myself to scroll my phone for a couple of minutes because my phone hasn’t been in my hand during that time. My phone goes to bed in my office so I don’t do any late night or early morning scrolling. I sit down to review the news, or I’ll just check my notifications and stuff, and I review my schedule for the day.

My schedule review is essential. That helps me see what’s really on my agenda. My calendar is Google calendar, and the reality is that looking at the calendar sometimes doesn’t always work for my brain, so I keep a running list or two in Notion that lives over and above my project management system.

Between that calendar and looking at what I have on deck in Notion, I really feel like everything’s out of my brain and it gives me a really realistic point of view about what’s underneath. Sometimes at that point, I spend a few minutes moving things around because when I wake up in the morning, I’m able to assess my energy.

At this point, I’ve been going for 10, 15 minutes and I might be like, this is not going to be the day. The reality is, from that point on my day might vary wildly. My day branches off to include movement, breakfast, and more, but those are my big daily habits. 

I’m not jumping into my phone. I look at my schedule, clean up my kitchen, have my cup of tea, but there are another couple habits that really keep me in check.

Number one is lunch. I have time on my calendar every day for 30 minutes for lunch, it means I sit down and I actually eat. I often read during this time, so my brain gets a nice little break and I’m not just working with a salad or a sandwich at my desk. 

The other one is my closing tasks for the day. I look at my Notion list and see what needs to be carried forward, moved, or even deleted. I often dump all the things rattling around in my head so I’m not lying in bed thinking about them. 

You can definitely see there is nothing elaborate about any of us. Honestly, this comes down to prioritizing my well-being as a CEO. So many times we can fall into cycles about getting more done, but it’s at the expense of our physical or mental health. You know, eating lunch is kind of important. 

Finally, I want to talk about the one daily habit I feel has made the biggest change for me. It is also newest to me and it’s protected the most valuable asset of my business, which is my brain. It’s having limits on my phone. Now I get if that makes you roll your eyes, but having a phone bedtime where it goes to sleep in my office and not having it be the first or last thing I do every day has made a lot of difference to my well-being and it’s just been healthier. 

If you’re looking at your habits, so you can thrive as a CEO, I want to encourage you to consider what’s really going to work for you. What do you need right now? What will support you that may change or shift? I do know that following someone else’s exact routine is a recipe for a rebellion for a lot of us. 

I want to thank Sarah so much for having me here. If you want to connect with me, hit me up on The BS-free Service Business podcast or @smallbusinessboss on Instagram. Thanks!

Yesss thank you for sharing Maggie. I love that your phone has a bedtime. That is something I need to implement myself because my phone definitely comes to bed with me even though I know I’m not doing anything worthwhile or anything that can’t wait for tomorrow. 

Next up we’ve got Heidi

Hi, my name is Heidi Jones, a personal and professional coach to ambitious health-conscious female leaders based here in Dubai. Now, my two habits that will help you thrive as a CEO. 

Number one is the daily practice of checking in with your values and your priorities. What you want to do is to make sure every morning you either list or refer to your set of core values and what the priorities are within your day. That helps you then stay focused on the most important things that you need to do. As a CEO, there are so many distractions. In life in general, there are so many distractions, but for you, you have a lot of other things that can pull you lots of different directions externally, but also internally as well.

Your mind will question the things you do. Self-doubt is going to come up and it’s easy to be swayed by distractions. Being able to set some time aside every morning will help you focus on what it is that you’re here to do. I heard recently a priorities list can have around 10 to 20 things on it when the word priority means one thing. What you want to be doing is making sure that if you do have multiple tasks that you pick the one. The thing that needs to be done, that’s going to make a positive change, positive difference, and focus on that before you move on to the next thing. That is really going to help you create more of the results that you want within your business, but it’s also going to leave you feeling more satisfied with the work that you’re doing as well.

You’re going to be able to put so much more into your business. It’s going to require you to say no. It’s going to be important to set boundaries, to delegate, but when you get in the practice of checking in on those values every day, you’re going to see so much more progress with the work that you do.

Number two is to recharge your batteries. Now, I like to look at this as refilling your cup throughout the day. It’s so easy to get into the habit of feeling motivated in the morning and absolutely flat out exhausted in the evening. Then trying to keep going on this hamster wheel is, well, as they say, the rat race is never-ending.

What you want to do is to be able to refill that cup gradually throughout the day. You have so much more longevity in your health with the ability to focus and put your best self forward with your business. That could be a simple daily practice of checking in with how you feel and what it is you need.

I recommend setting a timer on your phone. Maybe it comes up once or twice a day and literally asks that question. How do you feel right now? You stop and you ask yourself, how do I feel? Then, what do I need? What do I need right now? That could be so simple as having five minutes to myself, just to sit outside. It could be that I need to go for a walk. It could be I need to call my best mate for a laugh to get perspective on the situation that I’m in. It can really help you refill that cup, so you actually end the day feeling more energized and motivated to maybe spend time with your family, to cook yourself a nice meal, and be able to go to bed in a much healthier state of mind.

Thank you, Heidi. I love that you talked about setting a timer to remind you to refill your cup throughout the day. I think dog walks really help to do that for me – Hazel, my little timer. It is so easy to get on a roll and then feel terrible because you accidentally worked for hours and hours non-stop. 

You can find Heidi on Instagram @heidi_jones_coaching and Maggie @smallbusinessboss – both of them also have podcasts, so I’ll share those links in the show notes. 

Head over to Instagram, find me – I’d love to hear any of your daily habits that help you stay on top of your priorities and keep you feeling good, energized, confident, so you can show up as your best CEO self. 

Thanks for listening, talk to you again next week!

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