6 Successful Entrepreneurs Share How They Deal With Bad Habits

Learning how to deal with your bad habits is crucial as an entrepreneur.

6 Successful Entrepreneurs Share How They Deal With Bad Habits

According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), almost six million people die from tobacco use and 2.5 million from harmful use of alcohol each year worldwide. That's an incredibly sober statistic.

It’s not as if we don’t know that bad habits are not good for us. It’s also not because we don’t understand that these bad habits sometimes slow us down or even hinder us from reaching the ambitious goals we've set for ourselves, but habits are what they are.

We all have to deal with them at some points in our lives — both the good and the bad. The bad habits don’t naturally go away on their own, at least in most cases, unless we proactively curb them. We find bad habits everywhere. Even the most successful people who we know have to deal with one or two of them.

To show you that we're not alone in having bad habits like procrastinating on major projects, being paralyzed by overwhelming amounts of work and spending hours in your inbox each day, I reached out to six successful entrepreneurs and they all shared at least one of their bad habits and how they deal with them:

1. Brian Halligan, Co-founder and CEO at HubSpot.

In reply to the question about one or two of his bad habits, Brian said “Letting your inbox dictate your priorities is a bad habit. By doing this, you are making everyone else's priorities yours.”

Sometimes, we’re just too addicted to our emails.

It’s nice to be there for people when they need you, especially if you're managing a large team, but how about you take care of your own priorities, too?

Brian puts it this way: “You've got to be disciplined about making your own list of monthly priorities and hitting them.”

As an entrepreneur, your level of success will be greatly determined by how well you utilize your time when it comes to only pursuing the activities that get you measurably closer to achieving your most important business goals.

Allowing yourself to become reactive by responding to emails all day long is one of the quickest paths to leaving your goals sitting on the table for weeks, months or years.

Try setting aside small blocks of time on your calendar throughout the day when you can read and reply to emails that are sitting in your inbox, you'll be surprised by how much more efficient you'll become.

2. Ryan Carson, Founder at Treehouse.

“One bad habit I have is being paralyzed by a huge project."

This happens to many of us. Sometimes just the thought of the seemingly insurmountable tasks or projects you need to work on and complete is enough to get you overwhelmed and exhausted.

When Ryan shared how he deals with this, it was a revelation to one of the simplest productivity tips I’ve learned: “What I do to overcome this is break it down into a bunch of smaller steps and then tackling a couple a day.”

How simple. So let’s say you have to write a 3,000-word article for your next blog post. Embrace the fact that you don’t have to write the entire blog post in a single day. Give yourself several days, depending on how well or fast you write, and set a goal of writing one thousand words each day. By setting more realistic and attainable goals for yourself, the finished product will be much stronger than if you had never taken the time to break down your bigger goals in the first place.

This technique will greatly help you avoid overwhelm as an entrepreneur.

3. Sujan Patel, Founder at Narrow.io, Contentmarketer.io and Quuu.co.

As a leading digital marketing expert, Sujan works with many of the world’s top Fortune 500 companies. LinkedIn, Yahoo and Expedia to name a few. He’s also a contributor to leading publications like Forbes, WSJ, Entrepreneur and so on. I reached out to Sujan and asked him to share at least one of his biggest bad habits and how he strives to overcome it. He shared that he’s quite an ambitious person and this causes him to create new bad habits and be forced to resolve them all the time.

However, one habit seemed to take primacy for him: Getting caught in back and forth within conversations via email. In his own words:

“The biggest bad habit that I've formed running multiple businesses, is falling into distractions and getting sucked in to back and forth conversations via email.

Although it's important to keep track of what's happening with your business, it's more important to take action and execute.”

What he does to curb this bad habit is what most of us can easily learn from and emulate:

“What I do to resolve this bad habit in my own life is disconnect from any communication 2-3 times a day for at least 1 to 2 hours at a time. This way I can focus on executing 1 to 2 tasks without the distraction of email. I think of it as an extended Pomodoro Technique.”

4. Alex Turnbull—Founder, Groove.

“My worst habit, by far, is that I tend to get impatient at times. It has lost me deals, cost me potential great hires (and created bad hires), and resulted in countless other sub-optimal results. It's something that I've gotten much better at over the years, but something that I still need to actively get myself to work on each day.”

So how does Alex combat this bad habit of his?

“There are a few helpful ways that I've found to deal with it, but perhaps the most effective is to be honest with myself about the consequences of any action I’m considering. For example, if I’m tempted to jump on something rather than sleep on it, I force myself to answer a few simple questions honestly: What’s truly the worst thing that could happen here? What’s the best? What’s most likely? How does the most likely scenario differ if I act now versus waiting?” Alex shared.

“The last question, especially, has helped me control myself and practice patience on many, many occasions.” He added.

When you're feeling anxious to make moves on a project that you know deserves a lot of thoughtful consideration, the simple act of playing out the potential upsides and downsides of your actions will help you majorly refocus on what's most important for the decision at hand.

5. Roy Man, Founder at DaPulse.

“I would have to say that my number one bad habit is time tracking or missing meetings and due dates. I envy people who can just remember things and know when things are due; I often seem to not be on top of things when it comes time.” Roy explained.

“This kind of bad habit is even harder when it comes to managing a team or a company. My choice to found DaPulse has a lot to do with my wish to solve this problem of more effective project management for myself and others,” he shared.

Here's how Roy deals with his bad habit of missing meetings and due dates:

“Regardless of DaPulse, I managed to improve dramatically with my personal time keeping by sticking to my calendar and developing the habit of looking at it every morning and throughout the day. In the end, it's all about creating a routine and sticking to it. I feel this is the exact thing that is also right for managing teams." Roy adds.

6. Brendan Wilde, Chief Marketing Manager at Umbrellar.nz.

“Procrastination - I struggled with procrastination. I always kept pushing off things I could have done for a later time until it was impossible to get them done.”

Procrastination is one of the biggest bad habits entrepreneurs struggle with. Having had procrastination issues myself, I know it takes a lot of conscious effort to overcome it. You have that internal voice that keeps telling you how comfortable it feels to tend to that not-so-pressing task later.

Brendan also experiences this and he shares how he curbs it:

“Something just tells me I have to get it done. This inevitably impacted my ability to do meaningful things in my business and I was able to get my career on the right path only after I was able to overcome procrastination by changing my mindset about what's important and what needs to be done.”

To sum it all up, the entrepreneurs we highlighted in this post all have two things in common:

  • They are successful at what they do.
  • They all have at least one bad habit.

But there’s also another key trait you’ll find in each of them.

They've all found a way to curb their bad habits and that’s the lesson here.

“Successful entrepreneurs are not super humans. In fact, there’s no such thing as a super human. They’ve just learned how to deal with their shortcomings and grow.” - Dan Doron, CEO of Zoo Printing