My Secret For Getting More Done Every Day

This post originally ran on American Express OPENForum and it seemed like a good Labor Day post.

Small business ownership is hard work. Physically demanding, stressful, mind numbing work—and that’s on the good days. But, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. One of benefits of owning a small business is that you are totally free—free to work any 80 hours a week you choose.

But no matter how efficient, there’s always more to do than time to do it.

For me, one of the secrets to getting more done each day is to pay attention to my physical energy and do everything I can to enhance, store and build it.

Spending time engaged in daily exercise is an example of an energy building practice that actually gives me time instead of costing time. In fact, some of what eventually turned into my greatest innovations and ideas presented themselves during an early morning run in the neighborhood.

Here are some of my other tricks:

  • Running: I started running for exercise in high school and it’s one of the most relaxing forms of energy creation for me.
  • Conscious eating: Whatever that might mean to you, it is another energy building practice.
  • Meditation and yoga: These are two powerful forms of stress reduction and energy building.
  • White noise generator: Simply Noise allows me to tune out distractions and gain instant focus.
  • Reading lyrical passages of literature: Passages such as those found in Anam Cara by John O’Donohue is energy and focus building.
  • Creating boundaries by shutting down technology: Doing this occasionally is a good energy building practice.

These are just some of the practices I keep in the energy toolbox.

Perhaps a lesson on healthy living seems odd on a business site, but it’s very hard to disconnect the physical you from the creative you in your business.

I suspect everyone knows they can take better care of the physical plant, particularly as we get older, but I wonder if you’ve considered the role this kind of energy building focus plays in helping you get more done, deliver purpose, maintain focus and bring only the healthiest emotions to the game.

Business owners are conditioned to think about assets and liabilities and ignoring your health and energy is one of the greatest ways to move a key asset (you) into the liability column.

I know that every single day I get some exercise, I get more done. Mind you, I don’t do it enough, but I can tell you that investing 30 of the 1,440 minutes I have in a day in energy building activities always doubles up and pays off in terms of increased productivity.

Go out and get a personal trainer, invest in a chef, create technology boundaries, start learning as much as you can about keeping your body and mind well—it one of the best business investments you can make in your business and your purpose.

Image credit: Peter Mooney

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  • Tim Huntley

    John, In addition to your points relative to energy level, I would suggest that exercise and its contribution to overall health will result in a net time gain as well.


    • ducttape

      Yes, I agree and stated that exact thing in the post!

      • Tim Huntley

        I think I made my comment way too general which does sound exactly like the entire point of your post.  Sorry! 

        What I meant is that in my experience my immune function (overall health) tends to work much better with a moderate amount of exercise, which leads to less sick time (not just higher energy levels).

        • ducttape

          Just teasing Tim – but I’m to the point where I can physically feel it kick in and that validation makes it hard to stay on the porch.

          • Tim Huntley

            Understood.  Just started CrossFit about 5 months ago, and I know the exact feeling you are talking about.

  • Andy @ FirstFound

    Running can be really relaxing. Right up until the point when something goes TWANG!


    I wish my tendons worked properly.

  • Vida em Sociedade

    I found interesting these popular book There and from other sources I found that is not the time we have to manage, but our priorities. 

  • Kmorse1086

    May I also suggest, getting “stuff” done during your personally productive time of day.  I find if I try to force myself to be productive early in the day, I actually get more done.  I’m a night owl.  I can get more done in less time, if I go with my personal rhythm and work during the evening hours.

  • Stacey Beginnerbusinesswoman

    I agree with you, but it can be so hard to fit the exercise in.  I run, bicycle, swim, and do anything outdoors; but I also have a full-time job, am trying to start a business, and have 5 children to run to their activities.  I admire you for always making it a priority, and hopefully I can figure out how to do that also.

    Stacey Beginnerbusinesswoman

  • Shilpi Roy – Virtual Assistant

    He John Meditation and yoga are the best ones as far as I am concerned and its gained more popularity these days…

    Online Business
    Virtual Assistant

  • Kevin Johnson

    It’s is really great post. Good collections thanks for

  • Jesse Katz

    Bravo John, great post.  I’ve noticed that a lot of entrepreneurs are former athletes.  Competition on the field translates well to competition in the board room.


  • Self Storage Investing

    I really like to help me get stuff done.

  • Space Vegetable

    I always meditate at the end of the day, otherwise my brain just keeps going and refuses to shut down for the night… leading to insomnia and less efficiency. Meditating helps to wind down and settle the brain so it starts fresh in the morning.

    I’ve also found that taking the time out to actually cook my meals leads to healthier eating and a great way to change gears for a bit. It helps that I like to cook, so it’s a nice bit of relaxation, too. Much better than the “grab and go”, eating fast food or that processed junk that’s not good for you.