At the age of 22 I was making $40k a year working in customer support. 4 Years later at the age of 26, I hit 6 figures. I’ve identified 6 key habits that helped me get there.
Habit #1 Time Blocking
Now At the time it wasn't called time blocking, but I basically would set up my schedule in blocks for specific tasks. I’ve now come to find out that many great CEOs and entrepreneurs use this on a daily basis, including Elon Musk.
Here’s a great illustration from the Todoist blog, on the left is what most people do. They scatter their activities throughout the day, resulting in less efficiency.
Contrast that with the time blocking method on the right, you block out specific hours of your day for tasks. In this example, this person is working on a client proposal for most of the morning.
The day on the right is more focused and it’s also a shorter day which ends at 5PM instead of 7PM.
I personally did this working at a gaming company. Every day when I walked into the office, I had one main task I was responsible for on my team. It was to look at the data of how well in game packages were selling, and then create a new package for later that afternoon.
When I first started, would procrastinate and generally be distracted when trying to get this done, and on average it probably took me between 3 and 4 hours to do this one thing.
But one day I saw a coworker blocking out his schedule with specific hours for specific tasks, and I decided to give it a try.
I blocked out a 1.5 hour timeslot in the morning for this main task, and by restricting myself to 1.5 hours, I actually found that 99% of the time I could get it done within this time span.
Once I started doing that, I had so much more time in my work day. I used this time to ask for more projects from my boss, and I started to contribute in other areas of the company.
My work did not go unnoticed and within 6 months of doing that I was promoted to a lead position which increased my base pay.
Time blocking is something everyone can do, and if you’re into self improvement and getting things done. I would definitely start with this one.
Ok the next habit that I’ve been doing since I’ve been a teen actually is the habit of Journaling.
Habit #2 Journaling
I’ve been doing this two to three times a week since to self reflect and dump everything Im thinking about on paper, for both my business life and my personal life.
There are a few scientific reasons for why journaling is such a good habit to help you gain mental clarity and productivity.
First on the business side, by writing down what your goals, you’re 42% more likely to actually achieve your goals in a famous study. I also like to look back on what my goals were just a few months, or a year ago, and this practice often gives you perspective on how far you’ve come or in some cases, it can expose to you a certain way you tend to think.
For me, I realized that looking back on my journal entries even from a year ago, a lot of my problems are the same on a day to day basis, yet I kept consistent over the past year and I’ve noticed a lot of strides in my business life.
The second reason you may want to start journaling is that it lowers stress levels. In a 2005 Cambridge study it was shown that those who journal about 15-20 minutes on just 3 to 5 occasions over the period of 4 months had lower blood pressure and better liver functionality.
I personally used journaling when it came to writing down my goals of making six figures, as well as tracking my progress in how I got there. Each step along the way would give me confidence, as I realized that consistency was the driving force. As long as I keep consistent and hammer the same thing over and over and over, I should see progress. And with journaling, I’ll also ensure that I’m on the right path because I can easily look back and see where I was at 1 month, 3 months, or even a year ago.
#3 Dipping Your Toes
One of the main things I kept focusing on while working at my corporate job was to take on calculated, but small risks while maintaining my full time income.
I would “dip my toes” in entrepreneurship, since I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur from a young age.
So while I was making a good income I would take a portion of my paycheck and save it away to invest in projects that I thought could become my reality in the future.
The prime example of this was that I hired a developer to help me make a budgeting app while I was still working my full time job at the gaming company. I created an LLC, I had to wireframe the app, write specifications on exactly how I wanted it to function, and then also throw on my project manager hat to ensure that we could eventually submit the app to the Apple iTunes store.
The app was called BudgetLife, and it looked to improve upon the Spending Tracker app that I use daily to track my expenses. Essentially, I was working on this at night - and while the app was ultimately unsuccessful, the mere act of investing about $5 grand into this project gave me skin in the game and taught me so much about how to build an app.
I also learned how to start a LLC, and how to manage employees — and these would all serve as a good foundation for when I took on more risk in the future by starting my own ecommerce business.
Now this is only one example, I definitely dipped my toes in a bunch of different side projects while still having a full time job.
The takeaway is that if you have a side hustle that you really like, or want to figure out a business you can start on the side that may eventually replace your full time income - I encourage you to dip your toes in different endeavors.
Even if it fails, you’ll learn a ton in the process which should serve you better moving forward.
#4 Everyone’s an NPC
The core tenet of this particular habit is that you should not be thinking about what others are thinking of you, because they’re NPC’s, or non player characters.
They have no bearing on what YOU should be doing with your life.
You are the ONLY player character, you need to be yourself, and only you can control what you do.
So often, people are afraid of what OTHER people are thinking when it comes to pursuing a new project or endeavor.
The truth is, no one cares what you are doing - everyone is so pre occupied and in their own little world that they will barely notice your actions.
A great example of this is, think back to the last dinner you had with your friends or your family. Can you even recall exactly what outfit everyone was wearing? Probably not. And even if you were able to, I bet its with less than 20% accuracy.
There’s been multiple psychology studies done where students were brought into a room to complete a task, and one student was randomly assigned to put on an embarassing t-shirt. The student wearing the embarassing T shirt then is asked to estimate how many people in the room noticed what they were wearing. The student wearing the shirt usually estimated that about 50% of the room would notice, when in reality only 25% or less ACTUALLY noticed.
So don’t worry about what other people think, and start to take on more risk and try more projects that might fail.
#5 There is no Perfect Time
This one is really important to me because I probably spent a good 3-5 years being what’s called a “Wantrepreneur”. This is a term for someone who wants to be an entrepreneur but doesn’t know where to start, or thinks that there will be a better time in the future.
There are usually three main issues wantrepreneurs suffer according to Paul Ponna, a CEO of multiple startups. #1 They have a fear of failure, #2 is laziness, and #3 lack of motivation.
When it comes to a fear of failure, this is definitely something I faced early on when starting my first business. I had just quit my job in 2016 and I thought if I failed I would be letting my family and friends down. But what I realized was that in order for me to progress in entrepreneurship, failure is a necessary step to success. Every time we fail, we learn something new - and it moves us closer to success.
These days, when I tell my friends I do social media, no one even remembers or brings up my previous projects that failed. Budgetlife? No one’s ever brought that up to me, even though it was a central part of my life about 8 years ago. So don’t let the fear of failure discourage you.
When it comes to laziness - I’ve always told myself, as long as I do SOMETHING everyday, I will build consistency and momentum and that’s been a really key for me.
On the topic of motivation, I usually find that a lack of motivation stems from not having clear goals.
If we have a clear WHY on what we want to do in life, usually motivation comes along with it. So take some time thinking about your goals, and I’ll also link my favorite goaling exercise down in the description below.
Just know that there is no perfect time to start what you truly want to do or learn - even if its a new hobby, the best time to start it is today!
And #6 Take Time Off to Reflect.
Giving yourself time off is going to be important to recharging your batteries and ensuring you stay focused on your target.
Bill Gates, the man currently with a net worth of over $100B, famously has a think week once or twice a year, where he goes into an isolated cabin in the Pacific Northwest, disconnects from all technology, and cuts himself off from family and friends to reflect.
In this time he reads a lot - books, newspapers, industry news and more.
The purpose here is to take some time to slow down, disconnect, and take a step back and think bigger picture strategy. Are we going in the right direction? Are we working on the right things? Are some of the questions you can ask yourself.
Often times we find ourselves deep in the weeds of work where days start to blend together. We’re so focused on what the next day’s meetings or work will be that it’s often hard for us to take a big step back and zoom out and gain perspective.
Admittedly In the past few years I haven’t been the best at taking time off to reflect, but in my 20s I was able to take off way more time to really think about the direction I wanted to head in.
So these are the principles that have helped me reach my goals and stay in the pursuit of self improvement.