• Ellie Cooper

What It Takes To Excel In Business (Or Life)

1. Wake up early enough.

So many articles, youtube videos, and Instagram posts point you in the direction of waking up at 5am. Apparently, the earlier you wake up, the more productive, aligned, and better you will be.

I want to argue this and say, just wake up early enough. Look at your own life, and figure out what time you need to be up. If you start work at 9am, have a 30 minute commute, and want to drink your coffee and eat a decent breakfast without rushing in the morning, 7:30 is plenty early enough! Waking up at 5am would just mean sitting around for hours potentially not doing anything productive at all.

Wake up early enough that you get everything done that you want to do. Personally, I like to run for about 30 minutes, shower, and enjoy my coffee. Realistically, I need to wake up about an hour before I have to start work in order to feel like I had a good start to the day. When I worked in an office, if I woke up too early, I would spend that time unproductively watching the news, scrolling Instagram, and doing nothing. If you are just waking up for the sake of waking up, you are either left tired because you haven’t slept enough, or going to bed early and miss out on social opportunities so that you can be alone in the morning – unproductive.

2. Allocate one day a week to the “chores” in your life.

For the longest time I chose Sunday as my “day of chores” until I realized that I love Sundays to much to leave it for the boring stuff. Everyone is usually off on Sundays, which means it’s time for adventures! Instead, I choose Tuesday. This day, after/before work, I will do my laundry, plan my weekly wardrobe, my weekly meals, and do anything that I’ve been putting off, such as posting a letter to a friend or renewing my insurance.

3. Once a month, re-organize, re-address and re-analyze.

The last day of the month is good for this. Spend time focusing on what you want to achieve this month, when you are going to do it, and if there is anything you need to change in your habits in order to achieve this. Then, of course, stick to it! 30 days is a good amount of time to see if something works for you. Maybe you want to cut out caffeine, run 3x a week, or go to bed earlier. Set this target for yourself, and suddenly you are building habits on habits that turn you into a more productive person.

4. Get rid of all your stuff!

The other day I was in the store with a friend, and she showed me a light blue tank top for £1.30. The old me would have chucked it in my basket without even trying it on – it’s £1.30, but instead I told her “I am not looking to fill my house with items.”

I have been on a mission to reduce my belongings for the past year. The first part is easy, everyone has clothes you never wear, little knick knacks that don’t mean anything to you, but as you reduce your belongings further and further, it’s harder to narrow things down, as now you are getting to the clothes that you do wear sometimes, but you never really feel comfortable in. Or the trinket that you’re keeping because at some point in your life it meant something to you, even if it doesn’t now.

I do not mean to get rid of every item in your life. Everyone has their own way of doing things. But living in a disorganized house, will lead to a disorganized mind. It’s more freeing and easier to focus when you have reduced your belongings down to the things that make you happy.

5. Stop trying to do everything.

Another thing everyone who indulges in self-improvement does, is trying to do everything all at once. They want to be the runner, the history-nerd, the art connoisseur, the social butterfly and the move junkie all at once. You are not going to be all of those people. Instead, focus on what you actually enjoy doing, and do lots of it! There is no shame in saying that you’re not super into history, or you don’t really enjoy running. Everyone is different, and people will respect your self-confidence more than your abilities.

Once you’ve narrowed this down, it becomes a lot easier to be organized. Not only do you have less to organize, it becomes less of a chore as this is what you really want to be doing. Win win.

6. Allow yourself proper down time.

Something it is easy to forget to do is rejuvenate. You are going to be so much more productive if you take a proper 30 minutes of rest at lunch, or completely chill out on a Saturday.

Plus, you’ll be happier. And happiness is our end goals, right?

People think that in order to have a successful life, they must be on the go all of the time. I disagree. You know that fidgety feeling you get when you’ve been sitting down too long? Listen to it. Just taking a 10-minute walk outside will help you improve your productivity, refocus, and enjoy your task more. The same goes with the weekend. Spend AT LEAST one day a week laughing with your family, exploring, doing the things you love. These are the days you will remember when you’re old. These are the days that will bring you and those around you joy.

7. Listen to yourself, and stop reading lists like these.

Literally, you could spend your whole life reading these lists. Trying to be better. The best way to be better? Be real with yourself, and reflect.

You know exactly what you need to do, if you actually think about it. You don’t need to read a list to teach you, it’s just a mere reminder from someone who has stopped to think about it.