There’s always so much going on at Virgin and I have to juggle many different business focuses on a daily basis. I’m often asked how I do it and how I’ve managed to go into so many different sectors and make a success out of it. I love life – and after 67 years of it I’ve worked out some of the things that help me manage my workload and have fun at the same time. I don’t really separate work and play – it’s all living. This doesn’t mean I’m always working, it means I’ve learned the art of balance.
Richard Branson ipad necker
On Virgin.com, our current Spotlight series is all about fulfilling potential. On this theme, I wanted to share my top five tips on making every day count:
5. Do something fun as you start your day
I like to get up early and start the day with some sport – usually a fierce game of tennis or an hour of kitesurfing. It gets the blood pumping and makes you feel like you’ve achieved something before you’ve even started working. It also releases endorphins so you’re more likely to be in a good mood!
If you’re not an early bird, perhaps try and build some exercise into your commute instead. Get off the train a stop early, ride your bike, do a yoga YouTube video in your lounge. I hear people say they don’t have time for fitness, which is true. You don’t have time for it, you make time for it. There is nothing more important than your health.
Richard Branson takes a phone call before going kitesurfing
4. Just do it!
I learned very early on, from Student Magazine to Virgin Records, that if you want something to happen, don’t just sit around waiting for it. Work hard, take your chances, and seize opportunities when they present themselves. Don’t give in to the fear and self-doubt and instead find ways to make it happen. Those who are bold have a higher chance of being rewarded.
3. Set goals and challenge yourself (and write them down)
You should always be looking for ways to make things better – including yourself. You can never know it all, and it’s so important to always be learning and developing. I find it really useful to set myself some goals and write them down. I make long-term and short-term goals, and the short-term successes keep my morale up and spur me on towards longer-term goals. By writing them down, you can work through your list and tick them off. Writing things down keeps you focused and makes sure you don’t forget great ideas. I look at my notebook every day and am always scribbling notes to myself.
Richard Branson writing a letter
2. Have a break
It’s so important to carve a little time for yourself to breathe. I find the best way to do this is to make a cup of tea and take 10 minutes to reflect. Often this time sparks new ideas as your mind wanders, or helps you find solutions to problems that have been bugging you. I find that taking a break helps me rest rather than give up. If you burn yourself out, you’re no good to anyone.
1. Do some good
I feel that fulfilment and purpose are very closely linked. Most people feel the most fulfilled and happiest when they are having a positive impact on those around them. Business should be a driving force in creating a better world, so if you can combine your entrepreneurial skills with a social purpose, you can have a great effect on the world. I’ve always set out in business to disrupt industries to benefit the customer and had great fun doing it. More and more I am focusing on the big problems that the world faces, such as climate change, human rights and drug policy. I spend a lot of time working with Virgin Unite, the B Team, the Elders and the Rocky Mountain Institute. I want my grandchildren to grow up in a safe, secure world without the threat of climate change catastrophes or conflict.
How do you make every day count?