What would an entrepreneur warmup look like?

In improv we start our practices with a warmup, in sports we do this too. A warmup is a sort of ritual that eases you into action taking you from “I don’t wanna do stuff… I’ll just poke around on my phone” mode to “Don’t bother me, I’ve got stuff to do!” mode.

A warmup is a habit in disguise

It’s about getting into action.

I was inspired by James Clear’s book Atomic Habits. One section I particularly liked was the 2 minute rule where he talks about how you can build tiny habits around decisive moments.

As Clear writes:

“Habits are like the entrance ramp to a highway. They lead you down a path and before you know it you’re speeding along to the next behavior.”


“Every day, there are a handful of moments that deliver an outsized impact. I refer to these little choices as decisive moments.”

He points out that your day is shaped by these tiny moments. Did you put on your workout clothes or did you sack out on the couch? Did you boot up your IDE or did you watch YouTube videos? Your day (life even?) will be determined by those decisive moments so pay attention to them.

This idea is working very well in my personal life. I’ve built a great morning ritual. When I wake up I start by making my bed ~ it’s something I can do in a couple of minutes and it sets me off on the path of getting things done. Once I make my bed, doing a quick morning workout is easy. I’ll also prepare food for the family and have a quick Mandarin study session.

I need a work ritual

While my morning ritual is going great my work day could work better.

I often struggle to build momentum on Mondays. I’m usually coming back from a weekend with an un-focused brain. I’m facing a lot of difficult decisions and I’m spending time on my computer (which can easily throw me into browse mode instead of creation mode).

I often poke around on the internet, read the news and think about what needs to get done. Sometimes it feels productive, but it’s really not. If I’m honest with myself the only thing that pushes my work forward is getting stuff done. Browsing the web doesn’t cut it.

Work is about shipping. Getting things done. Taking action.

I need a ritual that kicks me into action - some small, quick, creative task that I can write on my ‘done’ list that kicks off the work day.

Make my bed… but for work.

Some ideas ~ I could ~

  1. Write my todo list on a piece of paper and set it on my desk before I take out my computer
  2. Schedule a focusmate session
  3. Something else?

What would make it work

I like the todo list task, but I usually write todo lists. Somehow the todo list isn’t kicking off the work-day quite right. What’s going on?

A habit always needs to be done the same way. Right now I write todo lists but sometimes I do it on paper, other times I do it on the computer, some times it’s on the couch.

I don’t always write my todo list the same way either. I’m thinking I could start my todo list with the date and a list of my projects or something. Maybe how I’d like to feel as well? It’s worth experimenting with.

I think it would be cool to put the todo list in the same place each day.

Finally, I need to check off the habit ~ I can add it to my 30 Day Challenge tracker and include it in my What Got Done report.

Other considerations

My one concern about the todo list is that it’s not aimless.

I think the best warmups focus on actions without a ton of consequences ~ with “do a calf stretch” there’s not a lot of room for worrying about whether I’m doing it right or whether my workout will just be a bunch of calf stretches.

A todo list is a big risky because it can involve some ‘did I pick the right stuff?’ thoughts. Still, I’ll give it a try and see how it goes.

I’ll keep you posted!