Startup Life: Forging New Habits

Emily Smith on July 28, 2016

I left my corporate job of 17 years for my startup not too long ago, and one of the things I’m trying to do is forge some new habits. I’ve learned some valuable lessons in corporate life (check out my previous post on that), and here’s how I’m using what I’ve learned to work and live better in the future.

I firmly believe that one of the first steps of forging new habits is to tell everyone about them so they can keep you honest. So, here’s my list of new habits I’m going to try to make.

1- A better workday
I make stuff, and generally that stuff requires a fair amount of focus. So moving forward, I’m going to try to set up my work day so that it optimizes my ability to focus. This means catching up on email and communications first thing. Then I’ll turn off all the notifications. Productivity will happen in 2-hour bursts with breaks and communication check-ins.

2- Really recharge my creative batteries
I believe that our creative output comes from the mind remixing things it has seen and experienced beforehand. Soooooooooo… it’s really time to put my brain where my mouth says it should be and I will attempt to regularly plan different things to fill my brain with new experiences. I’ll aim for at least one “creative ingest” a day.

3- No more being a hermit
Recharging my batteries includes getting away from the desk from time-to-time. I’ll take a walk. I won’t stay cooped up all day. I’m not tied to a corporate schedule now, I might as well take advantage of it.

4- Get back to basics
I used to sketch and draw non-stop, somewhere along the way I stopped. I’ve been taking my sketchpad everywhere lately, I somehow forgot how cathartic it was.

5- Stop beating a dead horse
I won’t stick with an unproductive project just because I spent a lot of time on it. I’m so bad at that.

6- There’s no martyrdom in team
In the past, I have tended to try to fill all the gaps, to take on all the tasks that weren’t getting done all by myself. Despite this being a startup, there’s no reason for me to do everything. So I will really learn to say no. Also, I will learn to not volunteer when I don’t have to. I must trust my partners, and not try to do everything myself.

7- Be in the now
Turn off my phone notifications and don’t look at my phone every 5 minutes. My partners and I have decided that if there’s something that needs any of our urgent attention, we’ll pick up the phone and call. So I’ll get better at enjoying time with my family and friends… or just by myself… and not be a slave to my smartphone.

There they are, the 7 new habits I’m already working on forging, to both work and to live better in my new startup life. Wish me luck!



Camile Gauthier is *no campfire required’s Creative Technologist. He’s the artist, maker, dreamer and geek who leads the charge on what we’re going to build for you and how.

Photos: “Wanderlust” by Karsten Seiferlin and “Full of Lights” by Takashi Hososhima