2020 has been deemed as the worst year in a generation, but it also is the year of rapidly expanding opportunities for entrepreneurs. Many entrepreneurs have taken advantage of the changing climate, with retail resellers driving Amazon’s fourth-quarter growth, and many industries staffing remote workers. There are so many opportunities that motivated entrepreneurs can take advantage of during this shift. Here are four simple habits that can give you an advantage over your remote competition.

Always be learning 

A person typing on a laptop
An entrepreneur typing on a laptop

“This is a great time to be a curious person.”

Bill Gates

Although he has been accused of creating the pandemic, Microsoft founder Bill Gates admitted something far worse in 2009 — he’s jealous of his kids. Gates had to go to the library and learn about data and coding from the dry pages of old library textbooks, but his children are able to understand inner workings of oil rigs and hydrogen bombs just by watching a simple animation on YouTube. Gates says it’s easier for them to absorb the information because “It comes to life.” 

We live in the age of information, and yet it sometimes feels like we are the dumbest generation in history. Dedicating yourself to learning something unrelated to your industry will automatically make you more valuable than your competition. Entrepreneurs that are always learning always have an advantage over those who claim to know it all. 

There are so many things to learn to make yourself a more valuable asset. You could learn a basic coding language like HTML, which is used to structure web pages and content, or you could learn to speak another language as remote work opens up a world-wide marketplace for job opportunities. 

Meditate

A man meditating near a chair
An entrepreneur meditating near a chair

“It just takes 5 minutes of quiet time.”

Kobe Bryant

Too many young black men have died too soon this year. One of the most surprising was the death of Kobe Bryant in January. Kobe was able to achieve success beyond money and fame through his obsession with the mamba mentality. Part of that mentality includes finding the time to meditate. Kobe said, “Meditation is like having an anchor; if I don’t do it, it’s like I’m constantly chasing the day.”

These days, it can often feel as if we are playing a never-ending game of tag. We are constantly trying to be reached or are constantly trying to reach out to other people. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the game. Meditation offers an answer to this constant busyness by offering a moment of clarity.

Meditation can come in many forms. Listening to instrumental music and connecting with nature can both be sources of meditation. Anything that allows you to focus on the present moment — not thinking about the past, or planning for the future — can be a source of meditation.

Keeping a journal

A man writing in a journal
An entrepreneur writing in a journal

“The mind is for creating ideas, not for keeping them”

David Allen 

In his critically acclaimed book, Getting Things Done, author David Allen talks about the importance of creating an external brain. We need an external brain, so we can unload our mental RAM. A computer uses RAM (Random Access Memory) to run multiple programs on a computer. If the computer begins to slow down or freeze up, that is usually because the RAM is reaching capacity. Our brains work similarly.

When we have too many things on our mind (daily tasks, what to eat, family commitments, weekly goals, side hustles), our brain is not able to function at full speed. By putting these thoughts on paper, we can clear our minds of them, and operate more efficiently. It may be hard at first to know exactly what to write, but that is part of the learning process. Since everybody’s brain is different, there isn’t a set of rules on how to or what to write down. It is your external brain, so write down what makes sense to you. Writing down your dreams, simple to-do lists, or future goals are good places to start to get you into the habit of writing.

Avoiding distractions

A cell phone on a wooden table
A cell phone on a wooden table

“Be aware when distractions come your way. You’ll know it’s a distraction when you stop doing what you’re supposed to be doing and find yourself pondering things that have no value.”

Beverly R. Imes

This is the hardest, but the most important thing you must do to be more productive than your competition while working remotely. Searching the internet is like walking through a minefield. Be careful to not distract yourself with that personally packaged advertisement or that enraging news headline. Entrepreneurs who are able to recognize distractions as time-wasters are able to use their focus to their advantage. 

What tips do you have for improving your efficiency while working remotely? Let us know in the comments!

This article originally published on GREY Journal.