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The five surprising habits driving successful Australian women

06 June 2016

Some of their commonalities are obvious – drive, hard work, a great idea and strong support network come to mind.

But it may surprise you that there’s another constantly occurring trait. Businesswomen are united by routine. Not just any routine though; they’re bound by quirky daily habits they have developed and polished often. 

Here are a few tips from start-up success stories. 

1.      “I’ve sealed more than one multi-million dollar deal lying in the grass”

Business builders and corporate climbers embrace flexibility and that means doing business at previously unconventional times - and places. Long gone are the days of 9 to 5 (or 8 to 6 or 7 to 7) behind a desk. 

Some rise at 3.30am to fit their working lives around children, others, including Boost Juice founder Janine Allis, get to the office at 11am.

Founder of supplier matchmaking business Matchboard, Sharon Melamed, tries to do as much work as she can outside. 

“When working from home, I try to do conference calls outside, where the blue sky, sunshine and fresh air really energise me,” she says. “I've sealed more than one multi-million dollar deal lying on the grass.”

Shoes And Grass

2.      “Cycling to and from work is the bookend to every day”

For the first Australian-based employee of tech start-up Slack, technology is hard to avoid. But Judy Watkins, head of the rapidly-rising platform for the Asia-Pacific region, has her own daily circuit breaker.

Each day, she rides 45 minutes to her Melbourne-based office, where she is currently flying solo but plans to hire 70 new employees within the year. At the end of the day, she has another 45 minute ride to digest the day.

“I changed a lot when I started cycling into the office,” she says. “I use the time going into the office to get organised and energised, then the ride home to reset.”

3.      “I rise early and work in 90 minute blocks”

It’s not uncommon to hear CEOs or inventors say they wake at dawn. Why? It gives them time to plan and prioritise the day, according to founder of Creative Media Group Judy Sahay.

Ms Sahay wakes at 5am, spends 20 minutes doing high intensive exercise - like boxing - and then meditates for 7 minutes. 

She is at the office by 7am and the routine kicks up a notch. 

“I work 90 minute blocks and take a 10 minute breaks in between,” she says. She’ll grab a snack, take a walk or just get some fresh air.  

“I feel the success of my business depends on many things, but at the end of the day it comes down to daily routines.”

4.      “I start each day with gratitude meditation”

Busy lives leave little time for quiet reflection, which is why you have to diarise it, says barrister and business owner Bridie Nolan.

“In order to live in the moment I start the day very early with a short mediation on that for which I am thankful,” she says. “It calibrates my thinking to be positive and attend to each task effectively.”

Ms Nolan also swears by sleep, sunshine and walking her dogs.

5.      “I line up four glasses of water on my desk”

Distraction is a dangerous word when you work for yourself. Just ask the woman who won Shark Tank for inventing Fly Babee, a stroller cover to get babies sleeping on a plane. 

Emma Lovell’s daily routine involves pre-filling glasses of water to keep her from forgetting to drink and never eating lunch at her desk. 

“I live in Manly, so 90 per cent of the time, I ensure that I leave the office to eat and enjoy the beauty that I have chosen to surround myself with,” she says. 

What daily habits are behind your success?

Water Glass With Glasses