I love asking top authors on medium how they work on their craft and stay productive. It inspires me, it keeps me motivated, and I often learn about new tools and techniques I didn’t know about.
A few months ago, I released 50 People Who Do, my most comprehensive expert roundup on productivity to date. It contains 35 interviews, 15 extra-long interviews, and 8 pages of recap with all the tools and the books mentioned, plus some fun data crunching. For instance, 60% of the people I asked wake up before or at 6am.
Most of my guests created their own business, and they got where they are today by successfully implementing self-discipline into their life. To each one of them, I ask questions about their life, their learnings, their tools, and sometimes about which celebrity they would like to have coffee with.
There are no rules for success, only consistency in the work you do. None of the people I interviewed are super-humans. They’re just dedicated, and they have a lot of awesome things to teach us.
Let’s get to it.
My guest for this episode is Sinem Günel. Sinem is a writer, coach, and entrepreneur. She started her first business next to her studies when she was 20 years old and she has been amazed by the opportunities to make money online ever since. She started her entrepreneurial journey by organizing personal development workshops for students and now runs a 6-figure online business with her boyfriend. They have clients all over the world and their main goal is to combine the world of personal growth and digital business to help as many people as possible to build a life and career they truly love.
Do you have a morning routine?
Yes! My morning routine is one of the most important things for me. I tend to work a lot and I don’t really mind whether I work 7 days a week, 10 hours per day, but I never skip my morning routine.
If I’m working from home and don’t have appointments (which is 80–90% of the time), I spend around an hour on my morning routine. That’s my “me time”: I read for around 15 minutes, repeat affirmations, write in my journal, do some yoga and stretching, and finish with a 5–10 minute meditation.
I have my happiest and most productive days when I can complete my morning routine without any pressure. However, if I don’t have an hour, I reduce it to 10 minutes and only read my affirmations and do a short meditation.
What is the number one habit/routine you attribute the most to your success (online and/or offline)?
When I started my business, it was discipline and working a lot. Today, it’s the ability to say no and to set priorities. Over the years, I learned how to focus on the tasks that bring the most benefits (impact, money, growth…). Most entrepreneurs fail because they spend too much time on stuff that doesn’t matter anyway — e.g. a nice website is cool but it won’t lead to sales. Applying the 80/20 rule and focusing on the crucial tasks can be a game changer.
What is the number one productivity item you can’t live without?
Todoist — that’s a simple to-do list application that helps me to prioritize and manage my tasks.
Can you tell us about your use of journaling and goal tracking?
I journal every single morning, mostly writing down things that I’m grateful for and my goals. That usually takes me 5–10 minutes.
At the end of every month, I take a little more time to reflect on the past weeks and set new goals for the upcoming month. During that process I look at various areas of my life: health, relationships, finances, business…
The One Book you recommend for self- improvement and/or productivity?
High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard!
You write on medium, manage personal growth base… How do you split your time between your different projects?
I usually plan the week and block some “writing time” (usually in the morning/until noon). After that, I make sure to set achievable goals for each day. The key is to spend most of my time on tasks that really lead to an output (impact for my community, sales, brand building…) and avoid the rest.
I’m also lucky for having a co-founder who is the tech-part of our business. My partner is responsible for the entire backend while I’m creating content and managing our clients, so we’re a good team and can make use of our strengths.
How important is time off for you, and what do you do when you take time off?
Super important — I love my business and I love 90% of the work I do every single day, but I don’t live to work. I travel a lot, I do sports, I love spending time in nature and I also love being alone to practice self-care routines, do spiritual practices, or just relax by reading a book.
What’s the story behind Personal Growth Base?
My partner and I started our entrepreneurial journey by organizing personal development workshops for students. We were annoyed by the educational system because we felt as if we didn’t learn many life-changing skills after 15 years of formal education. That’s why we wanted to provide a place for students to invest in their personal growth.
After working with hundreds of people in workshops, completing a coaching certification, and having thousands of people joining our online courses on various platforms, we decided to combine all of it under a new brand which turned out to be Personal Growth Base.
On marketing. Some people say the classic newsletter/email list model is dying when it comes to generating more online business. What is your opinion on this?
I don’t think that email marketing will die anytime soon. It’s still the most effective way to stay in touch with an audience and right now, I can’t think of a more effective platform.
I think the more important question is where you connect with potential subscribers/customers. We are active on various platforms (Medium, Quora, Pinterest, Facebook group) but we mainly drive sales through our list.
If you could have a coffee and talk about anything with a personality (dead or alive) you admire, who would it be?
Oprah! I love her energy and the way she connected with millions over the past decades. Her book What I know for sure is one of my favorites and one of the few books I’d want every young woman to read. I love how she worked her ass off for decades but always stayed true to herself and her spiritual journey despite the hustle. I always feel so energized and aligned after watching videos of her.
There you have it. I want to personally thank my guest for taking the time to provide me and my readers with really insightful answers. I am deeply grateful to Sinem Günel. Thanks a lot, and keep up all the good work!
And thanks to you for reading my content! I’ll keep releasing interviews once in a while, so stay tuned!
To get instant access to my 150+ page guide containing the 50 best interviews I conducted, download it for free here! This is road-tested advice from real people who get things done, hope it helps!