Many of the most successful people in business, government, academics and sports adhere to similar daily routines. These habits employed by successful people aren’t always as intense as you might think and you can increase your productivity and feel better about your work and personal life by imitating even a few of the habits I’ll list below. Every journey begins with one step, and by choosing to make positive progress on your daily routine you can be on the way to success.
1. Get Up Early
I know that I’m not a morning person by any means, but most successful people wake up earlier than others and set themselves on that schedule daily. Choose a time to wake up and set an alarm for that time every single day. Build a routine around waking up where you get out of bed, prepare for your day and begin working. Keeping a daily morning routine can be hugely beneficial to putting the rest of your day on a productive track.
2. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Staying physically fit is not only good for your body but is great for your mind. Start treating your workout as part of your job. Building your exercise routine into your daily schedule will help make it easier to stick with. Numerous studies have shown that as little as 20 minutes of moderately intense exercise each day dramatically improves brain function and can help you work at a higher level for longer.
I’m not saying you should go on a diet, but be conscious of what you eat and eat at regular intervals. Start each day, after waking up early of course, with a healthy breakfast with protein to keep you energized throughout the morning. Try to have a lunch that won’t weigh you down. You might be tempted by that cheeseburger but you’ll have more energy and feel better if you have a chicken salad instead. Keep some healthy snacks around your desk like almonds and dried fruit to munch on when you’re feeling fatigued. Keeping your body energized with healthy fuel will allow you to reach your potential each day.
You may have noticed by now that most of these habits relate to your health, and that’s not a mistake. Maintaining your physical health is paramount to being productive throughout your day. People who are tired make more mistakes and have trouble completing tasks efficiently, so make sure you get good rest at night and aim for 7 hours if you can.
5. Set A Daily To Do List
As part of your morning routine, put together a list of items that you are going to work on that day. I actually have 2 lists that I do as I drink my coffee. First, I list all the work items I am going to work on throughout the day, and my second list are the personal items I need to take care of that day. Then, prioritize by importance and put stars next to the items that must be completed that day. Keeping track of your objectives can take some of the stress out of your day because you know what you’re going to do and what’s important before you start working each day.
6. Don’t Be Afraid To Tackle Easy Things First
While you may think that successful people spend all of their time working on difficult issues that couldn’t be farther from the truth. A habit many successful people report is that they can look at their list of things they need to do and then knock off easy tasks quickly so they can spend time on the harder issues. Another way this works well for productive people is that they can take a complicated and difficult task and break it down into smaller easier tasks that can be checked off. When you know that any hard task can be broken down into smaller easier parts then you can feel more confident in your ability to complete larger projects.
7. Take Breaks, and Take Vacations
Your ability to power through your work without stopping is a trait that people find admirable, bit is actually much less productive than knowing when to take a break. It’s easy to become fatigued when you are making many decisions and as you become more exhausted you are more prone to making mistakes. Successful and productive people know when to stop throughout the day, even for 5 minutes at a time, and either work on something entirely different or just take a walk and clear their minds. In the same vein, take advantage of your vacation days and use them! Many American workers walk away from vacation days they have, but more companies are now requiring their workers use vacation because people who take breaks come back more refreshed and better prepared to work.
8. Avoid Email In The Morning
The modern worker spends a huge amount of time swamped in email. You might wake up and think to pick up your smartphone or laptop right away and start filtering through the messages, but you may be better off ignoring it for the moment. Taking time before you get swamped in emails to set priorities for the day can be helpful, so take a break and put the email down, it’ll still be there later.
9. Deal With Tasks Once
Successful people are busy, and busy people don’t have time to revisit issues more than once. When you are faced with an important email or business decision, put in the required time to educate yourself about the task at hand and make a decision on how to handle it then move on to the next task. Even if there seem to be a few good ways to handle a situation, you can get bogged down in what I like to call analysis paralysis and end up falling behind on many tasks.
10. Maintain Your Routine
Everything I’ve listed here is the foundation of a routine that will keep your productive. Maintaining a routine that you do not deviate from will allow for you to better maximize time and energy and focus on tasks that must be completed. Staying healthy, working hard, and building time to prioritize your schedule will help you make the most of your days and avoid uncertainty that can end up leading to down time.