7 Daily Habits For Success

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“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.”
– Zig Ziglar

Ever wonder why getting ahead can sometimes seem like such a struggle? The truth is: If you want to be highly successful, you need to be highly disciplined. I’ve polled countless executives and entrepreneurs about the things they’re doing every day which help them succeed, and typically they credit simple daily routines which have been proven over time to give them an edge. Check out these quotes from these high-achieving individuals who share the habits which help them get ahead in business and life.

What is success to you? How to be successful in life?

To some, when they think of success, they imagine wealth; others want power; some just want to make a positive impact on the world.

All of these are perfectly valid, indeed success is a concept that means different things to different people. Though no matter what success is to you, it almost certainly isn’t something will come easily.

There are countless guides and books to being successful, One which I think is the best book to start with “

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change”

however, as success is personal and unique to each individual. The advice contained in these books can often not be relevant. Therefore following the advice of a single individual can often be unhelpful.

With this in mind, considering the advice of a great many people, people whose ideas of success were different both to each other, and quite possibly, to you can be a good alternative.

What follows is a list of 7 of the best pieces of advice from some of the most successful people who have ever lived. If you want to learn how to be successful, these tips are essential:

1. Plan your day the night before

This is where you’re going to plan out everything you want to do in an ideal day. When are you going to work out, or eat, go run some errands, take breaks, actually work? Seeing how much time you realistically can work is important.

If you want to take things to the next level, I really encourage you take advantage of The Pomodoro Method:

  • Work for 25 minutes (totally focused)
  • Take a 5 minute break

 

Instead of having 4 hours where I just put “work”, which is not very helpful, I break it down into 30-minute work sessions. I just label them: “Pomodoro 1,” “Pomodoro 2,” “Pomodoro 3.”

That way you can have a more actionable game plan for your day and see how many “pomodoros” you can fit into an ideal day.

If you’re not sure how to get started planning out your own ideal day, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. My Success Planner: Taking Action Every Day to Win is an awesome Success Planner.

This planner helps improve health-wellness, relationships, and professional growth. The Success Planner helps you accomplish new goals and see new results in your life. The Success Planner also makes great gifts for family and friends.

2. Create a morning routine

They say the best way to win the day is to win the morning. With the right start to your morning, you can achieve more throughout the rest of the day.

As a business owner, I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient and effective at achieving my goals, and today I want to share with you what I’ve been learning about making the most of every morning.

Discover What Work You Do Best in the Morning

If you want to create the best morning routine for you, it pays to know what type of work you should be doing first thing.

Our daily work tasks fall into two categories, logical work and insight work.

Logical work involves organizing, clarifying and analyzing. It’s performed using the left side of the brain.

Insight work involves the creative tasks that use the right side of your brain. Knowing the time of day you’re best suited to each type of task will increase your productivity.

As Dan Pink writes in his book, When, your Circadian Rhythm actually dictates what type of work you do best in the mornings. For most of us, mornings are best for our logical work.

If you’re an author this could include tasks like:

  • Structuring the sections of the book you’re writing
  • Evaluating potential keywords and categories
  • Performing research for books and articles
  • Editing and proofreading

I say “most of us” because around 25% of us have what’s called a Late Chronotype. That means you’re a bit of a night owl. If you’re in that 25%, complete your creative work in the mornings instead.

The goal is simply to identify the times when you’re best at a task and do it at those times. For example, if you write faster in the mornings, write in the mornings. Make sense?

Plan out Consistent Wake-Up and Bed Times

Usually, when starting a new morning routine, sleep is the first thing sacrificed. But going without enough sleep is a major detriment to your energy levels and productivity. Sure, you may be able to work solidly for an hour or so in the morning, but it doesn’t count if you’re too tired to achieve anything after 2 pm. 

Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night to cover all the stages of a regular sleep cycle. Anything less and you’ll suffer the impact of sleep deprivation the next day. Track your sleep with a FitBit

Lack of sleep leads to:

  • Fatigue
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irritability
  • Impaired concentration and memory problems
  • A lack of creativity and problem-solving skills
  • Added difficulty making decisions
  • Inability to properly manage emotions
  • Weakened immune system
  • Weight gain 

Whether you’re launching a business or writing a book, those aren’t problems you want in your life as a go-getter. 

To make sure you’re getting enough sleep every night, plan a set time to go to sleep and wake up every morning. Keeping your sleep times consistent will ensure that you’re on a consistent schedule. Avoid using phones (or any screen) for the hour prior to your bedtime. A good way to achieve that? Sleep with your phone in another room to make sure you’re not tempted to check your Instagram one last time before bed.  

Obviously, events come up and you’ll have to disrupt your sleep schedule once in a while. That’s okay. You don’t need to say, “Sorry, I’d love to come to your wedding, but I have a strict 9:30 pm bedtime.” Just try to stick to the schedule as often as you can. 

3. Take some quiet time

How Quiet Time Can Help Boost Your Productivity by Carol Halsey

All during the 15 plus years that I worked as an executive assistant to CEO’s and Presidents of large corporations and small companies, I observed they all had several things in common. One in particular was, every day they would close their office door and instruct that they not be disturbed – no visitors, no phone calls. This period of time would usually last for an hour, sometimes more, sometimes less. This was their quiet time.

If you are practicing this habit, you probably would say this is the most productive time in your day. If you do not take quiet time, you are missing one of the greatest techniques of time management.

There are many ways to use quiet time – working on a speech, writing a report or an article, planning for future business, identifying short and long term goals, designing a marketing strategy, preparing an estimate or contract, or catching up on paperwork. It is a time to review your goals and lay out a plan to accomplish them.

Quiet time is best utilized during your most productive time of the day. Schedule the time in your planner, at least one hour. It is an appointment you keep with yourself and are just as committed to as an appointment with someone else.
Occasionally, circumstances or events will overrun your quiet time. That’s okay. Try to plug that time into your schedule later in the day. That’s the beauty of allowing flex time in your daily schedule (a subject for another article).

If you do not have an office door to close, quiet time is still possible. Let phone calls go to voice mail or ask someone near you to take your calls during that time. Do them the same favor during their quiet time.

When others approach you to talk or visit, politely explain that you are concentrating on a very important project, and could you get back to them later. In most cases this works just fine. After a while, others will recognize when not to disturb you. You can also tack a Do Not Disturb sign on the entrance to your work area.

Quiet time is a very effective tool in your workbox. By committing to quiet time every day, you are being proactive, and taking control of how to make the best use of your time, which is a part of being organized.

Darren Hardy expands quit a bit on this subject “Quiet Time” in his book The Compound Effect.  Darren Hardy is an American author, keynote speaker, advisor, and former publisher of SUCCESS magazine. Hardy is a New York Times best-selling author, who wrote The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster, Living Your Best Year Ever and The Compound Effect. His daily podcast is only a couple minutes long and worth plugging into

4. Take some time to give back

4 Ways Your Company Benefits From Giving Back by John Boitnott

Modern society gives some great rewards to entrepreneurs who find what people need and want, and provide it. This exchange is huge part to the free market philosophy that has led to much prosperity. Successful business people are well rewarded for their ability to provide what society wants. Sometimes these people make for good philanthropists, even if many are still stingy with their wealth.

Charitable acts are performed without the expectation of direct financial gain, but they certainly are not without their own rewards. Here are four of the major ways that successful business people and even you can benefit by giving to charitable causes.

1. Building respect and a good reputation in the community.

A company’s leaders can identify needs within the community or ask prominent local organizations what they need help with, and make targeted efforts to contribute. The relationships formed between customers and prominent community members can be of great value to the company in the future. When businesses help other people, those people tend to want to support the company in return. Building a reserve of goodwill in your community means there will be people there to back you up and speak up on your behalf in the future.

A now-classic example of this is Facebook. The company’s move to the old Sun Microsystems campus in Menlo Park a few years back and raised concerns from people in the community about the effect all those new Facebook employees might have on the city and its infrastructure. There were thoughts from some that it might cost the city more than help it in the long run. Facebook spent millions of dollars in the area on things like improving bike trails to reduce traffic impacts from all the new workers coming in and out of the area each day. The company also famously donated $120 million to schools near the campus, a move which generated quite a bit of positive publicity, but also the negative opinions of those who felt the social giant “bought off” the community (haters are gonna hate, as they say).

2. Making your community a better place to live.

Giving back improves a company’s image in the eyes of community members and results in a better place to live and work for the company, its employees and the people who live there already. Fixing up local parks or donating to schools gives children of the employees better and safer places to learn and play. Donating to local nature parks gives everyone a relaxing, enjoyable area to camp or hike in.

The Facebook example applies here, too. The school donations will have an almost incalculable effect on the kids who already live in the area. Some of the East Palo Alto schools that are still receieving these donations were long-suffering elementary, middle and high schools that had only a tiny fraction of the money, computers and other resources that similar schools in Beverly Hills-like Atherton had, just a few miles away. Who’s to say just how many of the kids in those schools will now lead much more successful lives because Zuckerberg opened his pocketbook?

Also, companies that give to environmental causes, or green initiatives, lead to a healthier and more beautiful environment in the immediate area. Ocean Conservancy is a good example, partnering with companies on cause-related marketing agreements to help build awareness and raise funds for their work to protect the ocean. The American Forest Foundation partnered with a company called HardWood Bargains, along with hundreds of others, to create a program with a goal to plant 50 million trees in the US alone.

3. Employees respect leaders who do good.

It can be unfortunate just how little certain startup founders and other business owners properly address employee happiness. Many team leaders go through the daily motions without a thought on how to build greater employee cohesion or job satisfaction in general. If you work for a company that gives back to the community, it can improve those issues. If you make your company a positive force in the community it can improve employees’ regard for their corporate leaders, which can only help you. It’s also simply a nice feeling and can make you more motivated to work there. The daily grind is difficult. Employees need all the motivation they can get. Good morale is essential to a successful business, and this is one of the best ways to bolster it.

4. Connections and networking.

In the hit TV series Mad Men, a highly successful character once said, “Philanthropy is the gateway to power.” Philanthropic organizations are often a who’s who of the world’s most powerful individuals. Entry into these organizations brings one into contact with these people. For an entrepreneur or businessperson, these connections are an invaluable resource. The people you know determine what you can get done and what opportunities you can take advantage of. People in these organizations tend to develop a mutual trust and respect for one another, which are essential factors in doing business.

Successful corporate leaders understand promoting public opinions that are favorable to your company, boosting internal morale and improving the area you live in are all good reasons to make positive contributions to your community. Let’s be honest, if you grease the wheels of local politicians by donating hundreds of millions of dollars, that generally isn’t going to hurt either. All companies should make philanthropy a central part of their business model.

5. Read an inspirational book

Top 5 Benefits of Reading Motivational Books by Best Selling Authors… by Lance Allard

Motivation is the fuel that helps you to achieve your goals. Motivational books or speeches create a positive and optimistic impact on your life. They boost your confidence and help in developing a positive outlook towards life. Books make you realize how powerful you can be in your life. There are many best-selling authors whose books are enough motivating and inspiring to change an individual’s life. Such books prove out to be very beneficial and life changing for people who search for motivation.

In this guide we will discuss some benefits of reading motivational books:

  1. Regain your faith in hard work and miracles

Motivational speakers and inspirational books help you to regain your faith in yourself. It helps you realize that hard work pays off and miracles do happen. If you have been working hard then these books may be able to give you a sigh of relief that something good will surely happen.

2. To realize that you’re not alone

Motivational speakers and inspirational books can help you regain your faith in life through stories of other people whose life is same as that of yours. You feel happy that even sorrow is being shared by thousands of people for creating a better future.

3. To learn from other people’s life

It’s very important to learn from your mistakes, but it’s also necessary to learn from other people’s life. Learning after doing mistakes is the best type of learning and it’s a lesson for lifetime as you get to experience something that you can never forget.

4. It helps you know failure is stepping stone to success

A major setback in life creates a negative outlook towards life, but being an optimist at that time is the only important thing to do. Motivational books help you realize that failure is the first stepping stone to success.

5. It broadens your vision towards life

Motivational books create a positive impact on your life and broaden your vision towards life. You regain your confidence and motivation to do better in life.

You should definitely consume inspirational material not only to give your self-esteem a boost but also to help yourself live a better and stress-free life. There are many best-selling authors who have contributed to the society for its betterment. If you are low in confidence and need motivation or inspiration in your life, then a speech or the book by Lance Allred can prove out to be life changing for you. Known as ‘The Lion’, he is one of the best motivational speakers. Connect with Lance here

6. Move your body everyday

5 Benefits of Moving Your Body by Brittany Wright

It is safe to say that you are aware that exercise is healthy. Still, for many, the word “exercise” is weighed down with feelings of stress and obligation. When did the simple act of moving your body become such a drag? Another word for exercise is simply movement. Moving should never be burdensome as it is one of your body’s most basic functions!

Looking for some renewed motivation to move your body as the days get shorter and the weather colder? The following are reasons—other than weight loss—to move your body. By focusing on non-weight related reasons to move, you can help yourself foster feelings of joy around movement, rather than dread.

1. Enhanced Mood

Moving your body not only improves mood, but also helps combat anxiety and depression. Data show that exercise provides these benefits both in healthy individuals as well as those with diagnosed emotional disorders, regardless of sex and age.

Exercise may also help individuals cope with stress. In one study, participants were asked to complete both a non-stressful control task and a stressful task. Those participants who exercised at least once weekly had better moods following the stressful task than the non-exercisers, who reported a significant decline in positive affect (mood) and felt generally “unfriendly” following the stressful task. These results suggest that routine exercise, while not necessarily preventing you from feeling acute stress, is helpful in maintaining a positive mood and preventing stress from accumulating in your body.

2. Healthier Lymph

The lymphatic system is part of your body’s immune system. When you have a sore throat and feel a lump in your neck, you may rub it and say you think your lymph nodes are swollen, but typically this is where your knowledge ends. The lymph system is a series of channels and nodes dispersed throughout the body that move lymph fluid. Lymph fluid contains infection-fighting white blood cells throughout the body. It is an important part of the immune system because it is responsible for removing potentially harmful toxins and bacteria from the body.

Unlike the circulatory or respiratory systems, the lymphatic system does not have a “pump.” Instead, it relies on your motion to circulate lymph fluid around the body. Each time you move large muscles of the body, you help pump lymphatic fluid through your body, keeping your systems circulating.

3. Healthier Bones

Exercise is not just good for your muscles. When your muscles push and pull against bones, this also helps to build and preserve bone mass. Weight-bearing exercise is best for building bone mass. This doesn’t mean that you have to use weights. Any sustained activity in which you work against the force of gravity, such as walking, dancing, or taking the stairs, helps to build bone mass. Keep in mind that the higher the impact, the greater the benefit to bone growth.

The bone-building effects of exercise are important across your lifespan. For children, physical activity is essential to help create dense bones, as children are continuously building bones until around age 20, at which point they have accumulated nearly 90 percent of the total bone mass they will have throughout their lives.

After your thirties, bone mass starts to declineMuscular disorders such as osteoporosis are a leading cause of disability in the elderly, leaving individuals susceptible to fractures. While some degree of bone loss is unavoidable, exercise is one of the main steps you can take to help maintain bone mass.

4. Enhanced Brain Health

Exercise improves cognitive performance for people of all ages. In one study, children who participated in physical activity demonstrated increased electrical activity in the brain, as well as improved mental accuracy and reaction times. Another study confirmed what you can rationally infer—that a healthy workout routine early on in life may help to predict your level of cognitive decline later in life. Individuals who were physically active at 18 years old were less likely, 42 years later, to have developed early onset dementia or mild cognitive impairment.

5. Improved Sex Life

Exercise improves sex life (arousal and satisfaction) for both men and women. For men, not only does increased blood flow improve sexual function, but regular exercise also helps with psychosocial factors such as mood, stress, and confidence which may contribute to feeling “in the mood.” Furthermore, regular weight-lifting and interval cardiovascular exercise may increase testosterone levels by building muscle mass—a precursor to testosterone production. Testosterone is a stress hormone directly linked with sex drive and performance. (It should be noted that chronic endurance exercise, such as endurance cycling and running, actually decrease testosterone. While these activities are still healthy, they may not be best for maximizing sexual health.)

For women, regularly moving the body may help to increase sexual function and arousal. The mechanism requires further study, though may be related to increased hormone production as well as endorphins.

7. Eat that frog

Never Finishing Your To-Do Lists? 5 Strategies to Try by Lilly Herman

Most of us have been there: You have eight million things to finish, yet nothing ever seems to get done. You draw up to-do list after to-do list, and you feel like you’re adding more items to the list than you’re checking off. Does this mean you’re just terrible at time management, or is it something else?

Here’s a terrifying (but strangely comforting) fact: A whopping 89% of people don’t regularly finish their daily to-do lists. So, don’t worry, you’re not alone!

Another reason not to worry: There are simple strategies you can employ to get more done and make your to-do list way more manageable. Here’s a roundup of our best to-do list tips—because it’s time to become one of those 11% who actually finish what they set out to do.

1. Take the 1-3-5 Rule Seriously

Over the course of the day, it’s easy to get caught up in the all the little things that come up. Sure, you really wanted to finish that gigantic committee report that’s been weighing on you for weeks, but you just had to fill your to-do list with 17 more things that need your immediate attention.

Or do they?

This is where the 1-3-5 rule comes in handy: By mapping out one big thing, three medium things, and five smaller things you want to get done that day (and, yes, that’s generally the number of tasks you can reasonably get done in a day), you’ll instantly know where your priorities lie (and what can wait). And if prioritizing is in fact your biggest issue when it comes to productivity, this will help you get better at it.

If you work in a job in which things really do come up and need to be dealt with ASAP, leave one of your medium and one or two of your small slots open each day to fill in with the most important immediate needs.

To make this even easier, we’ve created a very simple (and pretty) spreadsheet for you to map out your 1-3-5 items, which you can download here.

2. Use the Eisenhower Method

Alex Honeysett does a great breakdown of the Eisenhower Method, but the gist is that you need to start understanding two things about each one of your to-dos: How important is it, and how urgent is it? The big lesson here is that what is important is not always urgent, and vice versa.

The idea of prioritizing tasks can be daunting (especially if you don’t know where your priorities should lie), so this system creates a very simple grid to base your to-do list on. Look for the things that are both urgent and important, and do those first. Don’t spend your time fretting over things that just appear urgent, and block specific chunks of time in your schedule for ones that are important but don’t need to be done at that very moment. And anything that you determine isn’t urgent or important? Do everything you can to get that off your too-full to-do list.

3. Commit to Only One To-Do List App

A good friend of mine was once complaining to me about how she was never able to get even close to getting her to-do list done, and once she opened up her computer I saw why: She had nine different productivity or to-do list apps going at the same time on her desktop!

Many people make the mistake of thinking that the term “the more the merrier” applies to apps (especially productivity ones), but for the vast majority of people, it doesn’t. You’ll spend half of your day messing with everything, and there’s no way you could learn the ins and outs of every single app.

Instead, take a little time to look through your productivity app options (here’s a good list to get you started) and pick just one to commit to. Download it, read up on the features, and commit a full month to using solely that app for your to-do list needs. You’ll be shocked at how much more you’ll be able to get done when you’re not fidgeting with so many different things all the time.

4. Be Specific About What Each To-Do List Item Entails

You shouldn’t be giving the same amount of weight to completing a report that’ll take you five hours to write and sending an email that just needs two minutes of your time. Instead, break down the steps that each to-do list item entails until they all take about the same time and effort (one expert suggests that each task should take no more than 10 minutes), and think of those as their own to-do list items.

By actually visualizing how much work everything will take, it’s easier to plan the rest of your to-do list and your daily schedule accordingly. While just saying “write committee report” may make it seem easy, plotting out the six steps that come with doing that will enable you to block out the right amount of time and move other to-do list items to a later date if need be.

5. Create a “Done” List

I have a friend who sticks to a classic paper-and-pen to-do list, and one of the reasons she likes it so much is because she loves the look of having items crossed off on a sheet of paper after a long day. There’s sense of accomplishment there that doesn’t exist with a lot of to-do list apps.

Creating a “Done” list (more on that here) not only gives you that same sense of achievement when you’re able to look back on everything you did that day, but if you take a look at the list and realize that you really didn’t accomplish anything, it’s also a great wake-up call that you need to refocus and rethink what you’re spending your day doing.

Keep in mind when trying any new productivity trick that it takes time to adjust, so if things don’t seem to be working out after one day, don’t give up. Give any new to-do list trick at least a month. You’ll be a productivity machine in no time!

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