When we see successful people in the media, it’s normal to wonder what factors led up to that point. And sure — it’s probably part skill and part luck, but developing good daily habits also plays a big role in one’s eventual success. Let’s take a look at some big names and the little things they do to stay motivated and on track.
1. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla:
It may not come as a surprise that Musk’s advice is to constantly optimize your time and “think about how you could be doing things better.” But did you know that he specifically breaks his schedule up into five-minute chunks? Sure, this may seem extreme on the surface. But when you track your time that closely, it forces you to use each minute wisely instead of wasting it away. As a baby step, you could start by making a list of things you want to accomplish and then schedule in tasks to hit those goals throughout the day. From there, maybe you schedule your days in hour-long increments and see if you can work your way up to Musk’s obsessively precise time slots.
2. Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder of The Huffington Post:
Set your intention for the day.
This journalism guru has a beautifully simple and positive way to start each day. Once her eyes open, she takes a moment to be grateful, breathe deeply and set her intention for the day. Huffington’s ability to deliberately focus energy on what matters ties in with her penchant for yoga and breathing throughout the day. So instead of starting the day with “OMG” try starting it with some “Om”.
3. Barack Obama, Former U.S. President:
Save your decision-making for things that matter.
What do Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs and Barack Obama all have in common? No, this isn’t the setup to some corny joke. They all dress pretty much the same from day to day. By limiting their wardrobes, these men could better focus their attention and decision-making abilities on more important things. As former President Obama says, “You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.”
4. Nick Alt, Founder of VNYL:
Walk and talk on the phone.
There must be a reason that movies always show high-profile business executives pacing around while chatting on the phone. Nick Alt seems to think it gives him energy and allows him to be a “creative problem solver in the moment.” He prefers to take even the most important call while walking around outside and says it helps keep him sane during the day. Anyways, who doesn’t prefer fresh air and sunshine to an office environment?
5. Bob Ferguson, Washington Attorney General:
Wake up early.
It may not be the most surprising habit of successful people, but it seems to be one of the most important. Research shows that early risers are more optimistic and conscientious, and can better anticipate and minimize problems. Bob Ferguson wakes up at 5 a.m. to have some personal time, and then makes breakfast for his family — all before heading into work to problem solve all day. Can we have some eggs over easy too, Mr. Ferguson?
6. MaryBeth Hyland, Founder of SparkVision:
Don’t look at screens in the morning.
Instead of waking up to immediately and checking emails on her smartphone, this entrepreneur prefers to save the first hour of each day for free thinking and gratitude. She says once she worked it into her morning routine, this habit “created a new sense of balance and centeredness for having a successful and productive day ahead.” We could all probably use a little less screen time and a little more me time.
7. Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway:
Read a lot.
This business tycoon is also perhaps the world’s biggest bookworm. He pours over stacks of books and newspapers every day to make better, more informed decisions. Concerning knowledge, Mr. Buffett says: “It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.” And if we could all be as intelligent and wealthy as Warren Buffett, it may be worth upping our reading game, right?
8. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple:
Exercise to get your mind going.
A self-described health nut, Tim Cook’s morning routine consists of an hour of exercise to keep his “stress at bay.” As previously mentioned, he also starts this daily routine by waking up super early at 4 a.m. (yikes!). But he’s not the only successful person who make fitness a priority. Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Anna Wintour and Mark Cuban are just a few other high-profile people who exercise daily.
Alright, now that you have the tools to be successful, go out and do something with them! What does your day-to-day routine look like? How are you looking to improve it? We want to hear what you have to say, so be sure to share in the comments below!