We’re all creatures of habit: We get up at the same time, go to work, have lunch at a certain time, go home at night and do it all over again the next day. No routine is the same, but routine does provide us with a sense of accomplishment and normalcy.
In fact, the state of our daily lives reflects our daily habits. According to a Duke University psychology study, 45 percent of everything we do on a daily basis factors in those daily habits.
That's why, for many, change is an inconvenience. It usually entails something unknown. My own view? It's: "Change is the only thing that’s constant." We’ve been conditioned to fear the unknown, but without someone having the gumption to "walk the plank," there wouldn’t be inventions or innovations. Not to mention the fact that we entrepreneurs might still be clocking in and out of corporate America.
Pushing boundaries, embracing change and expanding our horizons is how we grow as professionals and individuals.
Is there something that we can do (or do better) in order to be more successful? Yes, there is. Here are five habits you can cultivate to help you become more successful.
1. Have meetings at the same location.
As CEOs and business owners, we are involved in countless meetings any given day. One way to maximize our time is to schedule meetings back to back and in the same place. Not only will you get those meetings out of the way earlier in the day, but you won’t have to switch locations. You won’t lose time going from place to place and can spend some time focusing on what needs to happen during the meeting.
Tiffany Pham, founder and CEO of Mogul, takes this practice to heart. As she told Inc.: “If I must have multiple meetings throughout a day, I often aim to set them back to back in one location. This way, I maintain efficiency and focus throughout the meetings, setting the pace according to the agenda and maximum time allotted, [while] knowing we must get straight to the points at hand since the next meeting is impending.”
2. Get organized.
The supposed correlation between being organized and being productive is a belief that not everyone subscribes to. But it’s something that works for me. My desk is organized; everything has its place; therefore, I feel ready to tackle the day.
Some people argue that clutter -- whether at home or at work -- results in a lack of focus. In fact, scientific evidence says this is a real thing. Clutter prevents us from focusing on bigger goals. If organization is something that you strive for in order to feel that you’ve accomplished something, but you don’t know where to start, start small. Organize one drawer, instead of your entire desk. Organize the left side of your closet, instead of your entire closet.
Then again, there are people who might be a little messier but are just as focused and productive as someone like me who likes "neat and orderly." Their motto is “my mess, my business.” At the end of the day, it’s the end result that counts the most.
3. Stay connected.
When we start our entrepreneurial journey, we’re in charge of everything -- from answering phones and mailing packages, to billing and business development. As our venture grows into a robust company, we delegate some of those responsibilities to other employees; and if our business takes off, we delegate while focusing even more on how to expand the business. With expansion comes growing pains which can make us lose focus; we become disconnected, from the day-to-day details, and sometimes from our own employees.
Staying connected doesn’t mean being in people’s faces or micromanaging your staff. It means staying involved with what you love to do. For example, I enjoy getting involved in the creative side of things -- whether from a marketing/PR or production standpoint.
I occasionally sit in, for example, during planning sessions that my teams have with clients. That helps me stay up to date with what’s going on with clients and what they want from the team, while enabling me to inject a different perspective and not get bogged down with the day-to-day activities.
Don’t be the kind of entrepreneur who’s disconnected, because more often than not, out of sight turns into out of mind -- and that’s no way to run a business.
4. Learn something new every day.
When we’re young, we think that learning stops after we leave college. As we get older, and hopefully wiser, we realize this is not the case. Learning never stops; and, if you’re to become successful, you need to become a voracious reader or a big consumer of news.
Your activity here doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but whether you’re looking to upgrade your vocabulary or remain current with what’s going on the world, you have to make time.
Mark Cuban says he reads three hours every day. Bill Gates reads for an hour before bedtime. Reading isn’t just something you do to help clear your mind; it can also help you learn from the mistakes (and successes) of others. I occasionally peruse my social media feeds to learn a few things, too. Someone might share an article that is relevant to my industry and is something, normally, that I wouldn’t have noticed.
It might be about a new trend, a new technology or a new tool that might help streamline my workload (I’m always looking for neat tips and tricks to help me save time). Whatever it is that you choose to learn that day, whether it’s industry-related or not, make an effort to learn it. After all, knowledge never killed anyone.
5. Ask the right questions and push the envelope.
Most of our workload revolves around the "what" or the "how" -- what are we working on today? How are we going to accomplish this task? But, what we don’t focus more on is the "why." Successful people are constantly asking questions and pushing the envelope. Sure, that might sound like a toddler asking endless questions, but asking "why" helps you understand the process and, possibly, find alternative ways to fix a problem.
"Why" is always the hardest question to ask. For some, it may come across as questioning authority, but that’s not the case. If that’s how you think, you should get out of that mindset. Settling for the status quo never made anyone stand out.
But, questioning things is actually how you push the envelope. I understand this might be difficult to do, but here’s the catch: It’s not necessarily what you say, but how you say it. You can ask almost anything, push any envelope and even challenge authority if you do it calmly and respectfully.
Earlier, I mentioned how your daily habits help determine how you run your life. Ask yourself a couple of questions: a) what does success mean to me? and b) is there anything in my daily routine that I need to change that will help me become more successful?
Success means different things for different people. Some measure it in titles, money, social/financial status or simply personal satisfaction. Find out what success means to you and work toward that goal. Then examine your daily routine and do an honest self-assessment. That’s your plan.