If you compare the top 100 entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, you’ll find a wide variety of backgrounds. From different past jobs to different schools, there isn’t one defining characteristic that leads to success. What you will find in common, however, is that people who are this productive weren’t born that way. They’ve found ways to make the most of their time through carefully practiced habits that allow them to maximize their productivity. Here are three of the top habits of the successful.
1. They Keep a Tight Schedule
It doesn’t take a lot of time to make a schedule, but it saves a lot of time when used properly. Whether an extremely detailed agenda (Elon Musk allegedly schedules his day down to five-minute increments) or a broad but written-down plan for the day, a schedule keeps a busy person above the weeds.
Anyone can come up with a schedule, but only the disciplined and productive will actually stick to it. The benefits speak for themselves — by knowing ahead of time what the day will hold and what will be accomplished, it’s much easier to strategize into the long term. Productive people work hard because they have a goal in mind, not just a simple set of tasks to accomplish. This feeds the motivation, even when times are tough.
2. Mornings Are the Golden Hour
No one is really a morning person. It’s just that the majority of people do their best work then. If you’re thinking that you do your best work at night, it may be worth giving the crack of dawn a shot. Not only are our minds sharp in the a.m., getting up early allows you to mentally prepare for the day. Visualizing the progress of the day before it happens can help achieve the vision.
Now, just because you’re up doesn’t mean you’re being productive. Most folks who are up early spend a bit of that extra time for some exercise — not sitting in bed until the last minute. Getting the blood flowing can stimulate the brain and shake off fatigue — which is necessary, because after a healthy breakfast, most highly productive people schedule whatever might be the most important item of the day. They’re ready to face it, and if for some reason it takes longer than scheduled, they’re still accomplishing first things first.
3. They Work With Their Talents, Not Against Their Faults
It’s not worth trying to do it all. In fact, this can actually work against you. No one is good at everything, but almost everyone is good at a few things. Some people are exceptional in certain fields. If Tony Hawk had decided to be a brain surgeon as well as a professional skateboarder, he probably wouldn’t be very good at either. That’s why the most productive people use their talents as effectively as possible.
This doesn’t all boil down to choosing between brain surgery and skateboarding. Effective people put their team in a position to succeed, and that means letting those who are good at strategy do long-term thinking and those who are good at the numbers do analysis. Not only does this make a business more productive, it makes for a happy and hardworking team.
Make It Work for You
Developing habits isn’t always easy, and it’s definitely easier to say than do. Fortunately, you’re not alone. Whether you’re working toward personal improvement or trying to better manage a team project, there are people who have the tools to help you do your best. Software from Hello Focus can go a long way in increasing productivity without decreasing your bottom line.