Daily habits that executives swear by
Successful executives and entrepreneurs likely didn’t get where they are by accident. Typically, achieving great things involves hard work, perseverance and discipline. But sometimes a daily habit also proves to be a valuable friend.
Here, some executives share the daily habits — some big, some small — that helped them reach success and stay there.
Keep a gratitude book
“Having a gratitude diary of things in your life you are grateful for focuses you on being thankful for all the good in your life. This is important to wake up and take charge of your state and focus (while) keeping your mind off of negative thoughts.”
— Bryan Slovon, founder and CEO of Stuart Financial Group, a financial planning firm that specializes in retirement and estate planning
Do 10 by 10
“I like to get 10 things done by 10 a.m. Not just any 10, the most important 10 things of the day. Prioritize, tackle the big one first, then go down the list.”
— Marco Kozlowski, entrepreneur, author, real estate investment training and CEO strategist
Keep track of what gets done
“Throughout the day, I jot down all of my daily activities, phone calls, meetings, related notes and to-dos and check them off if there is no further action required. Any open items can be moved to the next day’s to-dos. It’s a great reference tool for phone numbers, commitments and data needed elsewhere.”
— Paul Ratoff, author of “Thriving in a Stakeholder World, Purpose as the New Competitive Advantage” and CEO of Strategy Development Group Inc.
Don’t waste time on social media
“Use it as it properly suits your business needs and move on.”
— Benjamin Lupu, certified financial planner at Kensington A.M.I., which educates the public about the virtues of the Blue-Chip-based dividend driven investment process
Get eight hours of sleep
“There are many hard-working individuals who stay up late and get up early, but I believe this actually reduces productivity and increases ineffectiveness. When I pay attention to getting eight full hours of sleep and going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time each day, my energy improves, I have more focus and am more productive . ... I absolutely wouldn’t give up my eight hours of rest for anything.” — Ann Vanderslice, president and CEO of Retirement Planning Strategies, which helps federal employees understand their benefits and plan for retirement
Check the company’s pulse
“I always sit down every day to check that day’s reservations for future moves, that day’s revenues and that day’s total labor costs. Now that doesn’t encompass a lot of reporting metrics. That doesn’t get me a net profit margin nor take into account any of our overhead. It certainly doesn’t get me a return on equity nor a return on assets. But I’m a typical entrepreneur that does a few million dollars a year in revenue. I have great support staff, but I don’t have the luxury of a team of consultants to tell me what next quarter’s revenues are likely to be. So that’s why I review my company’s pulse on a daily basis.”
— Nick Baucom, founder and owner of Two Marines Moving and the author of “On the Move: A Marine’s Guide to Entrepreneurial Success”
Prioritize your to-do list
“Each evening, I write a to-do list, organized by order of importance, and I make sure to accomplish the first two items at the start of the next day. Another daily habit is prioritizing social media. I set aside an hour ... allowing me time to connect with others and share something of value.” —Nicole Smartt, author of
“From Receptionist to Boss” and shareholder and vice president of Star Staffing, which is included on Inc’s 5,000 Fastest-Growing Companies list
Schedule all calls after lunch, back to back
“This allows you to get them out of the way and focus on the office and actual internal work in the morning when the coffee is working.”
— Eddie Meehan, CEO of fan engagement agency Wonderful Union, which helps celebrities, including Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift and Drake
Have a personal connection with each employee
“I try to make it a point to engage with as many employees daily as my schedule will permit ... from a quick ‘hello’ to an in-depth meeting, and I meet with every new hire that joins us. Great companies are only as good as the people that power it, so I encourage open dialogue and input.”
— Ron Dick, founder and CEO of Cedato, a digital video advertising company.
Ask “I wonder” questions several times a day
“Starting with ‘I wonder’ assumes I don’t know the answer, and pushes those around me to think differently about a problem, open their minds to another approach and leads to innovation.” — Tamra Ryan, CEO of Women’s Bean Project, which packages and sells bean soup mixes and other dry food products while teaching impoverished women basic life skills and job readiness skills