The idea that your habits can shape you future is neither a new idea, nor an unexplored one. The core message behind this thinking has to do with time investment. What you put your time into helps decide what you get from that time in the end. Concepts like “very hard work is required for success” should never be ignored and the number of people to whom this does not apply is so small, it is statistically irrelevant. Habits are a way of effectively directing your off time into activities which will prove themselves to be assets in developing and establishing you, rather than having you spend time doing something which neither rewards nor empowers you. 

1. Reading 

It is easy to pass this one off as a cliché, but the old adage is “knowledge is power”. And, as any person who’s read the right books will tell you, a book can be a powerful source of information. The information can vary from the practical kind (i.e. effective team management) to self-improvement (how to live a more focused life, for instance). It is important that the books you read always empower you, or at least attempt to, so you are consciously investing in yourself as a leader and game changer.

2. Time management

Being able to figure out what you can and can’t do in your day is something that critically affects your efficiency and your ability to lead and delegate. Other than that, it is a matter of productivity to be able to avoid multi-tasking and apply your full focus to accomplishing a task that you have decided takes precedence over the other, distracting though perhaps also important tasks that come across your desk. Checking your email only at a few set times during your day is a great way to help improve your focus and is an important tie-in to making the most of your time.

3. Goal Setting

This is very closely linked to time management, and can be seen as a tool for how to get your time manageable. To have a written list of tasks you need to do before you start your day greatly increases your productivity and plays an important part in the psychology behind the difference between being constantly responsive to incoming data as opposed to being productive in the context of what you already know you need to do. If you have a prioritized list of tasks for your day, it is easy to classify new tasks as being either more or less important than the next task you were planning on doing, and you can manage your time accordingly.

4. Floss

Flossing is a habit ubiquitous amongst the very successful people of this world. While proper dental hygiene, better breath and perhaps an improved smile certainly count for something, this habit is indicative of a greater habit amongst the super successful: they take care of their appearance. “Dress for success” rings true amongst those at the top echelons of our society and proper dress and etiquette are invaluable qualities to invest in, and are an essential part of success.

5. Get Up Early 

For some this will be an incredible challenge. Some bodies have a greater physiological need for sleep and sleep may well be a coping mechanism and way to unwind for those suffering from a great deal of stress. However, the brain and body will eventually adjust to a different sleep pattern if it is consistently subjected to a different one than it is used too. A good idea is to spread the change in wake up time by increments across a significant period. Getting up early must be paired with other good morning habit to make sure you are not sitting down staring into blank space for the first hour after you get up: Some swear by coffee, some by hot water with lemon slices, almost all agree it is a good idea to check out your list of goals for the day and to avoid checking your email until later in the day.

6. Exercise

A good habit to combine with getting up early, cardiovascular exercise is extremely good for both your brain and your body. Regular exercise will increase the time you can be active as a professional by preserving you in good health and reducing the chance of illness. Additionally, it will improve workplace performance by helping you deal with stress and by boosting your creativity, which helps with problem solving.

The Important Take Away

There is no sure fire way to success, but self-improvement is a worthwhile goal in and of itself and the positive effects thereof are often felt in many more places in your life than just your professional career. These are the 6 most important habits of successful people and employing them in your life will help you get that edge in being the best you can be and furthering your career.