Were they simply in the right place at the right time? Was it just luck that got them to where they are?
Most Successful people got that way because they worked hard, and implemented a few key strategies in their everyday life. Here are the 8 most important:
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and Founder of Facebook, walks his dog.
Barack Obama, current President of the United States, reportedly exercises for 45 minutes every morning, 6 days a week, usually emphasizing cardio and weight lifting.
Jennifer Aniston, the actress of Friends fame, swears by her practice of yoga.
Exercise is a key aspect of the most productive personalities. Not only does it lead to better physical fitness and health, it also keeps your mind honed and focused on the task at hand. Studies have found that exercise has a severe affect on your mood, and can dictate whether someone feels cranky as opposed to energized.
Suggestion: Plan out a manageable daily exercise routine, one that you think you can actually manage to maintain and is not overwhelming. If you have not been exercising, then usually this means starting off slow with walking or lighter exercise. Remember, there is no shame in starting from square one; it is the effort that counts!
Margaret Thatcher started her day with coffee and half a grapefruit. Al Roker begins his day with a hearty protein shake. Steve Jobs would adhere to a healthy diet of literally the same food for weeks at a time; apparently he once ate so many carrots that his skin turned orange! A strictly healthy diet can make a world of difference when it comes to being successful and productive. The food you eat is the fuel that allows you to be productive. Food gives you the energy to get through the day, and if you are ingesting crappy energy, then chances are the results you produce will not be so great.
Suggestion: Plan out a meal calendar for your week. If your meals are preplanned, then it makes you more likely to keep that dietary commitment when the time comes.
- Continuing Education
Oscar Wilde once said: [You can never be overdressed or overeducated] and he was right. Continuing to learn is a crucial part of being successful. Keeping up to date with current market trends, new technologies, and best business practices is very important to excelling in any field. This is why in more rigorous fields, like medicine and law, continuous education is pro forma. If you are able to cultivate the self-discipline to teach yourself new skills and acquire new information, then there are no limits to the success you can achieve. To leave you with another quote: [Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.]
Suggestion: Set a reasonable goal of learning a few new things everyday. Keep track of what you learn, and go over it until you actually know it!
- Saying NO
The late Steve Jobs once said, €œPeople think €˜focus€™ means saying €˜yes€™ to the thing you've got to focus on. But that€™s not what it means at all. It means saying "no" to the hundred other good ideas that there are.€ Saying no is perhaps one of the hardest parts of being successful, because no one wants to say no. No one wants to have to be the one to smash someone else's ideas, but it is absolutely necessary to advance. To be successful, one must be discerning. They must be able to decipher the best ideas from the good ideas, and be decisive about what direction to head towards.
Suggestions: Practice. The only way to get good at anything is through practice. While this may seem an unpleasant thing to inflict on your peers, saying NO more often will make it easier to say no in the circumstances that really matter.
- Morning Routine
Renowned author Jane Austen rose at least 8 every, as did late President Harry Truman (although he was reported to always play around 5:30 AM). While we are on the topic of early morning piano players, composer Ludwig Van Beethoven would get to work extremely early, leaping out of bed at half past five most mornings. He would then proceed to count out precisely 60 coffee beans (no joke) and then work until mid-afternoon. Tim Cooke has them all beat, getting up at 4:30 AM most often to exercise.
Going to bed early and getting up early are usually the sign of a well established and fulfilling sleep routine. It is absolutely crucial, in order to be successful, to be well rested. Once you are up early, it is important to structure your morning time so that it sets you up for a day of productivity; as we all know, a bad morning can linger throughout the whole day, affecting work performance.
Suggestions: This one can be tricky. Whatever sleep schedule you have already established is a deeply imbedded habit, and it can be difficult to change something that is years in the making. My advice would be to start slowly, maybe keep a journal of when you are going to sleep and waking up. Assess your current sleep schedule before making drastic changes, so you can know what a reasonable goal for you is.
- Relax, Take it Easaaaay!
This is an essential part of remaining productive and being successful, relaxing. Whether it be an activity listed above€”exercise, education€”or something totally unrelated, relaxation is key. It is just as important to relieve stress from working as it is to work in the first place. But beware, some methods of relaxation can be deceptive. For instance, it may not be good to spend all your leisure time sitting in front of screens, as this can be exhausting for your eyes and brain.
Suggestions: Take some time to come up with some healthy relaxation ideas, things that will leave you refreshed, and not even more stressed. Whatever that means for you, just do it!
- Nature Time
Back to Beethoven. After his aforementioned day of work into the afternoon, he would then regularly stroll through his garden, appreciating the plant and wildlife he had domesticated. This is something you find regularly in the schedule of very successful people: they take the time to immerse themselves in nature. The natural world can offer a calming and tranquil form of relaxation and meditation that many find invaluable.
Suggestions: Find a local, natural spot to spend some time in!
- Setting Goals
I shall not mention another success story here because it is so painfully obvious how important this is. Without goals, work has no meaning, no direction. Having an attainable goal not only motivates you to reach it, but also gives you a sense of accomplishment upon completion. Everything else on this list can be accomplished through good goal-setting!
Suggestion: Goals come in many different varieties, daily goals, long term goals, personal goals, work goals. Balancing all of these can be overwhelming. I would say to try and incorporate Goal Setting into the start of your day. Lay out 3 key objectives for your day, and then return t them at the end, to see what you were able to accomplish and not. Do not go to hard on yourself though. The converse of feeling good when you complete a goal is feeling bad when it is neglected, and this can be self-defeating. What is most important, at least at first, is not whether the goals are completed necessarily, but rather getting into a goal oriented