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Little things that successful people do

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Achieving more in life doesn’t have to involve monumental effort. Think about it this way: If you got out of bed five minutes earlier every day, in a month you would have 150 extra minutes to get things done. That’s more than 30 hours of additional time over the course of a year. Here are some more ideas on simple daily habits which can help you get ahead of everyone else, brought to you by Christina desMarais, a contributor to the Inc.com, according to the knowledge shared by the 30 managers.

1. Train yourself to become successful with the uncomfortable

“Transitioning from high heat to very cold situations creates a stressful environment for your body, but this should be embraced. Becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable both mentally and physically allows you to thrive, even in the most stressful situations.”

–Thomas Carlton, The Hudson Team

2. Add to good karma by paying it forward

“Paying it forward and solving small problems that affect the lives of many people can be very powerful and rewarding. Give something to the community without expecting immediate reward and everybody’s life will be richer for it.”

–Ivan Novikov, CEO of Wallarm

3. Encourage feedback and always assume positive intent

“I encourage feedback and one habit I have come to stick to over the years is always assuming the intent behind feedback is positive. It’s all too easy for ego to get in the way of being a great manager, partner, or colleague, so regardless of who I am receiving direct feedback from I try to remain open to the sentiment and detail. If you can overcome the human urge to be defensive and respond without understanding, feedback can make a significant difference in your daily personal and business performance.”

–Zlatko Vucetic, CEO of FocusVision

4. Follow up

“It’s so simple, yet so often overlooked. Whether it’s a short thank-you note or a quick email to a new contact or a gentle nudge to pursue an opportunity, I’ve mastered the art of the follow-up and it’s now a habit in how I do business. There would be so many missed opportunities if I hadn’t learned that gentle persistence is key to carving your own path.”

–Shannon Lohr, founder of Factory45

5. Wake up early

“With clients around the world and a staff dispersed across continents, getting everyone on the same page quickly is critical. I’ve found that by waking up each day at 4:30 a.m., I’m able to communicate and collaborate more successfuly with my colleagues in all corners of the world before my day gets busier with domestic communications and projects.”

–Dux Raymond-Sy, CMO of AvePoint

6. Continuously challenge assumptions

“Success comes from seeing something before others see it, or by finding ways to do something better, faster or cheaper than ever before. By nature, most people take the world around them at face value, relying on the notion that things are the way they are and don’t change because ‘That’s the way we’ve always done things.’ Revisiting these assumptions uncovers bad or false assumptions, opening a path to new ideas and new ways to approach problems.”

–Joshua Siegel, founder and CEO of StoneCastle

7. Enjoy, measure and maximize every minute of your life

“When I finally sit in my armchair in years to come… I want to be able to reflect on my life and think I could not have tried any harder or achieved much more. I have experienced all the things I wanted, worked hard, had fun and made a positive difference to my family, especially my daughters, the people around me and those I worked with and businesses I have built. Life is in your hands.”

–Mark Holweger, president of Legal and General America

8. Carry a notebook into every meeting

“I worked at Apple with Steve Jobs many years ago – but the technology just doesn’t beat the notebook in this situation. I make all of our interns learn this skill.”

–Barry L. Star, CEO of Wall Street Horizon

9. Be respectful of people’s time and inboxes

“For any email chain I’m included in, I consciously move those who aren’t needed for decision making to bcc, and keep only those who need to come to the virtual decision-making table on the chain. By doing this and encouraging my team to do so as well, we’re able to make faster decisions and spare email inboxes, thus saving significant time and energy.”

–Gabriele Columbo, director of FINOS

10.  Get out of bed immediately after waking

“In the words of one of my favorite authors Napoleon Hill, ‘The way to success is the way to action, based upon organized thinking followed by action, action, action.'”

–Daniel Sloan, cofounder and SVP of BlockchainSaw

11. Be prepared

“Prepare, prepare and prepare – that’s the only way to improvise and adapt when the situation calls for it.”

–Adolfo Hernandez, CEO of SDL

12. Plan ahead and leave time to unwind

“Prepping is crucial before another busy day begins. I like to look at my calendar the night before to see what my schedule looks like. I’ve found that, if I prepare myself even a little bit, I’m already a step ahead and can mentally prepare myself for what the day holds.”

–Amy LeBold, successful at AdRoll Group

13. Invest in yourself

“No matter how plugged in I am on a daily basis, it’s factored into my schedule to spend time on bettering myself. Ultimately, investing in myself allows me to invest in those around me, which is the real key to success.”

–Keith Eadie, GM of Adobe Advertising Cloud

14. Run

“No matter where I am, or what weather conditions I may be in, I’ll make sure to tie up my running shoes and take a successful quick-paced 10K run before I begin my day. Doing so lets me clear my mind so that I’m fully prepared to handle the challenges that may be waiting for me.”

–Taj Manku, CEO of Cognitive Systems

15. Do something new

“One of my most important daily habits is making sure I don’t fall into habits but rather, doing something different or out of the ordinary every day. For me, this often means going somewhere new, because you never know what could inspire your next great idea. Whether it’s something small like taking a detour to work or trying out a new lunch venue. It even allows me to meet new people, discover hidden gems in every city I visit and educate myself on cultures and lifestyles that differ greatly from my own.”

–Gary Morrison, CEO of Hostelworld

16. Learn something to be successful

“Every day I try to read something that’s interesting, in-depth and totally outside of the domain that I spend the rest of the day thinking about. This is usually a long magazine article or detailed blog post. Thinking about different areas and taking a break from thinking about work topics are important ingredients for creative problem solving.”

–Zach Brock, CEO of Common Networks

17. Make a list every day

“Making a daily to-do list helps me keep my busy professional and personal life under control. Doing this gives me the peace of mind to focus on the task at hand without worrying that I’m forgetting something. Creating a list daily is the secret to pulling this off.”

–Heather Sittig, CEO of Relola

18. Nurture your successful network

“I carve out a bit of time to nurture my network – everything from making mutually beneficial introductions to suggesting candidates for open roles or quick notes of congratulations on promotions or new roles.”

–Kelly Leach, COO at Blurb

19. Limit screen time at work and home

“We all spend more time than we anticipate on redundant, menial activities at work plugging numbers into spreadsheets to sorting through emails. Cutting out menial tasks has left me more fulfilled, empowered and productive.”

–Simon Shah, successful CMO at Redwood Software

20. Take good notes

“Note-taking, a habit I developed early on in my career after seeing other great leaders doing it, has been critical in gathering essential information, determining follow-up and establishing a steady cadence across my teams. Additionally, I utilize daily check-ins with different team members throughout the week, which has allowed me to be a better listener and support system while continuously learning more about different areas of the business..”

–Casey Ryan, president and CEO of Coolpad

21. Have a disciplined meeting schedule, stay in touch and adapt to people

“I travel a lot, but even with a busy schedule it’s important to stay in touch with teams. I have a very disciplined meeting schedule that I always try and stick to. If I absolutely must cancel, I’ll reschedule the meeting for the same week. Having this disciplined schedule also helps to maintain relationships, which is one of my top successful priorities.”

–Michael Morton, CTO of Dell Boomi

22. Tackle the biggest challenges first

“My top two successful daily habits for success include tackling the biggest challenges first and maintaining flexibility in my schedule. I like to make a list of the biggest or most daunting tasks I have at hand first, and try to address those issues before jumping into my daily routine. This enables me to ensure that my top priorities are driving the use of my time.”

–Neil Araujo, CEO of iManage

23. Always backup your data

“Store everything digitally in the cloud and backup your data. By storing all your documents in the cloud you can easily access your necessary files for work from anywhere and almost any device, and prevent loosing them.”

–Oscar Carlsson, CIO at Cint

24. Be open to diverse feedback

“Incorporating feedback from a diverse group of people allows for an successful organization to see a situation from all vantage points and build better solutions.”

–Maria Pousa, CMO of Integral Ad Science

25. Pay attention to your creative peaks

“I wake up at 5 a.m. every morning and clear all my emails before I leave the house. When I arrive at work I spend the first hour thinking creatively and not touching my computer. This allows me to focus on innovation without distraction.”

–Alan Booth, CEO of Cryptopia

26. Discipline your mind and body to be a more effective leader

“Strong discipline results in better leadership, teamwork, and commitment. My daily habits for success are simple. It’s important for me to mentor others in life, business, and health.”

–Reza Kazemipour, CRO at Health

27. Communicate

“Sharing successful challenges especially is important. It calibrates and anchors against those times when you tell people that performance is going very well. It helps establish that you’re honest.”

–Todd Krizelman, CEO of MediaRadar

28. Prepare yourself mentally and give your brain periodic breaks

“I start my day envisioning my priorities to prepare myself for meetings and challenges that I’ll face during the day. I also make sure to take daily breaks to refresh ideas.”

–Alessandro Gil, chief experience officer of VTEX

29. Draw inspiration from your passions and apply it to your professional life

Film is a creative medium that is well-positioned to elicit emotion, and I like to apply the same principle to things I design and software I develop. You may not be passionate about film or tech, but it’s important to identify aspects of things you are interested in and view it from a professional lens.”

–Nour Addine Ayyoub, CEO of ZaiLab

30. Hire to a skill set rather than a job description

“When recruiting staff – especially in an entrepreneurial environment – rather than creating a detailed job description, start with the two or three key skills that address your company’s most critical needs. Hiring to fit top priorities rather than a pre-defined role ensures that new employees add immediate value and expectations are aligned with company success. Talented professionals who may not have the title or role-specific experience of a structured job description may offer exactly the essentials that your growing organization needs to flourish.”

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