8 Habits That Can Only Improve Your Life
We often focus only on learning skills that are directly pertinent to our job during the busy workweek.
Wealthy and successful people, on the other hand, know that there are some other skills outside of their job description that can also immensely improve their wealth and their life. They may not seem earth shattering at first glance, but you’ll be surprised at just how much they can affect your day.
Start off by implementing one or two of these skills into your daily routine, and you’ll start to notice a massive difference in your success:
1. Scheduling Around Your Energy
With social media screaming at us from our phones, tablets, and laptops all day, it’s difficult to filter out the noise and actually achieve what we’ve set out to do. In fact, CNBC columnist Mark Fahey estimates that since Facebook launched 12 years ago, it has cost the US economy as much as $3.5 trillion in productivity.
Rather than trying to avoid distractions completely, science suggests we should schedule around our energy instead. For instance, Dr. Travis Bradberry suggests doing around 50 minutes of work followed by around 15 minutes of rest. Even if you don’t want to follow his schedule, being aware of and prioritizing around your times of maximum productivity (and avoiding the infamous afternoon slump) is a vital skill to learn.
2. Looking Successful
Yes, I’m aware that you’re looking for success in business, not at a fashion show. But numerous studies show that how you dress affects everything, from your ability to be creative to how people perceive you in the office. So even if everyone else is dressed like a slob, you should turn dressing for success into a daily routine.
Beyond what you wear, simply looking like you know what you’re doing is a skill that’s well worth the effort. Famous Harvard Psychologist Amy Cuddy found that everything from how much you slouch to how you pose affects your self-confidence, and how the world perceives you. As she brilliantly put it, “don’t fake it ’til you make it, fake it ’til you become.”
3. Getting Started Early
Yep, it’s true that almost every highly successful person—from Indra Nooyi to Richard Branson—tends to wake up at around 5 AM.
But aside from giving you more time to be productive, waking up earlier helps you in a number of other ways. There’s freedom in waking up on your own terms rather than being woken up by an alarm clock. And when you get up earlier, you give yourself a quiet moment to breathe and set your intention for the day.
Quite simply, to get started on the path to being exceptional, you have to start earlier than the rest of the pack.
4. Planning Everything in Advance
As Kiva co-founder Jessica Jackley says, “As all entrepreneurs know, you live and die by your ability to prioritize. You must focus on the most important, mission-critical tasks each day and night, and then share, delegate, delay, or skip the rest.”
You can take a page from President Obama, who starts tomorrow off on the right foot by making a list of his most important tasks the night before. By combining this with waking up early, you’ll have all your ducks in a row while the rest of the world is still stumbling around Starbucks.
5. Thinking of Your Time as Money
Warren Buffet once said, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”
You don’t have to turn into a stingy person, but viewing your time as money is increasingly vital as we try to fit more and more into our daily lives. With everyone clamoring to achieve the ever-evasive “work-life balance,” it’s more important than ever to learn when it’s better to delegate a task rather than do it yourself. By doing this, you won’t only stay sane, but you’ll see your wealth pile up in the process.
So don’t waste your time on administrative tasks when you could be on the phone making sales calls. You’ll earn more and enjoy the ride more by sticking to what you’re best at.
6. Setting Long and Short Goals
Both short-term and long-term goal setting is a vital skill that keeps you focused on achieving success. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, for example, recommends smaller, more frequent promotions to keep employee satisfaction high in companies.
While his employees still receive major promotions, they also have shorter-term promotions to stay motivated in between. Instead of just focusing on long-term goals (which are important!), you should get skilled at breaking them down to smaller goals to find a similar motivation.
For instance, look at your five-year plan and then create milestones leading up to that ultimate finish line. Take a break to celebrate each one, and then get back to the grind feeling refreshed.
7. Meditating and Winding Down
It might seem surprising that getting skilled at not working (or even thinking) can result in more success. But if everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Ellen DeGeneres is meditating regularly, it’s something to pay attention to. Science proves that meditation has phenomenal benefits, from improving your happiness to your social life.
Even if you don’t want to chant “om,” develop the skill of turning down at the end of the day. For instance, both media mogul Arianna Huffington and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg swear by turning off their phones before bed. And research backs up this habit. According to the National Sleep Foundation, both mental alertness and light exposure contribute to wakefulness. So power down and get to sleep!
8. Eliminating ANTS
Don’t get out the bug spray just yet. Dr. Daniel Amen, author of Change Your Brain Change Your Life, claims ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) are one of the most harmful things for your brain.
Negative thoughts happen to everyone, but the worst thing you can do is let them rattle around in your brain and drag your day down. That’s why Dr. Amen recommends taking a few minutes to question these thoughts daily. So if anything’s been dragging you down, focus on learning how you can change your perspective and realize your fantastic self despite it—it’s well worth the effort.
Plus, staying optimistic also keeps you excited. And by staying optimistic and excited, your day will always be worth it.
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