For many of us, our lives seem poles apart from the world’s most successful people. Indeed, many successful people make it look easy and always appear to have their acts together, whilst we are just struggling along trying to get through each day. So why is this; are they just luckier than us, more intelligent or did they simply have more money and make smarter decisions?
Well the one thing we do know is that there isn’t one single winning formula. There are however a number of habits and behaviours that the most successful share and have in common. So let’s take a look at a list of 5 daily habits the most successful people have in common and see if we can incorporate them into our own routines.
They get up early
The most successful people rise early, often at least three hours before their workday actually starts. Many of them use the free time to tackle personal projects, plan their day or make time for exercise. Notable early risers include Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Group, Disney CEO Robert Iger and Yahoo’s former CEO Marissa Mayer.
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, is even said to start the day at 4am, sending emails first thing, before hitting the gym at 5am. The most successful see the importance of getting a head start on the day, allowing them to create momentum and cross off some tasks before the sun even comes up.
Waking up early isn’t an easy habit to cultivate though. One technique is to start setting your alarm back 15 minutes each week. A month later, you’ll have an extra hour of your day to play with.
If however you still find it hard, try some or all of the following:
Use an alarm clock app which helps your sleep cycle and can’t be ignored.
Don’t hit the snooze button, which can actually make you feel worse.
An hour before bed you should have no light, including screens. Light affects the production of the sleep inducing hormone.
To stop your mind wondering when you’re trying to sleep, try to make a plan of action list for the next day.They exercise
Daily exercise is key for many successful people, as is making it a priority. Not only does it keep the body in good physical condition, it can help with stress, productivity and creativity, as well as giving you some “me time”.
US Vogue’s Anna Wintour plays an hour of tennis in the morning and Howard Shultz former CEO of Starbucks goes on a bike ride with his wife each morning. Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter goes for a jog each day at 5.30am. Even former US President Obama has a daily workout routine.
If exercise really isn’t for you, then at least get up and away from your desk regularly when at work. Although Richard Branson says that his morning routine of waking up at 5am to play tennis or bike doubled his productivity, he also recommends getting away from your desk to spark creativity.
They read - a lot
Education and self-improvement through reading is a common trait of the most successful. Renowned investor and billionaire Warren Buffet has said that reading has been the most crucial habit he's developed. Microsoft’s Bill Gates reads for an hour before bed and it’s no surprise that Oprah Winfrey and J.K Rowling are voracious readers.
Interestingly, most do not read for entertainment, preferring biographies and history and self-help books. They believe that reading helps you learn from the mistakes and successes of others.
They get enough sleep
The most successful people believe that getting enough sleep is critical to success and a lack of sleep has an effect on memory function and creative thinking.
Albert Einstein reportedly preferred to get at least ten hours of sleep a night. American transcendentalist thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson was well ahead of the game when he said “Finish each day before you begin the next, and interpose a solid wall of sleep between the two.”
Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg spent many years thinking that the best way to cross more things off her to-do list was to simply add more hours to the day by sleeping less. However, becoming a mother helped her realise that sleep is far more valuable than she previously thought, and the tech executive now makes an effort to sleep seven to eight hours each night.
They believe in quiet time
The most successful take the time to process all that is going on in their lives, often in the morning. Associated with stress reduction, they will make time to reflect on their career, health and personal relationships. Life can get pretty hectic, so reclaiming just 20 minutes of each day to focus on your breathing and quietening your mind can help you clear your muddled thoughts, alleviate anxiety, pain and even depression and help you find direction if you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed.
When at the height of his physical career Arnold Schwarzenegger practiced transcendental meditation. Jack Dorsey CEO and co-founder of Twitter and Oprah Winfrey are also big fans of practicing daily meditation.
Whatever habits you choose to pursue, there is no one formula that works for all. What is important is that you recognise where you have need for change, and following the example of others who have proven what works is the best step forward.