Ask any successful business person about the secret of their success, and each one will likely give you a different answer.
The reason is there is no definitive formula for business success. If there was, everyone would be doing it.
However, there is one thing that many of the world’s top business people agree is a foundation for success – a structured daily routine.
These daily habits enable them to be more productive, while also maintaining balance in their lives.
So what do these daily behaviours look like and how can you use them to boost your productivity? Here’s a peek into the everyday routines of the world’s most successful people.
1. Wake up before 6am
Waking up early is key to a productive day – and might just be the secret to success, according to acclaimed author Laura Vanderkam, who writes about time management and productivity.
She has studied the routines of highly successful people and found that 90 per cent wake up before 6am on weekdays – which allows them to take control of their day before it begins by tackling personal projects, planning their day, or making time for exercise.
Richard Branson is an earlybird, claiming that waking up at 5am to play tennis or cycle doubles his productivity during the day.
2. Never stop reading
Three highly successful people – Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett – are known to read for many hours each day. In fact, Warren Buffett says that reading has been the most crucial habit he’s developed.
Educational books are key to these success stories – a recent survey found that only 11 per cent of successful people read for entertainment purposes – the majority, 85 per cent, read two books a month for learning or educational purposes.
3. Focus on your values
Successful people design their lives around what they care about and prioritise their values and principles, according to Forbes.
“If what you value is health, you should be incorporating an exercise routine and healthy meal into your AM schedule,” they say.
“If what you value is family, you should be taking a few minutes to have breakfast with your kids before you leave.
“If what you value is productivity, you should wake up and tackle the first tasks of the day before anything else.”
4. Get out of the office at lunch
Evan Williams, the founder of some of the world’s most high profile companies – Twitter, Blogger and Medium – leaves the office in the middle of the day to head to the gym.
“My focus is usually great first thing in the morning, so going to the gym first is a trade off of very productive time. Instead, I’ve started going mid-morning or late afternoon (especially on days I work late),” he says.
Williams claims going to the gym in the middle of the day provides him with higher energy and focus across the board.
But it’s not just Williams’ that has uncovered the benefits of a long lunch break – in a 2013 study, researchers from the University of Sussex found that workers who left the office to have lunch were much happier on their return than those who ate lunch at their desk or at an on-site café, who recorded a drop in happiness after lunch.
5. Leave work at the same time each day
A highly structured routine is how successful people are able to achieve everything they do, as well as have time for family.
Intel founder and former CEO, Andy Grove, always left the office at 6:30pm every day.
“My day ends when I’m tired and ready to go home… There is always more to be done, more that should be done, always more that can be done,” he says.
Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg leaves the office at 5.30pm every day.
‘I walk out of this office every day at 5.30pm so I’m home for dinner with my kids at 6,’ she said in a 2012 Makers interview.
After her children are in bed, she’ll spend time responding to emails.
6. Tie-off loose ends in the evening
Like Sheryl Sandberg, during his time as President, Barack Obama shared evening meals with his family – and then returned to work, sometimes staying as late as 10pm.
After his family went to bed, Obama often tied off loose ends left over from the day, including leafing through a binder of documents his staff asked him to review each evening.
Having this time alone at night gave him time to catch up on work and get ready for the following day.
7. “Sleep your way to the top”
That’s the advice from Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post.
She advocates sleeping eight hours a night, as well as banning all electronics from the bedroom.
Other sleep devotees include Bill Gates, who liked to sleep for seven hours a night as well as read before bed.
89 per cent of self-made millionaires sleep seven or eight hours each night or more, to enhance their creativity, ingenuity, confidence, leadership, and decision-making ability.
Whether you choose to implement any of these strategies or not, embedding the latest technologies into your daily routine is a great way to save you time and increase your productivity each day, giving you more time to focus on the things, and people, you love.
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