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8 Habits of Highly Successful People

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8 Habits of Highly Successful People

When most people think of the millionaires and billionaires of the world, they usually see them as superhuman individuals who were destined for success from the moment they were born. While successful people certainly do have natural talents that have helped them along the way, they’ve also spent their entire lives working hard for what they’ve earned. An overwhelming majority of wealthy individuals have said they practice similar habits on a daily basis, including:

1. Waking up early

You’ve probably heard Ben Franklin’s famous saying: “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

While so many of us use as much time as we can in the morning to sleep until we absolutely have to get up, successful people use the morning as a time to get things done. One survey showed that almost half of wealthy individuals within the study wake up three hours before they actually have to be to work. This gives them enough time to wash up, eat a filling breakfast, and mentally and physically prepare for the day ahead of them. Think of that the next time you spill your coffee all over yourself while speeding down the street because you woke up with ten minutes to spare (and I’m not judging; I’m guilty of it, too!).

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2. Using time wisely

Novelist Vanna Bonta once said, “There is only now. And look! How rich we are in it.”

As I just mentioned, wealthy people wake up quite early, and they don’t spend this extra time sitting around. They understand that every second that ticks by is a moment they’ll never get back, so they get in the habit of using time to their advantage. Think about all the time you waste throughout the day waiting for a bus or for water to boil for your coffee, scrolling through your Facebook, or watching sitcom reruns. It might not seem like much to take 2 minutes of your time to check your phone when it beeps, but if you do that 30 times a day (which isn’t out of the realm of possibility), well, you do the math. No matter how little time you have between tasks, there’s always enough time to be productive in some way.

3. Staying focused

Even if you don’t stop what you’re doing every time your phone buzzes, your attention will most likely be taken away from the task at hand until you do so. Successful and wealthy people eliminate distractions when they have pressing business to attend to. Why do you think CEOs have offices with locked doors and secretaries to answer their phones? They do take time to return calls and check their email, but it’s often at a set time during the day. In doing so, they don’t unintentionally divert their attention to five different things at once; they’re able to focus on one issue at a time, resolve it, and move on to the next big thing.

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4. Networking

Another saying that’s been around forever, but is sometimes overlooked, is “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”

Think of the last time you were introduced to someone new: Did meeting them change your life in any way? Did you have anything to offer them? Wealthy people surround themselves with other successful people, and constantly bounce ideas off each other. Even during leisure activities, such as a day on the golf course, successful people discuss ideas, trade business practices, and forge mutually beneficial relationships. They actively seek out others who have mutual interests, ideas, and skills in order to expand their own ideas and abilities.

5. Reading

The most successful people in the world love to read. I previously discussed how wealthy people spend their time wisely. Whenever they get a spare moment, they often use this time to read something new. And they don’t read drivel, either. Wealthy people read to learn and expand their perspective on issues. An astounding 86% of wealthy people reported they are avid readers, compared to 26% of non-wealthy people. Reading helps people stay current and informed, and because of this, successful people are able to stay on top of trends and ideas. In doing so, they are able to become the producers of “the next big thing” that is loved by the masses, and make a killing doing it.

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6. Planning their day

Successful people make a gameplan for every day of their lives. 81% of the wealthy people surveyed reported they create a to-do list either before going to bed each night, or immediately upon waking up each morning. These people also tend to overload their lists, so they don’t leave themselves with too little to do. 67% of the wealthy people who said they create to-do lists reported that they finish, on average, over 70% of the items on their list. If you’re anything like me, you feel relieved when you finally check off that last item on your list of errands so you can put your feet up for a while. On the other hand, wealthy people would rather have too much to do, and be able to spend their time improving themselves in some way, shape, or form.

7. Taking risks

Successful people love to stretch their comfort zones as much as possible. They’re not afraid to put themselves “out there,” even if they run the risk of failure. They embrace vulnerability, because they know that without taking a risk, they will never get further in life. This isn’t to say that wealthy people just haphazardly put themselves in risky situations. On the contrary, they analyze each situation they face, and calculate the chances of success for each decision they make. And they always have a “Plan B” in case things don’t go as they had hoped. By taking risks, and knowing how to handle themselves if they falter, wealthy people continue to rise up in the world.

8. Working smarter

Successful people are successful because they work smarter, not harder. They find the easiest way to go about a task while maintaining excellent performance, which in turn saves resources for other tasks. They also understand that working too hard will lead to burnout and an ineffective use of time. Wealthy people work in spurts, and then take short breaks once they notice their attention and focus weaning. By doing so, they rejuvenate their body mentally and physically, and can come back to a task refreshed and ready to work. When taking these short breaks, they let their mind wander to other possible solutions, and may come back to their workstation with a breakthrough that makes completing the task that much easier.

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Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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