Advertising

8 Habits of Highly Successful People

8 Habits of Highly Successful People
Advertising

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!).

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

More by this author

Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

8 Steps to Ensure You Accomplish Your Goals 6 Steps to Ensure You Keep Reaching For Your Goals 5 Ways to Lessen Back Pain 12 Self-Destructive Habits to Eliminate for a Positive Life 7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

Trending in Productivity

1 5 Values of an Effective Leader 2 How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them 3 The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work) 4 30 Practical Ideas to Create Your Best Morning Routine 5 Is People Management the Right Career Path for You?

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
Advertising

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

Advertising

From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

Advertising

The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

Advertising

But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

Advertising

Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Advertising

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

Read Next