When looking at individuals who are top performers in their specific field, you start to notice some common habits.
But are these habits what make them great at what they do? Or are they simply a coincidence?
We believe strongly believe the former. And because of this, we’ve put together a quick list that shares what they are.
Meditation is something that we started to see more and more high performers begin incorporating into their daily schedules a few years ago. As the list grew, we realized there was definitely something to this growing trend.
The most common kind of meditation that we see industry leaders practice is mindfulness meditation. This is typically done by focusing on only one thing while you meditate (often the breath).
The purpose behind this is to help focus and center your mind so you can block out any distractions. This is not only extremely helpful during the meditation, but it can carry over afterword as well.
Since most people at the top of their field are extremely busy, this practice allows them to quiet their mind and focus. It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of things when you’re being pulled in different directions all day long. Meditation helps them refocus and shut out the noise.
Journaling has a number of fantastic benefits and we commonly see industry leaders utilize them in a number of ways. We will go over the two most common methods here.
Morning journaling: Journaling in the morning is one of the more powerful productivity practices that we’ve observed from the very best. There are various forms of this such as the five minute journal but the main commonality across all of them is stating what you want from the day.
This is a very useful mental practice to take because it helps you set objectives for the day. Sometimes we have so many different avenues we can take with how we spend our time, that we spend it on the wrong things. A little morning journaling will ensure that this doesn’t happen.
Get Enough Sleep
This is one that everyone knows, but many don’t follow. A lot of the most productive and accomplished players in their industry put a premium on getting enough sleep.
You might read about various people who only sleep four hours per night and get a bunch done. The mistake is thinking you can function on four hours as well, if you can’t.
Everyone has an ideal amount of sleep that they need to get in order to be productive. That number is different for everyone based on a multitude of factors. Age, activity level, and genetics are the main influencers.
So if you read about someone getting four hours of sleep and you think you should as well, hold on. Let’s say you’re an athlete and you need at least seven to work effectively and let your body recover from your sport. In that situation dropping your sleep down to four hours will negatively impact the things most important to you.
Find out what your magic number is and make it a priority. It’s what the best do.
When you’re at the top of your game you’re typically pretty darn busy. You likely have a ton of work on your plate and possibly have to worry about the performance of a team you’re managing as well.
The number of tasks you could choose to work on would probably eat up the entire 24 hour day if you did them all. This is where the skill of prioritizing comes into play.
Anyone who is the best in their field knows how to get the most out of the time they spend working. They focus on the highest output tasks and systematically get them done.
To learn this skill you should always look at your workload and tie them back to your main objective. Prioritize the tasks that will make the greatest impact in the shortest period of time and knock those off first.
After that focus on tasks that are still important but will take longer to move the needle. This system will help you get more done while working the same amount of time.
These days there are an unbelievable amount of distractions available to us. Our phones are by our side all the time, and working on a computer means you’re a click away from something unproductive.
If you want to mimic the best, it’s time to get rid of all that. Doing this successfully requires some willpower and discipline, but it’ll make a massive difference in your productivity.
The first and probably easiest thing to do is to break up with your cell phone. If you can leave it in another room, do it. If that’s not an option silence it and set it down with the back facing up. This will help you ignore notifications and stay focused on the task at hand. Make a rule for yourself to check it every hour (half an hour at worst) if you want to stay updated on what’s going on, but don’t spend more than five minutes on your phone catching up.
After that it’s time to deal with the next issue, other people. If you work in an office and your coworkers are distracting you there are a couple quick things you can do to eliminate this (or at least some of it).
If you have your own office shut the door when you really want to focus. You can even put up a sign on your door that lets everyone know you’re busy and will be available in an hour or two. Your coworkers will be more likely to return later.
If you don’t have an office you’ll have to be a little more forward. Some headphones are a great way to send a “I’m busy right now” message without being rude. You’ll also want to get good a politely telling coworkers that you’re in the middle of something and you can help them out when you’re finished.
Giving yourself a break is absolutely vital if you want to stay productive and functioning at your best. It’s far too common to think that working all the time is the best path to success.
It’s actually the best path to burnout. Your career is a marathon, not a sprint.
Not only will taking breaks help you do better work in the moment, it will help you sustain a more productive pace over a long period of time.
And we’re not just talking about taking 10 minute breaks here and there. We’re also talking about vacations.
Taking vacation time is something that not enough people do (especially in the United States). For some reason there’s this flawed thinking that by staying and working more, you’ll get ahead and your employer will appreciate it.
They won’t. Take the vacation time.
The best of the best know that it’s important to refresh your mind to do good work. They also know that there’s more to life than working.
Be Ok Not Knowing Things
In the age where so many people in the workplace have college degrees, it has caused an unfortunate side effect.
No one wants to admit they don’t know things.
For years everyone has been told that they have to know everything and if they don’t it’s a mark against them. It’s the reality of how we school our children.
But it’s time to forget all that. Here’s why:
If you want to be great at what you do you’re going to be challenging yourself. You will set high goals and have to deal with failure. In this process you’re going to bump into a thousand situations where you don’t know the outcome.
And that’s totally fine.
No one has accomplished great things without being lost in the weeds and unsure of what to do. The sooner you accept this the better off you’ll be.
Industry leaders are ok saying “I don’t know” and encourage their team to do it as well. Too often people come up with nonsense theories based on the fact that they’re afraid to say they don’t know what to do.
All this does is waste time and money. Be honest, say you don’t know, and get to work solving the problem.
Now Put Them Into Practice
We hope this list of habits will help you be a little more productive and achieve more of your goals. They’ve been used successfully by many people we respect, and we’re confidence that you’ll be able to use them as well.