computer flat lay Habits of Successful People

Do you ever have those days when you’re rushing around like crazy, yet nothing seems to get done? Yep, me too. 

Modern life is busy, and sometimes 24 hours just doesn’t stretch far enough. So how come there are people out there who seem to be churning through life, and packing more into a day than most people manage in a week?

It’s a good question, so I went out to get some answers.

I approached 16 entrepreneurs from a wide variety of backgrounds and convinced them to reveal the everyday business tips that give them that edge; and here they are – the 16 habits of successful people.

Get moving: ‘Every morning I exercise – be it a full hour of heart-hammering cardio, or just a walk with the dog. It helps me to focus, and clears my brain for the rest of the day.’

Kate Thompson, author of Secrets of the Singer Girls and Secrets of the Sewing Bee

Plan ahead: ‘Having a business plan is key to success; everybody hates doing them but they’re the backbone of your business.’

Jason Wells, Founder of Brew Café

Don’t get desk bound: ‘Your best thoughts come when your mind is allowed to wander freely; I take long baths to stimulate my creative thinking (it deeply relaxes the muscles so the mind can think more creatively).’

Deborah Mitchell, founder of Heaven Skincare

Use digital delegation: ‘Entrepreneurs are extremely busy; successful ones put their time to good use by using technology and productivity tools for the more mundane administrative tasks, such as managing the business and finances.’

Gary Turner, co-founder and UK managing director of cloud accounting software company Xero.

Sleep it off: Personally I wake up every day at 5am in order to arrive at work around 5.45am. This gives me a good head start on the day and allows me to get lots done before the phone starts ringing and emails come flooding in. These few hours before everyone else starts work are by far my most productive of the whole day.

Johnny Wallbridge, founder of Yakwax

Work towards your goals: Take one deliberate action every day towards your goals, dreams or passions. Break down the big goals or achievements into small manageable steps and actions. Ask yourself, who do I need to reach out to? What do I need to learn? Where is there a gap in my knowledge?

Kate Tojeiro, executive coach 

Do the paperwork: Every day, I tackle five pieces of paper before breakfast. These can be anything – from invoices that need sending to bills that need paying, a piece of junk mail which needs ditching, a letter from my child’s school which needs action. It gets you ahead for the day and stops the dreaded build-up of admin.

Victoria Lambert, CEO of Miss Dashwood’s Register

Switch off: The biggest thing I’ve done to boost output is remove email notifications from my computer and phone. I check my emails once an hour, and devote the entire hour beforehand to work/project advancement without constant interruption and distraction. If something is really urgent, people will pick up the phone.

Alex Ryan, Marketing Manager, Paladone Products Ltd

Don’t forget the downtime: ‘When you relax it’s easier to solve problems and come up with good ideas. Once a month we offer our staff a complimentary back, neck and shoulder massage; the wellness and motivational benefits far outweigh the cost.’

Tracey Stapleton, MD, The Spa PR Company

Mind your P’s & Q’s: Remember to say thank you.  It goes a long way.  A card, a bunch of lovely flowers or a thoughtful gift can make all the difference with a client.

Maria Boyle, director of MB Communications Ltd 

Put family first: ‘Being successful in this day and age means having balance in all areas of our lives, and structuring our days around what matters most – our families.’

Kitty Waters, Female Empowerment Entrepreneur 

Never give up: ‘Employ ‘work-arounds’ to deal with those inevitable challenges and setbacks. If you’re driving down a road and there’s tree lying across the road you don’t give up, turn off your engine and die of starvation, you find another way around. Yet when it comes to our own dreams the smallest obstacle can make people give up and turn back. Instead, find another way to work around whatever is in your way.’

Valerie Young, confidence expert & founder of Changing Course

Build meaningful relationships: Every time I meet someone I ask myself: ‘What can I learn from you, and how can I help you?’ It’s all about building networks and relationships with people, and treating people how you want to be treated.

Life coach and author of new self-help book ‘Shut The Duck Up’, Pete Cohen

Don’t stop learning: Never think you’ve learned everything there is to know. Look around at your peers and other professionals in your field (or associated ones) and see what you can learn from them. There are always new skills, new tools and ways of working that you’ll discover from others that will simplify your working life, and improve what you do.

Sarah Lee, founder of luxury travel blog LiveShareTravel and digital media group Captivate.

Learn to say ‘No’: Entrepreneurs tend to bite off more than they can chew in an effort to stay competitive; the result is often an overworked and underperforming workforce. While it can be tough to say no, the simple fact is you can never be truly productive if you take on everything that comes your way. Remember, productivity isn’t how much you’re doing, it’s how much you actually get done.

Michael Brecht, CEO of Doodle, the online tool that simplifies scheduling

Write down your goals: I map out a one-day, one-week and three-month plan to keep me on track. I’m not a morning person, so it’s crucial for me write everything down at the end of day when everything is still fresh in my mind. Then in the morning – when I’m not at full capacity – I simply follow the directions of the smarter person I was the night before!

Rebecca Weber, Journalist & Writing Coach

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  1. This is a great post, packed with super helpful tips. I especially love the bit about planning out your life in short, mid and longer term goals, and also about doing a bit of movement to clear out your head and get those creative juices flowing. And that 5 pieces of paper trick sounds like a manageable way to tame the busy beast! Thanks for rounding this up 🙂

  2. What a great list of tips! I’m going to be taking some advice from this one, I particularly like the switching email notifications off – I really ought to do that one! 🙂

  3. Excellent tips. Totally agree about needing time away and down time to re-energise and relax x
    Beth @ Twinderelmo recently posted…Butlin’s Bognor Regis ReviewMy Profile

  4. This is a great list! I’ve bookmarked it do I can come back to refresh my mind as to how I should organise my day, than know you do much #brilliantblogposts

  5. Great tips! I think I really need to get into the habit of giving myself a time to stop work. Because I freelance after my full time job sometimes I can be working really late, but I think I need to give myself some down time to myself x

  6. Great post. Some great tips to really think about #brillblogpost

  7. I love the picture! I agree with you, especially on planning in advance. To plan things lets you have everything under control and focusing on other things!
    MakeUp Fun recently posted…My Rosegal Summer WishlistMy Profile

  8. Wow – what fab tips. I love the idea about turning off e-mail alerts and checking e-mails once an hour instead. I do try to do something similar, but it’s hard! I find the best way to have a productive day is to write a list and stick to it! I have a weekly list and a daily list. And it really helps me to get things done. Eb x
    Eb Gargano recently posted…Easy Peasy Homemade Oven ChipsMy Profile

  9. Sarah Ella (Mumx3x) - June 16, 2016 reply

    Great post and very helpful! I totally agree with family first, honestly, family is the most important important thing in the world. I think planning ahead is a good one. And also knowing when to stop and having some downtime!

  10. What a lovely roundup of really useful tips. I have started exercising in the morning and noticed a great change in myself and what I am accomplishing at work and with my blog
    Anosa recently posted…5 types of summer wardrobe essentialsMy Profile

  11. Write down your goals and start moving to achieve those. Direct and inspiring lines from amazing people. To start your day by moving really helps what you can accomplish in a day.

  12. Jessica McDonnell - June 17, 2016 reply

    This is such a good post. I always believe in writing down all my tasks and making sure I exercise to relieve stress.

  13. fabulous tips! I really enjoyed reading these and will be working harder to become more successful. I am good at planning ahead!
    Angela Milnes recently posted…12 Weeks After Gastric BypassMy Profile

  14. I have turned off immediate email notifications on my phone and I’ve definitely seen the difference, and I think there’s nothing more important than building relationships and minding your manners! You’ll always be remembered for being the rude one, and you never know who people could tell, my biggest pet peeve is no manners

  15. Fantastic tips lovely! I need to start writing my goals down…..
    Mirka Moore @Fitness4Mamas recently posted…FREE Tennis Sessions to Celebrate the Great British Tennis Weekend #GBTWMy Profile

  16. Totally agree! My two favourites are after a good sleep when I am very productive and after a workout when I feel mentally focused!
    Mark B – Accountant in Hull recently posted…When is a Van not a Van?My Profile

  17. Love the one about dealing with 5 pieces of paper before breakfast. I’ve got piles of correspondence everywhere and no filing system to deal with it – other than the bin.

    • Great advice, isn’t it?! And one I haven’t quite mastered myself yet… *looks at towering pile of paperwork* 😉 x

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