I have ongoing success, not just one-hit wonders, on the brain. My recent Forbes posts have been book reviews of Larry Weidel’s Serial Winner: 5 Actions To Create Your Cycle of Success and Robert Kaplan’s What You Really Need To Lead: The Power of Thinking and Acting Like an Owner. Both books cover repeat, continual high performance, and each shares valuable insights. For myself, I work best when I do small but productive actions regularly, rather than bigger but more sporadic bursts of activity. Here are my favorite daily habits that set me up for success:
Meditation: I’m an analytical, left-brain type so I need to discipline myself to quiet my mind. I came to meditation late but I do credit it with a range of things from breakthrough business ideas to even weight loss.
What is something unconventional (at least for you) that you can try?
Water: Drinking water throughout the day helps me concentrate better. Maybe I’m less hungry and therefore less grumpy when I drink more. I’m unsure why it works, but it does help me with thinking and creative tasks, like writing.
What is a healthy trigger that refreshes you?
Power hours: Mine happen to be the first 2-3 hours in the morning. I get more done before 8:00 a.m. than I do for most of the rest of the day. When I’m most productive, I spend that time on a key project or writing. Where I get myself into trouble is when I lapse into checking email or doing other busywork. It throws me off for the rest of the day.
What are your power hours? What should you reserve for that time?
Slower hours: By mid-afternoon I’m in a slump, and by evening I’m spent. I try to schedule meetings for the slump time because I can draft on the energy of the others. I never try to create or problem solve in the evenings because I know I’m not 100%. What are your slower hours? What can you do during that time that matches the energy and focus you have to give?
Timed work: I use an online countdown timer that I set for 25 or 50 minutes depending on how frequently I feel like I need to take a short break. The timer keeps me from jumping around too much (checking email in between writing paragraphs, for example). It also keeps me from getting too mired in one task too long.
By now, I know how long a blog post takes or a coaching consultation or most of my regular activities. I can plan for 25- to 50-minute blocks, and schedule my day to have enough uninterrupted work time but also variety. What triggers can you use to better pace yourself and distribute your work throughout the day?
I don’t always follow my own routines, and then I am not as productive that day. But if I can manage to stick to most of these, I often find I have more than enough time to work and rest.
What daily habits work for you?