6 Daily Habits of Highly Productive People

August 13, 2018

Do you wonder where so much of your time went by the end of the day? Are your smartphones, social media accounts, TV programs, and video games habitually distracting you? Maybe you find yourself getting to sleep late in the night and then waking up after most people are already at work. Whatever it is that’s interfering with your level of productivity, it might behoove you to see the daily routines that some highly successful people follow. Specifically, here are a few of the habits shared by several CEOs, a Navy SEAL, and a Navy Admiral who are on a daily mission to be as productive as possible.

1. Wake up early

In a Business Insider interview, Navy SEAL Jocko Willink encourages people to wake up early each morning. It’s a matter of priorities, he asserts, “because what are you doing at night most of the time? Most of the time at night, you’re not working on anything super productive. You’re just winding down and watching stupid YouTube videos or surfing the Internet, reading clickbait stories, right? Don’t do that. Instead, go to sleep, and then wake up early.” Jocko routinely wakes up at 4:30 a.m. so he can get a jump on the day with little-to-no distractions. Whether it’s exercising or responding to emails, early risers attest to feeling considerably more productive overall and increase their chances of fitting everything they need to accomplish into their schedule. “The more discipline you have, the more freedom that you have,” Jocko insists. Now, if 4:30 sounds too early for you, make it 5 a.m. or later. It’s estimated that 80-percent of CEOs in a Yahoo! poll reported they wake up at 5:30 a.m. or earlier.

2. Make your bed every morning

US Navy Admiral William McRaven asserts, “If you want to change the world, start by making your bed.” If this strikes you as a preposterous claim, just know McRaven has some logic to back up his belief. He says, “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day, it will give you a small sense of pride, and will encourage you to do another task–and another, and another.” And he adds that if you end up having a long, discouraging day, you can always be comforted by the fact that you’ll have a comfortable, tidy bed waiting for you come nightfall.

3. Work out one hour in the morning

Exercising bright and early both prioritizes your health and leaves you feeling refreshed. And research has shown exercise positively affects a person’s motivation, focus, and memory. In one survey, over 70 percent of business leaders indicated they routinely exercise in the morning. Some people choose to sleep in their gym clothes so they’re ready to work out first thing in the morning.

4. Be grateful

Some highly successful people make a point to focus on three things for which they feel grateful each day. Bringing to mind positive aspects of your life and writing them down takes about five to ten minutes per day but appears to reap rewards. After just two or three weeks of keeping a gratitude diary each night, research indicates people’s moods improve, they have a more optimistic outlook on life, and are more likely to help other people. Those who filled out gratitude diaries for over two months seemed to gain health benefits like improved sleep–both amount and quality. Oprah Winfrey says, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

5. Set goals for the day 

While some successful people prefer to do write a list the previous night like business executive Kenneth Chenault, others choose to do so in the morning like English business magnate Richard Branson. Whichever you prefer, make the best use of your time by clarifying exactly what you wish to accomplish rather than just winging it.

6. Set a nighttime routine between the hours of 7 to 9:00 p.m.

The last two hours of the night can have a big impact on your next day. According to BuzzFeed, you can be like Bill Gates and wind down by straightening up around the house. There’s always something that needs cleaning like doing the dishes, taking out the trash, sweeping, or dusting. This work, of course, will pay off the following morning when you wake up to clean and orderly surroundings.

Then it’s time to charge your electronics outside of the bedroom. Arianna Huffington avoids all calls, texts, or TV before checking in for the night. She makes sure her bedroom has zero screens to promote a relaxing atmosphere, and then follows this up by dimming the lights and taking a bath using essential oils, Epsom salts, relaxing music, and candles.

If you get to bed by 9 p.m., you can enjoy a good night’s sleep and then wake up refreshed–perhaps at 4:30 a.m.! After all, this is a way of life for many highly successful people to promote their productivity. Business entrepreneur Naveen Jain says, “There’s just no substitute for hard work … If you want to succeed in life, you have to be absolutely at your best.”