7 Daily Habits of the Most Successful and Productive Leaders

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Sprinkle these habits into your day to supercharge your success

Success in business requires hard work, persistence, self-confidence, and kindness, among many other ingredients. But it can be hard to ensure your own success when you have so much to do.

Entrepreneurs know that in a given workday there’s a never-ending to-do list and a million things that will require their attention.

So how do you remain at the peak of your productivity and ensure your own success? By putting the following success secrets into daily practice:

Reflection

Oprah Winfrey meditates twice a day for 20 minutes, because she finds that meditation grounds her and gives her an optimistic outlook.

“I walk[ed] away feeling fuller than when I’d come in. Full of hope, a sense of contentment, and deep joy,” she said after meditating for the first time. “Knowing for sure that even in the daily craziness that bombards us from every direction, there is–still–the constancy of stillness.”

Even if you don’t want to meditate, you should try to incorporate Oprah’s mindset. Take a few minutes during the day to reflect on the great things you’re doing, and recalibrate your sense of joy. I do this by walking to work, and you can find a way to incorporate it in your schedule too.

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Delegate

The best piece of advice that Katherine Power, CEO and Co-Founder of Clique Media Group, ever received was: “Only do what only you can do.”

This seems mind-numbingly obvious, but she still has a great point. Wanting to take on everything is a great attitude, but we all know that there are only so many hours in a day.

Successful people make a daily habit of only working on the things they do best–their Genius Zone–and passing the torch to their team for the rest.

As an added bonus, Power points out that delegating also evokes confidence in your staff and shows you’re treating them with respect. So don’t be afraid to have others do your routine tasks. It lets you focus on the most important and critical needs, and uses your brain power more effectively.

Check it off

If you haven’t already, start making a list and checking it twice; just like Santa.

Because every time you do make that check mark when you complete a task, you release feel-good chemicals called dopamine that increase your health and happiness. It’s also a great way to boost productivity by making sure nothing gets left behind.

Get away from it all

While it’s great to have laser-focus and a G.S.D. (get stuff done) attitude; it’s impossible to maintain this the entire day, no matter how hard you try.

That’s why several leaders said that daily distraction is an important part of their productivity and creativity. Rachel Sklar, co-founder of The Li.st and Change the Ratio, said one of her best ideas came to her while walking through her Manhattan neighborhood. She gains inspiration frequently while walking, running or showering. Similarly, Project 11 founder Katie Ray said she has to be on the move for her brain to be at its best. She takes a tape recorder to track her thoughts while running, bike riding, or driving, often doing one of these activities for hours on end.

You can do the same–run, walk, swim; whatever lets your mind run free for a few minutes a day. It will be well worth it.

Share the credit

Effective leaders look to solve problems, not just find them. They are also quick to assign credit to others and give praise, which is something a lot of people let fall to the wayside.

“A great boss gives credit to everyone else when things are going well,” Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg said.

During a busy day, it’s easy to only make time for criticism when an employee is doing something wrong or needs correcting. So if you haven’t already, you should make a daily habit of pointing out what your employees are doing right. My employees are beyond grateful when I do this, and yours will be too.

Harness your mood

You probably won’t be a hit at a party if you show up really angry. The same goes for your work too – when you’re in a lousy mood, it’s tough to put your nose to the grindstone and produce innovative work.

Often, when we have difficulty solving a problem, our reaction is to get angry and try to harness that anger to tackle it. But that might not be the best solution. Remember, work isn’t like an action movie where we get angry and get revenge on every project that’s wronged us.

Studies show that happiness leads to increased productivity, while anger produces the opposite effect. So make a habit of taking a break, “playing”, or doing whatever makes you happy, and then coming back to take on your work.

Persevere

We’re all going to encounter setbacks during the day, and it’s easy to get discouraged and let these harm our self-confidence.

That’s why many leaders say that the best thing to do every day when you’re knocked down is to get back up on your feet right away.

“Try not to be discouraged if your first attempt at wedging your foot in the door fails,” said Julie Carson, founder and editor-in-chief of Remodelista. “I’ve been amazed at how often jobs and opportunities have come through even [when] an initial interview didn’t work out… [K]eep pounding on the doors until they open.”

Out of all the habits, persevering is the most important. If you keep surging forward, no matter what, you can find success in even your worst days.

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