6 Things Successful People Do Every Day
Becoming successful isn’t rocket science. In the journey to be number one, many insurance agents mistakenly think they have to reinvent the wheel or come up with something truly unique and original to get ahead.
Your job’s greatest strength is also one of its most intimidating realities, and that is this: your time is your own to do with as you see fit.
While that grants you a lot of freedom, it also raises the stakes to staggering degrees. You can’t afford to spend your whole day trying to be unique. You need to adopt things that work and make them your own.
Recently, Inc Magazine spoke to 20 executives about what they do every day to be successful. While the entire thing is worth reading, here are 6 of our favorite suggestions.
1. Stop taking on burdens you can’t do anything about
Noelle Federico, CFO of popular stock photography site Dreamstime.com tells Inc that he removes himself from outside complaints he cannot control and recommends getting into the habit “of not accepting random complaints about people or things that don’t directly concern you or have immediate resolution.”
He continued: “Chronic, random complaining creates a negative energy that counteracts productivity. Hold people accountable for their complaints and encourage them to direct them to the places where they can get resolved. Don’t allow your office to be a dumping ground.”
This is especially true when you’re branching out and hiring extra employees. Take complaints seriously in the sense that you help the complainer find where he should be directing his energy, but don’t take it on yourself.
2. Stay informed
Staying informed of your world is important to most any profession, but the news can have direct implications on those of you in the insurance industry, so listen up!
Michael MacDonald, chairman and CEO of weight-loss program company Medifast, tells the site that it is important to “Always know what’s happening, not just in your industry but around the world.”
“Just because you operate in one industry doesn’t mean another doesn’t have an indirect impact on your business,” he adds. “It’s important to be aware of worldly events and of course, be aware of what your competitors are doing.”
It’s also important not to lose sight of the news right outside your door, which can be easy to do with the national news cycle reigning supreme. While what is happening in Washington does affect you (or will), there are decisions being made every day at the state level that have a greater impact on your business.
Make sure your news education is well-rounded.
3. Build your soundtrack daily
Elizabeth McMillan, CEO of Dictionary.com, places a lot of importance on the energy and messaging behind music, recommending that every aspiring successful person choose their “song for the day.”
“I pick a song that can play in the back of my mind, harness my energy, and give me focus for the day,” she explains. “My suggestions — for a major meeting: ‘Ready or Not’ by the Fugees; to get pumped up: ‘Lose Yourself’ by Eminem; and to focus and be productive: ‘OK Computer’ by Radiohead.”
While McMillan’s advice is good stuff, it is important to also note that you should draw a distinction between the work you’re doing and the music to which you are listening.
Most people who study the brain would recommend forgoing lyrics for music like jazz instrumental or light classical. Ultimately, it depends on the amount of focus required and whether the music will take away from that focus or help to hone it.
4. Craft an email strategy that is more helpful than hurtful
Email for any busy person is a big deal.
For starters, you probably get more than 100 messages per day, and likely, very few are worth your time and attention.
You need a strategy for keeping the important, urgent messages at the forefront of your mind.
“It’s important to have a strategy for quickly handling your email to ensure the day is not dictated by the sheer volume of it,” says Beth Gerstein, co-founder of fine jewelry company Brilliant Earth. “With every email that comes in, I make a conscious decision to either act immediately, delegate, flag for followup, or do nothing. One important consideration is for leaders not to automatically respond to emails that others should address. While challenging, this has a high payoff in making others accountable.”
Many executives hire assistants to sift through email and sift out the junk messages. If you don’t have that luxury, try to not check your email but once or twice per day, adjusting response times accordingly.
5. Make time for you
Mark Ghermezian, CEO and cofounder of mobile marketing and CRM company Appboy, has advice that may be hard to take at first, but it’s nonetheless as important you follow as anything else.
“Every day will present a new challenge, roadblock or set back which can translate into stress,” he writes. “I’m a big believer in taking time out to do what you love. For me, that’s hockey. Hitting the ice often helps me clear my head and focus.”
What does your “Me Time” look like? Is it parked on a sofa reading a good book? Playing on a tablet? Going for a long run? There aren’t 24 hours in a day so you can work every one of them away.
For the quality of that work to mean anything, you need time away to feed your soul. It’s the only way you’ll be able to keep your eyes on the goal.
6. Commute sensibly
If you aren’t blessed to be living next door to your office — insert sarcasm here — then you probably have something of a commute in getting to work each day.
Alexander Goldstein, CEO of Chicago-based tech/energy company Eligo Energy, believes your commutes should not be idle time.
“Find some podcasts or online courses that you can listen to on your way to or from the office and build up knowledge that while tangential, can help spark ideas for your business too,” he says.
If you are worried there are not enough hours in a day to do everything you need to do, then you know exactly what Goldstein is talking about and why it makes so much sense.
Search on apps like the Apple Podcast or Downcast applications for an inventory of podcasts in your area. Lynda is another great channel for broadening your education, and DuoLingo is perfect for language speakers frustrated by the barriers.
For more great advice from the top executives in the world, check out the full piece here.
Twenty executives can’t be wrong!
In reading the Inc Magazine piece, it becomes apparent that many ingredients go into making a company’s top person successful.
Part of it owes to clever productivity hacks. Part owes to experience. Part, knowledge. Part, superstition.
However you choose to tackle your day, don’t forget the two big lessons: 1) Routine works if done right; and 2) There is no set definition over which routines are acceptable and which are not.
In other words, it’s up to you to establish successful habits that you repeat day-in and day-out. Are you ready to do that?