Successful Daily Habits for Executives

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Successful Daily Habits for Executives

5 Tips to build your own Executive Success Program.

We asked our President, Preston Smith, what he believes are the top successful daily habits of a successful executive. An executive success program to follow if you will. Whether your are an Executive during a Job transition or long time asset of the company, Smith explains the most valuable habits that lead to a productive day.

Motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar asks this question, “Have you noticed that you accomplish about twice as much as normal on the day before you leave for vacation?”  Why is that?  These habits will help you be productive on a daily-basis as you are capable of doing – and have done – on those days before you take time off.

1. Personal Goals

Set personal and professional goals (both long term and short term). Write down the things you need to do to accomplish those goals each day and then (importantly) prioritize the importance of them.  And then, periodically – but regularly – pause (even if for a whole day each quarter) to assess whether these are still the goals, and if so, what progress has been made, what mistakes have been made and what you learned from both.  Do not be afraid to fail – as learning and success cannot be achieved without it.

2. Focus on the Essentials

Avoid burnout by compartmentalizing and focusing on what is essential to your goal achievement and when you are resting or vacationing, allow yourself to unplug. In focusing on the essentials, separate the urgent tasks from the important ones and make sure you accomplish the important ones first.  Build an effective executive success program based on the premise that you cannot do everything that you – or others – want you to do.  Do not consider that failure and do not allow it to affect your capacity for success.

3. Perfect vs Good

Be excellent in your work – but do not allow the “perfect” to become the enemy of the “good.”

4. Be a Completionist not a Multi Tasker

A good piece for any executive success program is to structure your day and manage your time by avoiding the daily “vortex” that sucks you into tasks, conversations, meetings etc. that limit your ability to achieve your goals. To do that, control the schedule (the “clock”) rather than allowing the schedule to control you.  Interruptions are one of the biggest challenges to your productivity.  Researchers at UC Irvine concluded that the average office worker is interrupted on average every three minutes and 5 seconds and it can take 23 minutes and 15 seconds to regain focus.  Operationalizing this principle will require that you learn to politely say “No” to many things that other people want you to do (especially on their timetable) and scheduling time to focus intently on your high priority tasks.  If you can just pick up an hour a day avoiding small 2-5-minute conversations that do not advance your goals (like you do the day before vacation), you will add six weeks of work time to your year.  And, when you attack the day you have structured, if possible, try to accomplish first the things you most dislike  Set specific time(s) aside during the day to check email, handle impromptu meeting requests and return phone calls rather than allowing them to interrupt your planned work flow.  Your belief that you are multi-tasking is hurting your productivity rather than helping it. A good executive success program will push you to be a “completionist” rather than a multi-tasker.  And, if necessary close your office door or ask your colleagues to understand your need to handle issues that arise during the day on a scheduled basis, if possible.

5. Turn off the Alerts

Try to avoid stacking meetings back-to-back without any break to allow you to regroup and focus. When in meetings, do not check your phone or answer calls.  In fact, today’s phones are deceptive in their ability to kill productivity with email, voicemail, texts, IM, social media alerts, news notifications, etc.  So, if possible, turn off the alerts and notifications and even place the phone on do not disturb during the times when you are working so that you can schedule 2-3 times per day to check it without it negatively affecting your work.

If you train yourself to regularly focus on these habits, you will be amazed to find that every day can be as productive and successful as that day before you take vacation!