Ever wonder what sets apart those people who achieve the most in life? What are they doing differently from everyone else? Check out these quotes from 15 business leaders about the daily habits that help them be more successful.
1. Trust the people you’ve hired.
“I am more into energy management than time management. I use my mornings to think and work on strategic issues and the late afternoons for meetings and client-building. I delegate, let go, and trust in the talent I hired.”
—Joy Ajlouny, co-founder of shipper app Fetchr, which delivers packages for more than 180 e-commerce companies across the Middle East. The company recently secured $11 million in Series A funding.
2. Keep track of small tasks.
“When little tasks pop up, I add them to a task list so that I don’t lose track of them. If they sit on the list for more than a few days, I migrate them to our project-management system.”
–Jeff Braverman, CEO of snack and candy store Nuts.com, which has grown revenue to $35 million, up from $1.5 million in 2002.
3. Block time for email.
“Set aside a 20- to 30-minute chunk of time two or three times a day for email. Do not check continually through the day.”
—Doug Camplejohn, CEO of predictive lead marketing company FlipTop, which serves customers including Intuit, Kissmetrics, and NewVoiceMedia.
4. Update your to-do list every night.
“At times, creating a completely new list of jobs to tackle within the next few days is even better. On many occasions, I wake up in the middle of the night to add to that list, as I email myself reminders to be read in the morning. It gives me peace of mind to instantly jot down those thoughts before other matters come to mind as interruptions.”
—Aymara Del Aguila, CEO of SportsManias, a sports news website with more than 2.5 million unique visitors per month.
5. Take customer service calls.
“There’s no better way to truly understand the pulse of your business than by speaking with customers on a regular basis. While our customers may be surprised to hear the CEO answering the phones, we think that doing so has enabled us to be successful and ensure we are clearly meeting the needs and expectations of our customers–and doing whatever is possible to exceed them!”
–Scott and Missy Tannen, founders of Boll & Branch, a New York City-based company with a line of accessibly priced luxury bed linens that launched in January 2014 with first-year revenue topping $2 million and a greater than $10 million run rate in its second year in business.
6. Prioritize according to the bottom line.
“My priorities and goals are based on things that make an impact on the bottom line for our employees and customers. If it doesn’t directly influence these two groups, it gets put on my ‘idea list’ to be looked at in the future.”
–Tim Eisenhauer, president of San Diego software provider Axero Solutions, a profitable bootstrapped company going head to head with huge venture-backed competitors.
7. Make time to read books unrelated to your business.
“There is never enough time to complete all of the work-related tasks required of a CEO. When we have a few extra moments not consumed by clearing emails and making calls, it is tempting to read the latest Peter Thiel or Elon Musk book to tune-up our game. Instead, I try to make time to read fiction, history, even non-fiction with no direct relation to my business. I find that the ability to synthesize ideas and patterns from various realms helps me break out of strategic ruts, to understand people and situations better and to be a more interesting part of my community.”
–James Roche, CEO of Houseplans.com, a San Francisco-based stock home design site that has grown 25 percent year over year.
8. Exercise consistently.
“My stress level and clarity comes from daily work outs. I am actively training and competing in running, cycling, and swimming. These races range from half marathons, 50-mile rides, and triathlons. Even as I travel to different cities, it is good to get to know the locations via a five-mile run.”
–Kris Snyder, CEO of Vox Mobile, a Cleveland-based enterprise mobility solution provider with annual growth that trends above 30 percent, a recent funding round closing at $6.7 million, and consistent inclusion in Gartner’s MMS Magic Quadrant. Snyder is also the founder of the Global Enterprise Mobility Alliance (GEMA).
9. Leave the middle of the day free.
“My role requires me to be constantly speaking to people, but it also requires me to be preparing for meetings and working with my team to ensure the highest quality product is created. To help keep myself and others productive, we structure our meetings before 11 and after 4 each day. Leaving a solid five hours to focus on deliverables, eliminating the constant start and stopping that midday meetings can cause.”
–Alex Matjanec, CEO of MyBankTracker, a Brooklyn-based personal finance and banking hub, which helps more than 1.5 million visitors a month make smarter banking decisions.
10. Before going to sleep think about what you want to accomplish the next day.
“Every night I create a mental to-do list for the next day and compare that with how I’ve crossed off today’s to-do list. This way, I make progress, measure how I’m doing every day, and ensure that every day starts with a clear purpose.”
–William Hsu, co-managing partner of Los Angeles-based VC Mucker Capital, which was ranked as the No. 2 accelerator in the U.S. by Seed Accelerators Ranking, a joint study by MIT and Rice University.
11. Hold a companywide “Friday Forum” every few weeks.
“The heads of each department highlight successes and acknowledge team members who contributed to those wins. Not only do these meetings build awareness about current initiatives, but also the format keeps our collective attitude positive and forward-looking. There is also feedback loop, as we allow any employee to submit questions they would like answered in the next Friday Forum.”
–Alex Muller, CEO of GPShopper, a developer of mobile apps with a focus on the retail industry and annual revenue growth of 50 to 70 percent.
12. Stay positive.
“Numerous things can go wrong in a day, but it is important to stay focused on the future and how you are going to move the company forward. Don’t focus on the small bumps in the road. Staying positive is key.”
–Jayna Cooke, CEO of EVENTup, an online marketplace for event venues that has listed more than 15,000 venues and attracts more than one million consumers a month.
13. Improve your storytelling.
“Helping employees, clients, investors, journalists, and analysts understand what we do and why it’s important comes down to telling a story. I work on improving and presenting our story constantly.”
–Apu Gupta, CEO of Curalate, a platform for marketing with images that works with 650 brands, reaching millions of consumers a day.
14. Look at your weekly calendar on Sunday.
“I block out ‘my time’ or ‘strategic time’ to reserve my own schedule for bigger picture things. If I don’t prioritize time to think about where we’re headed as a company, I’d end up attending meetings all day every day and make little personal or business progress.”
–Kris Duggan, CEO of BetterWorks, an employee-related goals platform that recently closed a $15.5 million Series A round and is more than doubling active users every quarter.
15. Drink kefir.
“Yes, I am the CEO of the company my family founded; however, the science is finally starting to catch up with what my parents always told me. Kefir makes you feel better. Literally. Some of the latest research shows that probiotics–the magical good bacteria found in our kefir–also helps reduce stress and anxiety. This is new science we never knew about. For centuries we’ve known kefir helps build a strong immune and digestive system but now we know it supports positive mental health, as well. For stressed-out, overworked, overtired entrepreneurs, it’s an easy habit to make a daily routine. I’ve had a glass of kefir every day for as long as I can remember and it’s helped me balance that busy schedule without getting sick, navigate after the loss of my father, lead during the recession while also growing my family and countless other stressful times.”