There’s no one “right” path to success, and there’s a ton of variation in how successful professionals run their lives. One billionaire CEO’s time management strategies might not be practical or useful for you. (Scheduling your entire waking day in 15-minute increments just isn’t feasible for everyone!) But looking at the habits that many thriving professionals share can be a useful jumping-off point for creating the change you crave in your life. Here are five habits that successful professionals tend to share—go ahead and copy them.
They see time as their most valuable resource.
Highly successful people tend to be serious about good time management. They know exactly how long it takes to get things done, and recognize that wasting time interferes with achieving their goals. This doesn’t mean that highly successful people are constantly working—just that they tend to be intentional about how they use their time. They use schedules and routines that keep them from getting sucked into time-robbing activities.
They actively prevent burnout.
The work of running a growing business is never done, and there are always more emails to answer or phone calls to return. Successful entrepreneurs and other professionals know that burnout is a real threat when you’re always in work mode. Scheduling time off (and fiercely guarding that time) is a must for preventing burnout. For example, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has said he meditates for two hours every day. Presumably he has a lot of demands on his time and could use those two hours to work and make money—but still carves out that time for something that feeds his soul instead.
They focus on the most important tasks.
Because successful people tend to have strong time management skills, they’re often great delegators. This goes hand-in-hand with appreciating the value of time and preventing burnout. A business owner might schedule 10 hours of work time in a day, but have 14 hours worth of tasks to complete. By focusing on the high-level tasks that only they can do, and skipping or delegating the rest, they’re able to walk away from work at the end of 10 hours as scheduled knowing that the most important things got done.
They invest in themselves and their businesses.
“It takes money to make money” is really true. Successful professionals are often very careful with money management, but that doesn’t mean saving every penny they make. Money is a resource that moves a business forward. Reinvesting earnings in things like trainings, staff and new systems is a critical step for preventing stagnation and taking a business to the next level. When spending $5,000 now could generate $50,000 in sales later on, savvy business owners spend the money.
They seek out wisdom from others.
None of us is an expert in everything. Successful professionals recognize both their strengths and their blindspots, and seek out people who have expertise in areas where they themselves are weak. An attorney who’s a genius about the law might need help managing their practice more efficiently. An in-demand IT consultant might know everything about data security and network analytics but struggle with time management and need support to work more productively. The most prosperous business owners and entrepreneurs haven’t gotten to where they are by doing everything alone. They know when to ask for help.
Three Tips to Steal From Successful Professionals (and Create Better Time Management)
As you think about moving your own business forward, here are three actionable steps inspired by habits of highly successful professionals.
- Create purposeful space and time to think about your business. When you’re constantly focused on short-term goals (finish this report, call that client, prepare for that meeting), there’s no time to step back and think about the big picture. Suddenly a year has passed and your business is exactly where it was a year before. Be intentional about creating space away from the day-to-day work of running your business. This might mean scheduling a few hours every month to think about big-picture things. Or, it could mean scheduling a retreat where you can spend a few full days focusing broadly on the future of your business.
- Use the space and time you create to reflect on your goals. Not just your progress on your goals, but the goals themselves. You might get so caught up in chasing specific goals sometimes that you don’t notice they no longer align with your priorities. Reflecting helps you decide whether you’re still on track to where you want to go, or whether you need to pivot.
- Get support from people with different training in different industries from you. Actively seek out support from people who can help you think differently about your business and become more efficient. Reach out to your network, sign up for seminars and classes. Say yes to every opportunity to learn from someone who has expertise in an area where you’re weak.
Ready to invest in your business? I’m here with time management support to help you move forward.
Nothing will change for your business until you take control and create change. Start by enrolling in Time Matters Boot Camp LIVE! My three-day core productivity and time management training is designed to help busy professionals defeat the challenges that hold them back.
Join us December 2-4 for this virtual workshop! You’ll learn how to take control of your time and goals in a way that works for your brain and your life. Register by November 15th to get the Super Early Bird rate of just $297!
I know you’re busy, and it’s been a difficult year. It might feel like it’s not a great time to invest money and time in building your business. But let me ask you this. Will there ever be a “right time” if you don’t decide to make it for yourself? Are you ready to say yes to getting the support you need? If so, I hope to see you in Time Matters Boot Camp LIVE!