Ever since that geeky blog chain letter (I hate the term: meme) on five things you don’t know about me, I’ve been graciously avoiding the subsequent variations of it. But I just got tagged by Linda Buquet for one that looks interesting.
Linda posted “Daily Success Habits – What are YOURS???” after being tagged by Teli Adlam of Destination Success.
Anyhow, the purpose of this chain letter is to list things we do on a daily basis to become or remain successful at what we do. So here we go…
For better or worse, my day is guided and prompted by Microsoft Outlook. I structure out my schedule in advance and accomplish things when I’ve scheduled them. I read the book Getting Things Done last year, and it was really helpful for incorporating efficiencies into my day.
I keep precise hours during the day: 8 AM to 6 PM EST. I close down Trillian and start hanging out with my family at 6 PM. The hard stop helps me to be as productive as I can, plus lends a degree of sanity to my day – knowing that I can walk away from problems and into smiles at a fixed time. Realistically, my work day is almost always longer than ten hours. So I catch up at night after my wife and kids are asleep. At that point, it’s just me, my dog and a bunch of quiet. Some of my most productive time.
When the phone rings, I pick it up. As e-mail arrives in my inbox, I try to answer it right away – whether it’s 2 PM or 2 AM. I think of each and every contact as a networking opportunity, and cringe at the though of lost opportunities.
I make it a point to get outside for a half hour a day or more. Sometimes it’s a walk with the dog, shooting some hoops or whatever. When the weather is nasty, I’ll go to the gym. Aside from working towards a healthy heart, it is great time to clear my head and brainstorm. Some of my best ideas come to me when I’m blasting music and getting fresh air. The inspiration comes from all sorts of places, and often times, I get ideas that likely wouldn’t have developed in my office, because they were triggered by things I heard or saw outside my office.
I often hear from people that they don’t have time to read blogs, participate in forums, and generally keep up with the industry. There are tons of things that I theoretically don’t have time to do. That’s why I make time and run my day as efficiently as possible. I parcel my day into periods where I endeavor to accomplish certain things. For instance, I try to spend the first hour or so catching up on e-mail and news, schedule calls for the middle of the day so I can act on things that come from the calls, and dedicate the last hour of the day to trimming down my inbox and finishing projects.
BUCK STOPS HERE
I strive to emulate the success of leaders I admire. I’m really into biographies of people who have made a difference, and I like to pick up nuances about their character in these books. One practice from both Ronald Reagan and Rudy Giuliani that I liked was that they stated their succinct method of operating in a small plaque on their desk. Ronald Reagan had one in the White house that read, “It CAN Be Done.” And Rudy Giuliani had one on his desk in New York’s City Hall that read, “I’m Responsible.” Each day, I work by those tenets.
CLEAR THE CLUTTER
I know some people keep hundreds of messages in their inbox. That freaks me out. I never like to have more than ten messages in the inbox. I consider those to be my hot action items that need to be handled in the short term. I follow the same method on my desk. When snail mail or other stuff makes it to my inbox, I file it or leave it there for action in the near term. The last thing I need is unnecessary clutter in my inbox or on my desk – it only serves to delay me in processing the important things. I also like to have 2-3 computers running at any given time. So for instance if I am creating a video on one, it won’t drain the resources of another one, and I can quickly go back and forth on projects. In the past, slow computers were a big source of clutter for me, and I’m determined to never allow that to happen again.
So now on to the folks who I am tagging with this chain letter to keep it going…