What is it that makes someone a high achiever?
What are their daily habits, routines, and behaviors that separate them from everyone else?
If you’re on the path of self-mastery, you’ve likely asked yourself these questions. I sure have!
If we want to become successful, it makes sense to look at the routines of high-achieving individuals to understand what they are doing right – or, more so, what we are doing wrong!
Over the last few years, I’ve spent hours and hours watching interviews of the most successful people in the world. And one thing I’ve noticed is that they all emphasize the importance of the morning hours.
Every high achiever rises early and achieves so much more in the morning than most people do in a week!
So what exactly are they doing? And more importantly, what should we do to accomplish more?
1) Exercise & practice self-care
American professor Kevin Kruse undertook an extensive research study by interviewing over 200 successful people, including billionaires, Olympic athletes, and entrepreneurs.
He later compiled his findings into a best-selling book ‘15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management’.
One thing Kruse noted that came up constantly in his interviews was the importance of following a consistent morning routine.
However, what’s interesting about this is that rather than following the same routine, all high achievers developed one that worked for their unique needs and lifestyles.
While all their morning routines were different, there were indeed some similarities.
The most significant similarity was that all high achievers made time to nurture their bodies and minds in the morning.
Typical activities that came up were:
- Reading a self-improvement book or listening to a podcast
- Eating a healthy breakfast
Another similarity was that they followed their morning routine consistently, doing the same things every morning.
This allows them to tackle whatever the day has in store with a solid and resilient mind, which brings us to the next thing…
2) Master their mindset
High achievers understand the importance of starting the day with a positive mindset.
So, they take time in the morning to fortify their mind, allowing them to stay calm and resilient during stressful situations and challenges.
Successful people will do certain activities to boost their positivity and energy, such as:
- Speaking affirmations to themself in the mirror
- Practicing gratitude
- Walking in nature
Interestingly, various studies have found associations between positivity and success.
Research suggests that people with a positive mindset:
- Are more cooperative in a team
- Feel more confident and hopeful, and thus, set bigger goals
- Can navigate challenges and setbacks with a constructive outlook
- Approach problems as opportunities for growth rather than impossible obstacles
3) Review and adjust their goals
Successful people spend time each morning planning their day, reviewing their goals, and reflecting on their intentions.
They might read a personal affirmation or mission statement or set a daily intention.
The idea is to ensure they remain focused and on track, reducing the chance of distraction.
As a result, high achievers always know precisely what they are working towards and never do anything without a specific reason.
It also allows them to review their progress and adjust their goals or strategies if needed.
With their goal, intention, or priority in mind, they can create an effective daily plan where they only pursue tasks that will move them closer to their goal.
4) Achieve at least one objective
For a high achiever, one day is actually two days.
What do I mean by this?
Well, many successful people divide their day into two mini days – the morning and the afternoon.
Instead of writing a list of everything they must do throughout the day, they decide on morning and afternoon tasks, with a goal for each ‘mini day.’
Some people take this a step further, dividing their day into quarters:
- 5 – 9 am
- 9 am – 1 pm
- 2 – 7 pm
- 7 pm onwards
According to life coach Julie Leonard, dividing your day into four segments can improve your mindset as you essentially have 2 or 4 fresh starts rather than one.
So, even if you don’t achieve your first goal, the day is not a write-off, as you still have three opportunities for success.
This tactic also helps you focus on one thing rather than jumping back and forth between completely different tasks.
This helps you stay focused on the task at hand and, thus, be more productive.
Many high achievers also agree that the mornings are the best time to tackle the most demanding tasks…
5) Complete all their hardest tasks
Do you procrastinate on tasks that you find daunting or require difficult decisions?
You’re not alone. We all do this, including high achievers!
Successful people have found a way to beat procrastination and win the day.
By doing the hardest tasks first.
As Mark Twain famously said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
While you don’t have to eat any live animals, the concept is to do the one thing you feel most anxious or overwhelmed about.
Whether it’s a complex conversation with an employee or a meeting with a nightmare client, high achievers will schedule it before noon.
By getting it out of the way, they don’t dwell on it or feel stressed about it.
Making it the first thing on the agenda frees up a huge amount of mental space, allowing them to put all their focus and energy into other things.
6) Delegate a large chunk of their work
High achievers manage to get so much done because they have mastered the art of delegation.
They focus only on what they do the best, delegating everything else.
Dr John Demartini explains why delegation is so powerful…
“Anytime you do uninspiring, lower-priority actions, you will tend to procrastinate, hesitate, and frustrate. Anytime you do inspiring, high-priority actions, you will tend to be disciplined, reliable, and focused.”
Many high-achievers use the Quadrants Matrix time management tool to determine their low-priority tasks.
This involves organizing all your tasks into four categories:
- Important AND urgent tasks
- Important but not urgent tasks
- Urgent but not important tasks
- Not urgent nor important tasks
You then should try to delegate all your quadrant three tasks while eliminating as many quadrant four tasks as possible.
7) Avoid distractions
Many high achievers don’t even peek at their inboxes before noon.
Emails are one of the biggest distractions in our workday. They distract us from our most important tasks and lower our productivity.
High achievers know this, so they ban email and other distractions until the afternoon. They also don’t have notifications on their phone or laptop.
Research backs up this habit.
A study by the University of California found that it takes, on average, 23 minutes and 15 seconds to refocus on a task after getting distracted!
So imagine if you checked your inbox three times before noon – you’d lose over an hour of precious time!
8) Learn something new
Another thing all successful people have in common is an insatiable thirst for knowledge.
Although they are already highly skilled, they know that knowledge is power, so they see every day as an opportunity to improve.
That’s why, before noon, high-achievers often dedicate time to learning and personal development.
This might involve:
- Reading industry news
- Staying updated on relevant trends
- Learning a new skill that contributes to their professional growth
Not only does this increase their knowledge base, but daily learning stimulates their mind and keeps their cognition in optimum condition.
Scientific research has found that our brains love to learn.
When we learn new skills, the white matter in our brain (known as myelin) increases, and we create new neural pathways. This improves our performance by boosting our memory, creativity, and mental flexibility.
The advantage of being an early bird
One thing all high-achieving people have in common is waking up early.
Most successful people rise well before the rest of their family, giving themselves ample time to do things without any distractions.
While early morning is a beautiful time for self-care, some high achievers like to get straight to work, accomplishing many things while the rest of the world is still asleep.
Regardless of how you spend your morning, rising early will give you a significant headstart over the rest of your peers.
Science supports this, too.
For example, a 2009 study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that early birds are more proactive than night owls.
Participants who woke up early showed more willingness and ability to take action than those who slept in.
So, if you want to accomplish everything detailed above, get up earlier!
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.
Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.
With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.
Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.