1. They Read Books… Made Of Actual Paper
Smart people read and they read a lot. If you want to up your intelligence levels in all aspects of life — whether it be vocab, general knowledge, or even creativity — picking up a paperback is the simplest, most effective way to stimulate your brain. A study from the University of Texas suggests that reading from a screen can slow you down from 20 to 30 percent, so do yourself a favor and stick to real, physical books. Not only are they much prettier, they allow you to pack in information at a quicker rate. Take a little time each day (before bed or even during your commute) and decompress with a good book that will both help you relax and learn.
According to an interview with The Seattle Times, Bill Gates always reads an hour per night before going to sleep, no matter what time he gets home. I don't know about you, but Gates seems to know what he's doing, so I'm willing to follow his lead.
2. They Wake Up Earlier
It might be hard to drag yourself out of bed earlier, especially when you already have an early start time, but getting a jumpstart on your day can up your productivity levels all day long. You'll be hard-pressed to find a CEO who gets up after seven in the morning. There are many studies that link early-risers with successful workers, so do your best to get to bed early and wake up early in order to get a full eight hours, while still reaping the benefits of being productive.
According to Business Insider, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer only sleeps about four hours a night, but takes a week-long vacation every three times a year to find time to unplug and stay refreshed. While you may not be able to function on less than eight hours a night, the same idea applies — make the most of the time you're awake, and don't sleep away the day.
3. They Drink Hot Water With Lemon Every Morning
Your first instinct when you crawl out of bed in the morning might be to stuff your french press with coffee. Caffeine might seem like the ultimate energy boost, but drinking water with lemon has endless benefits that coffee simply doesn't. Miranda Kerr, Lauren Conrad, and Jennifer Anniston swear by hot water with lemon because it helps your liver detox and stimulates weight loss. Other amazing perks of swapping your latte for lemon include. This can help with acne, give your immune system a boost, reduce inflammation, and even give you a jolt of energy.
4. They Do Sweat The Small Stuff
Sometimes people might tell you to chill out when you're feeling very Type A, and want every little detail ironed out — but that's hardly a flaw, it's a recipe for efficiency.
“They say you should see the forest, not the trees. But in my experience, it’s not obsessing about details that will derail your enterprise,” said Linda Kaplan Thaler, co-author of The Power of Small: Why Little Things Make All the Difference, in an article for Forbes. “It’s easy to dream. In a dream, everything is perfect. But dreams are realized by obsessing about small things.”
So, instead of focusing on going the extra mile, consider how much that extra inch might help. If you change something small about your day-to-day life, like making a point to prep a healthy lunch to take to work every day, in the long run you will see numerous benefits like saving money, losing weight, and getting to experiment with new recipes. It seems small, but it really adds up.
5. They Seek Advice, And Often
When you're a child, you probably accepted the idea that grown-ups knew best and that was that. But when you're in your twenties, in that strange in-between of child and grown-up, it's easy to think you might have all the answers given you've backpacked across Europe once and grocery shop all on your own — but really, you don't. There is so much more for you to learn from parents, relatives, bosses, mentors, even friends. One of the best things you can do for your career is reach out to people you admire and ask their advice. Of course, you don't need to follow every piece of guidance you're given, but to even hear from more worldly perspectives can change your outlook.
According to INC, LuluLemon founder Chip Wilson said the best advice he ever received was to ask for help. "It took me a long time to understand it, but [the advice was] to ask for help and that I don't know it all," Wilson said. "People love to help. I don't have to be insecure and know it all."
6. They Make Their Bed
A decluttered room makes for a clear mind. There are numerous studies that show that a clean bedroom results in better sleep at night. And who doesn't want better quality shut-eye? You can't deny that coming home to an organized desk and sorted closet doesn't give you some peace of mind — so clean up your living space and make your bed each day, so your home can offer you a place to de-stress, not more on your to-do list.
Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project noted some of the benefits of this daily task in a blog post on her site, GretchenRubin.com, "...making your bed is a step that’s quick and easy, yet makes a big difference. Everything looks neater. It’s easier to find your shoes. Your bedroom is a more peaceful environment. For most people, outer order contributes to inner calm."
7. They Take Their Health Very Seriously
When asked for his best productivity tip, Richard Branson (founder of Virgin Group, which is comprised of over 200 companies) simply responded "I work out." He estimated that keeping fit adds about four hours to his daily productivity. Working out regularly and maintaining a healthy diet are not only great for your physical health with benefits like weight loss, combatting disease and illness, and promotes better sleep, but they are proven to boost energy levels which works wonders for your career.
8. They Set Aside Personal Time
With a packed schedule and always-on-the-go attitude, you might forget that the most important factor in finding success is you. And you can't do your best work or be your most efficient if you aren't happy and well cared for. Just as you would schedule in a meeting with your boss or kickboxing class, put aside an hour each day to just relax and focus on you. Take a walk, read a book, or take yourself to the movies. Whatever you need to make sure your life isn't all work all the time.
According to the Harvard Business Review, vacations and time off may actually improve your chances of having a successful career. A study from Project: Time Off showed that, "people who take all of their vacation time have a 6.5 percent higher chance of getting a promotion or a raise than people who leave 11 or more days of paid time off on the table."
So whether you wake up a little earlier or ask for advice a little more often, a small change may make a huge difference in your personal life, career, and general happiness.