The habits of success – in IT and elsewhere

Have you ever wondered what makes highly successful people more productive, less stressed, and nevertheless happier? We believe that what they have in common is that they know their priorities, organise their life around them and have a positive perspective on life in general. We looked into our own habits and those of successful entrepreneurs in order to share the habits that we find the most important. Here they are:

1. Take advantage of time management and organisation

  • Choose the beginning of the week for prioritising your schedule for the rest of the week. Than daily review the priority list in the morning and start your day with focusing on the most important thing. Leave the small and non-urgent tasks for the end. The most commonly used technique is the four-quadrant “Eisenhower decision matrix”. This 2×2 matrix classifies tasks as urgent and non-urgent on one axis and important and non-important on the other axis. This time management approach helps to focus on “first things first.”

  • Use notepads, planners or whatever helps you writing down your daily tasks, goals and plans. This will free your mind of the pressure that you might forget to do something. That way you can actually focus on the present and the work that needs to be done. Be organized, however flexible to modify your plans if required.

  • Organise your calendar by dividing your working day to several working blocks that will help you stay focused and not multitask all the time.

  • Make sure that you take breaks. We looked for evidence and found out that there are scientific reasons to prioritise breaks at work – they keep us from getting bored (and thus, unfocused), also help us retain information and make connections, they help us reevaluate our goals, boost creativity, productivity and memory. If you are eager to try a new method to incorporate breaks into your daily work routine, you can find a few ideas here. We suggest the simple Pomodoro technique, where you first define the task, then set a timer for 25 minutes, and when it goes off, you take a short 5 minutes break. After four Pomodoro sessions, take a longer break of up to 30 minutes. It is a great technique to combine with other tools, as Pomodoro focuses on progress, staying focused, and getting things done.

  • Here are a few suggestions for productivity-boosting activities for your break: take a walk, daydream, eat, read, get a coffee, listen to music, nap, exercise… In case you spend most of the day in front of your computer, we suggest you use micro breaks to exercise your eyes by applying the 20-20-20 rule, where every 20 minutes take a break at least 20 seconds and look at objects that are 20 feet (cca. 6m) away from you.

  • Eliminate disruptors. Texts and notifications that pop up on your cell phone or laptop can be a big distraction while you are working, therefore put your phone away and shut down all unnecessary applications (e.g. Email, Facebook) while at work.

  • Remember that work is work. Sometimes it is fun and sometimes it is the opposite. Deal with it!

2. Acknowledge the importance of your attitude

  • Accept and give feedback. Try to see the positive intent behind criticism and think about how you can improve. When giving feedback to others make sure that you emphasise positive things and explain where you think there is a room for improvement by being clear and fair.

  • Be a problem solver and not a complainer by turning negativity into positive action which will sound professional and will help you re-frame issues into challenges and opportunities. Change negative events to your biggest lessons learned and use them to grow personally and professionally.

  • Be dependable and always do what was agreed. Make sure that you are at work on time as scheduled.

  • Allow yourself to be an expert and also see expertise in others. In our team we help each other and are not scared to ask for help or advice.

3. Maintain your work-life balance

It is crucial that you maintain balance between work and personal life. And here we mean the balance within your body, mind and soul as well. Successful people are usually successful on all fields of their life and isn’t that what we all strive for?

  • Therefore take care of your body by drinking enough water, eating healthy, exercising and making sure that you have enough quality sleep on a daily basis. Here we suggest that you start your day with an energising and healthy routine and by this you will set a standard for the rest of the day.

  • Be open about your needs. It is important that you identify what truly matters to you and communicate it. In our office we know who needs to pick up the kids from the kindergarten on time, who has training and who needs 2 hours to bike to the office, so we try to adjust work processes accordingly. I doesn’t always work, but at least we talk openly about it.

  • Make quality time true quality time. Resilient people feel a greater sense of control over their lives, while reactive people have less control and are more prone to stress. Make sure to set up boundaries – for instance by not checking your work email or reacting to updates while you are at home with your friends, family or kids in the late afternoon, that way you will develop a stronger habit of resilience.

  • Pace yourself. To have a balanced life and career you need to understand the value of pace. There are times when you need to throttle up and times when you can throttle down. Self-awareness is crucial. Doing so will help you enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

Did we forget something? Share your habits with us, we’d be happy to learn from you.

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