Think about the most successful people you know. Chances are they didn't get where they are because of a lucky break, but rather possess characteristics or a state of mind that sets them apart from people leading average lives. Check out these quotes from 19 successful CEOs who credit simple daily habits for helping them get ahead in business and life.
1. Take a few 30-minute breaks to walk around the whole company and talk to people.
"Often I'll overhear a problem that I didn't know about that we'll need to solve some day. And while [it may be] a bit nerve-racking to have the CEO running around asking questions at first, [you're more] approachable over the longer-term as long as you don't over-react."
--Suhail Doshi, CEO of Mixpanel, an analytics platform for mobile and web that tracks 50 billion actions people take in applications per month to help companies gain insights into user activity.
2. Talk to at least one customer.
"I try to never let a day go by where I don't speak with at least one of our current customers. No one is better equipped to let us know where our services are succeeding and failing, and where we can improve. This is also why we have a client success team, but hearing it directly from the horse's mouth can provide greater context."
--Michael Ortner, CEO of Capterra, a web service that has helped companies such as Coca-Cola, Walmart, and Home Depot find and purchase business software.
3. Limit meetings.
"I never have more than five meetings in the average day and usually only two or three. The reason is I believe you can create a daily work life where you are too busy to grow. I spend much of the day just thinking about the business--the product offering, the sales and marketing strategy, the industry. Taking time to think about your business gives you the best chance of growing [it]."
--Matt Godard, CEO of R2Integrated, one of the largest independent marketing agencies in the country.
4. Don't leave things for later.
"We tend to save the more complicated tasks for later, but that's an efficiency killer. Solve things right away. This goes for emails too. Email still is the most used tool and by far preferable to phone calls. It has, however, the most undeveloped functions. Try to use the basic set of filters and sorting on your next batch of emails. It helps."
--Serban Enache, CEO of global stock photo site Dreamstime.com.
5. Run to work and back.
"I bookend my day with exercise by jogging to the office and back. It's a great way to clear your mind and get the creative juices flowing. Naturally you need a shower at work to pull this off and a reasonably short commute. It means exercise is built into each day, and it beats sitting in a car or a bus. Plus, audiobooks!"
--Jay Simons, president of software company Atlassian, which offers team collaboration products including JIRA, Confluence, Bitbucket, and HipChat, which are collectively used by more than 48,000 companies worldwide.
6. Wake up an hour early and stay up an hour late.
"I find that I have the most time for myself to think during the hours of the early morning as well as late at night. During the early morning, I often think about the priorities for the day ahead and what communications to the team I must relay in order to ensure everyone continues to be fully aligned and on the same page. Then, at night, as everyone else goes to sleep and the distractions of email and phone calls dissipate, I allow my mind the freedom to be fully creative and think bigger picture, exploring our organization's vision for the future and the overarching path we will take to get there."
--Tiffany Pham, founder and CEO of MOGUL, an award-winning technology platform for women.
7. Be willing to meet with anyone at any time.
"I meet with people--usually via phone and computer--at all times of the day and night. [It might be] 5 in the morning for meetings in India or Sunday night for meetings in Singapore. I find that without doubt the harder I work and the more flexible I am about meeting someone's schedule, the more people I reach and the luckier I get."
--Eric Frankel, founder and CEO of AdGreetz, a cloud-based SaaS platform that empowers brands such as Intel, NBC, and Toyota to deploy relevant, personalized video messages.
8. Work your to-do list.
"In the morning or the night before, I write down a to-do list, a sort of priority of what I intend to accomplish that day. As the day progresses I scratch off items completed and open room for others. I find this helps me keep focused on the most important goals and not lose sight of what I primarily intended to accomplish that day."
--Payman Taei, CEO and founder of Visme, a DIY online tool that has empowered over 200,000 businesses and nonprofits create better presentations and infographics. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning web agency that helps companies improve their online presence.
9. Work out hard every day.
"I'm driven when it comes to sports and fitness. I have a regular 5 a.m. workout consisting of Insanity, Asylum and a five-mile run regardless of where I am in the world and the time zone. Since so much of my job is unpredictable, the workout helps keep my mind and body fresh and at least I have a predictable start to my day."
--Don Joos, CEO of global telecommunications company ShoreTel.
10. Be a servant.
"Once you get to any reasonable size, the team is running the company. Your job is to be a servant--to make sure people have the resources to do the job, to eliminate friction, and to drive the strategy that sets everyone up to succeed."
--Greg Schott, CEO of MuleSoft, a software company valued at $1.5 billion.
11. Don't be afraid of failure.
"The biggest mistake any leader can make is to avoid taking risks because they are afraid of failing. It's best to fail fast, quickly learn and re-do versus wasting years in trying to perfect and losing a key opportunity. And, sharing the failures with your team is even more important as you build a culture that fosters out-of-the-box thinking without obsessing about the worst-case scenarios."
--Faizan Buzdar, CEO of Convo, an enterprise-mobile messaging and collaboration platform used by 15,000 businesses and 25 percent of the Fortune 500 companies.
12. Leverage all of your staff.
"Understand that you and your sales personnel don't necessarily have all the knowledge in the world. Constantly ask the company staff and external advisers, 'How else can we be bringing value to prospective customers?' There are always new clients and revenue models that can be explored and a holistic approach to BI and BD can provide substantial results."
--Joel Zamel, CEO and founder of Wikistrat, which operates a global network of more than 2,000 subject-matter experts specializing in national security and geopolitics, operating on a virtual platform to conduct wargaming simulations and data modeling for enterprise clients.
13. Be a collector.
"I have always had a love for one-of-a-kind collectible action figures. It's a great passion of mine. Maybe it's something I do subconsciously to connect to my inner kid. It's a great reminder to maintain a degree of levity and balance."
--Moshe Hogeg, founder and CEO of Mobli Media, a technology company that creates products leveraging crowd-based activities that benefit people through content sharing and social media.
14. Exercise during your break.
"Science has told us countless times that sitting at a desk all day will doom our bodies to eternal suffering and not only will getting up and moving around during the day significantly lessen the damage, it also boosts productivity. Instead of simply taking my lunch break to eat food in another chair, I make sure to duck out at least three times a week to get my limbs stretched and my blood pumping. My personal favorites for this are a 45-minute spin class or cross-fit training."
--Shaul Olmert, CEO and co-founder of Playbuzz, a free online content platform that enables publishers, marketers, bloggers, and brands to create, distribute, and embed quizzes, polls, lists, and other content on websites, social pages, or mobile apps.
15. Have pointless conversations.
"Especially when it comes to the fast-moving tech industry, it's easy to fall into a trap where urgency takes over and every conversation, interaction, or meeting has to fulfill a particular purpose. While staying focused and effective is important, I've found it's equally important to take the time to have pointless or no-action-item conversations with people about how they are doing and what's going on in their lives. This is key in building a strong bond with the people in your company, but equally important, it allows you to learn more about the people you're working with, and knowing what makes them tick will make you a more successful manager."
--Tomer Bar-Zeev, co-founder and CEO of ironSource, a global technology company that helps developers connect with users across devices and platforms.
16. Cross things off the to do list, but don't delete them.
"I was keeping a Google doc and just deleting things of the to-do list. However, it was difficult to feel a sense of accomplishment, especially on days when the list actually grew longer. I find that when you cross items off the list, and don't delete them until the end of the day, that you see the progress and feel the satisfaction of moving forward."
--Eric Narcisco, founder of Effective Coverage, a national online renter's insurance site that recently launched a mobile platform for buying renters insurance via a partnership with Traveler's.
17. Meditate every morning.
"I begin each morning with an hour of deep meditation. I've learned to remain calm when the world strikes a stressful blow, which happens frequently as a business owner. It's amazing how much easier it is to lead a ship through stormy seas when the captain is calm and confident. I can't imagine my life or running a business without meditation."
--Jeremy Hallett, CEO of online term life insurance company Quotacy.
18. Go out for coffee several times a week.
"I don't even like coffee but it's a great excuse to go out and meet people I can learn from, and hopefully, who I can then help in return. My network is the most important asset I have, but I have to work it by getting out of the office and meeting people. It's how I raised $1.2 million in funding and met some of our big-name clients."
--Kristi Zuhlke, co-founder and CEO of KnowledgeHound, a market research data retrieval and visualization technology that serves large consumer brands like Pepsi and Procter & Gamble.
19. Listen to podcasts.
"Every night I listen to podcasts that feature ideas on entrepreneurship, interviews with successful founders, or industry news. I'm a huge believer in lifelong learning, and I find these podcasts to be incredibly helpful in sparking new ideas, inspiring me to improve, and learning from the mistakes of others." (His favorite: The Startup Podcast.)
--Matt Mickiewicz, co-founder of online IT recruiter Hired.
What daily habits help you succeed in business and life?