Get to know any wildly accomplished individual and chances are you're going to discover this person does things differently from your average Joe. It's true--I've repeatedly featured the daily habits of highly successful entrepreneurs and executives and they are invariably intentional about how they spend their time.
Promise Phelon is no exception. In the year she has been CEO of TapInfluence, a company that connects marketers with social influencers, she has doubled the company's employee count to 50 people and quadrupled revenue, all while facilitating a change in business model. When I asked her what daily habits she can credit for her success, she said she does some of the same things as other high achievers I've interviewed, such as getting up before the crack of dawn, learning continuously by listening to podcasts, and accomplishing one difficult task before setting foot in the office.
In addition to these productivity hacks, she practices something entirely different--a remarkably simple habit with the potential to bolster what anyone is capable of attaining in life.
A different kind of journaling.
Don't yawn. Phelon agrees with the skepticism no doubt welling up in your mind--certainly nobody in this era of distraction has the time to be scratching things in a diary. Rather, her practice came from reading two books in about the same time period: The Practicing Mind and The Magic of Thinking Big. From these influential titles, she grasped the importance of capturing touchstones of learning and development. The way she does it is simple--after arriving home for the day, she remains in her car for a few minutes recording herself talking into her phone.
Her intent with this audio journal is to recap charged or interesting moments, insights, and conversations that occurred throughout the day. She also notes actions she took to support her career goals or help the company grow, as well as the titles of books she wants to read, places she wants to go, or people she needs to connect with.
A way to clear the mind.
Not only does this personal debriefing session allow Phelon to mentally file away important takeaways from her day; she says doing so also allows her to be fully present for her family once she walks in the door. "My mind goes heavy at night and that's not fun when you're trying to connect with family and go to sleep at a decent time," she says. "So this allows me to clear it and program it into a system."
Multitasking at its best.
But the real game changer happens on Sunday, when she grabs her phone and earbuds to listen to everything she recorded during the week prior. The beauty of this activity? She does it while walking the dog, hiking, washing the dishes, or otherwise just living life.
"You have all these conversations happening in your head, inside teams, and at meetings and then you have your to-do list. And what I'm always trying to avoid is staying out of that urgent category, which is when the only things that get done are the things barking at me," she says. "The journal is a way to codify all the stuff that happened and the things that I was thinking about and may not have time to act on."
What daily routines help you succeed in business and life? I'd love to read about them in the comments.