It seems every day someone presents a new, revolutionary formula to achieve maximum productivity.

You may already know, you should take 17 minute breaks after every 52 minutes of work. No doubt you've heard of the usual hacks, like setting goals and streamlining business processes. But, what if those don't work for you?

Individual minds work differently, so not everyone will benefit from the same formula. Everyone needs to find what works best for them, and the one way to do that is to ask others what has made a difference in their personal productivity -- so that's what I did.

Here are some unique habits to try:

1. Meditating Before meditation, I'd have dips in energy and focus. When I'm regularly practicing meditation, I find my energy levels are consistent and I can get into a workflow more readily. People always tell me how amazed they are at how much I accomplish in a day compared to what they do. I attribute it to meditation, along with valuing completion over perfection.--Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40 / Finance Whiz Kids

2. Keeping Headphones On We have a simple rule at the office: if someone has headphones in, you can't disrupt them. Nothing kills productivity like context switching. Even though you think you might be helping someone else by answering a quick question, it can take up to 30 minutes to get back to the depth where you were concentrating. Protect your flow and let people know not to disrupt you.--Fan Bi, Blank Label

3. Putting My Thoughts in Writing As soon as I wake up, I go to 750words.com and perform a "brain dump." I take about 15 minutes to put on paper everything that clutters my mind. By doing this, I declutter my brain, knowing that I now have everything in writing. When I start work, I feel clearer and more capable of prioritizing. It's a great way to leave room for what's important.--Marcela DeVivo, National Debt Relief

4. Putting My Phone on Mute I get numerous calls a day and would not be able to efficiently complete projects for clients if I were constantly being pulled away and then had to refocus. Instead, I often put my phone on mute and return calls either in between projects or at set points of time during the day when it's not disruptive to completing work.--Doug Bend, Bend Law Group, PC

5. Handwriting Weekly Action Items Each Sunday evening, I handwrite my weekly action items into an executive journal made by Moleskine. By writing down the items by hand, I find they stick in my mind more until they are complete. The journal is left open on my desk to the exact page of the week so it's always reminding me what I established as priorities for the week.--David Ciccarelli, Voices.com

6. Waking Up at 4:30 a.m. To catapult my productivity, I wake up every morning at 4:30 a.m. Waking up super early affords me the peace and quiet to think about what matters most and where I should spend my time on any given day to have the greatest impact. My early mornings allow me to get several things done that would be very difficult to do at the office, such as writing thank you notes and reviewing resumes.--Obinna Ekezie, Wakanow.com

7. Taking Two-Hour Meetings I won't schedule any phone call or meeting shorter than two hours. This means the people I meet with commit to bringing their full attention and it gives us the space to be truly productive. If the matter doesn't require two hours of full attention, then someone else can handle it. With this policy, the little problems seem to solve themselves. My days are more fluid, creative and productive.--Brian Smith, S Brian Smith Group

8. Exercising I've tested this tried-and-true method: Do five minutes of exercise early in the morning to give your brain and body a jumpstart on the day. Walk around the block. I am a firm believer that you can't muscle through everything. Sometimes all you need is a quick break to clear your head, reset, and get back to work to be even more productive.--Zach Robbins, Leadnomics

9. Taking a Hard Stop Early in the Afternoon I have a hard stop every day at 4:30 p.m. Even if I'm in crunch mode, I put everything away and work goes on hold so I can be with my family. Helping out with dinner preparations and spending time with the kids right when the mid-afternoon slump kicks in helps me reconnect with the reason I work so hard. If I do come back to my computer, it's only after I've had quality time with my loved ones.--Jared Brown, Hubstaff

10. Time Blocking I am constantly being interrupted by the many distractions of life and running a business. Time blocking is important to me because I can get groups of things accomplished at once. I make a point to not let distraction get to me during these times. It takes an average of 23 minutes to get back to the task after being distracted.--Jayna Cooke, EVENTup

These are the top results from a survey of entrepreneurs on the topic of productivity, provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Published on: Oct 6, 2015