Obviously people are not machines. They have their ups and downs and are subject to emotions and distractions that can affect the quality of their work. When external and internal factors are working against performance you have to find ways to compensate. One option is to respond reactively, but that means summoning energy just when you are at your weakest. The best approach is to establish a routine that will help you perform at your best regardless of disruption, human or otherwise.

Inc. writers are creatures of habit. We work hard to consistently deliver compelling material that will entertain and inform you despite challenges behind the screen. Who better to share their approach for consistent delivery then those who continue to attract your attention? Here are my two performance rituals and more insights from my Inc. colleagues.

1. Set everything up the night before.

I used to give little thought to simple things like task lists or choosing clothes and menus. These items seem minor, but they add up to 30 minutes and multiple decisions. These smaller activities do not require major brainwork, so they are manageable even at the end of an exhausting day. By tackling them the night before, I start my day with my head clear and fresh so I can go right to work.

2. Pick your people for the day.

My best work comes from interaction with people. It could be connections I am making, interaction with clients, or even thinking about my reading audience. Regardless, I don't get the best performance when I'm focused only on my needs and wants. When I establish my work for the day I think about the people I am serving and how I will delight them with my performance. This makes me up my game regardless of whatever challenges I am facing in my world.

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3. Make it all about the list.

For me, maintaining focus and high productivity levels is mostly based on a prioritized to-do list. My workday begins with updates to my list, and by the time I'm done I feel lighter and ready to go. The act of creating or revising a list lessens stress, provides clarity, and stimulates the memory so nothing is forgotten. To really get a grasp on how a daily priority list reduces stress and increases productivity, measure each day's accomplishments for a week with a list and then go a week without. Whether you use an app, a project management tool, a handwritten or typed list, you'll be greatly impressed by the difference it makes! --The Successful Soloist

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4. Establish a routine.

Simply having a daily routine is a habit that keeps my company and I running smoothly and efficiently. The cadence and predictability of when meetings will happen and how work is accomplished provides a foundation that supports progress. Routine addresses inevitable chaos. When problems arise they are easily addressed with a strong framework in place.

This doesn't mean that my routine stays the same. I purposefully switch up my routine on a regular basis to provide a new perspective and keep ideas fresh. For example, I recently added to my daily routine. I am the new host of a weekday radio show on Biz1190 that focuses on the entrepreneurial journey. Speaking with these entrepreneurs is a daily inspiration and provides me with personal motivation. Interviewing new startups keeps me up-to-date with the latest ideas and technology and often provides a jumping off point for new articles and future endeavors. --Lean Forward

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5. Take a long walk.

I love to take a long walk with my wife every day, usually at the end of my workday. Sometimes it's the beach, sometimes the hills near our home, and sometimes just exploring our neighborhood. We get a chance to get the blood moving, and catch up on the latest goings-on in our business and in our lives. With my batteries recharged, I'm ready to do my best work. --The Leadership Guy

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