No one wakes up hoping for a mediocre day.
We all, to some degree, want to realise our potential each and every day and be the best version of ourselves possible.
This is especially the case in the workplace, where the success of our team members and the revenue goals of our departments are very often dependent on the way we show up to the office day in and day out.
If you want to maximise your potential as a manager in the workplace, it’s a good idea to start implementing certain daily habits into your usual routine.
These habits, simple as they may seem, can ultimately help you to make the most of your workday, ensuring it’s both productive and highly effective.
Mindful habits: Begin the day with peace and quiet
When it comes to lists of the daily habits of successful people, one of the most popular commonalities is how they all begin their mornings: in peace and quiet. Whether you wake up an hour early for this sacred, uninterrupted ‘me time’ or several hours early, this is an opportunity for you to ease into the day and get a jumpstart on your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
Need ideas for how to use this time? Many successful individuals exercise (yoga or a run, for instance), practice at least ten minutes of meditation (simply focusing on your inhales and exhales or on a single word can greatly reduce stress), read, enjoy a healthy meal, journal, and plan for the day ahead. The idea is to be present in the moment, which allows you to adopt a peaceful and positive mindset that equips you with better clarity, focus, and confidence.
Organisational habits: Plan your workday in advance
Going hand in hand with the habit above, highly effective managers have a tendency to plan out their workday in advance. This planning process may take place first thing in the morning, or it may even happen the evening before. Regardless of when it occurs, this planning period is key to helping you create a productive day.
While you plan, you want to ask yourself: What needs to be accomplished today for me to view this day as a success? The answer to this question will inform your expectations in the workplace, allowing you to give your team a focused goal so that all are clear on the day’s priority and are on the same page.
Just as well, you can use this planning period to map out the entire workday. Many managers will block out their calendars in 15-minute chunks to ensure that everything they hope to get done is accounted for.
Decision-making habits: Decide on your priorities
Part of the planning process from the above strategy relies on knowing what your priorities are throughout the week. Highly effective managers are constantly evaluating their calendar to ensure that the actionable items listed are the highest and best use of their time and talent. If they aren’t, those tasks should ideally be delegated either to a trusted member of your team or outsourced to out-of-house talent, thereby freeing you up to use your time more effectively.
CEO Jim Scott says, “I always find time…to clearly set my priorities, so I know what I need to accomplish each day. I make sure to outline not only my personal priorities, but also priorities for my team, so I can be sure both get done. Once I get into the office, my day becomes about how I can take any obstacles out of the way for my team, so they can execute at the highest level on their priorities. I like to call this working on the business rather than in the business. Empowering employees to do their best work has always been the key to my success, as well as being the hallmark of a world-class organisation.”
Reflection habits: Journal about your day
Highly successful leaders and managers consider themselves lifelong learners. Not only do they make time in their lives to read extensively, up-level their skills, and reflect on their days to strengthen their self-awareness muscles.
And one of the easiest ways to reflect is through journaling. Journaling is a powerful exercise because it very often rewards a person with astounding clarity and valuable insights they otherwise might’ve never stumbled upon. Journaling is also a cathartic practice, allowing you to unpack your thoughts, feelings, and ideas and assemble them in such a way as to better understand yourself.
There are all kinds of ways to make use of a journal. You can use yours to write down the things you’re most grateful for each day. Alternatively, you can reflect on your biggest wins of the day, the moment when you were at your best, the moment when you were at your worst (and what you can learn from it, i.e. how you can do better next time), what your dreams and goals are, what your strategies are for certain projects, etc. Experiment with different approaches and see what fits best with what you hope to gain out of the practice.
Actionable habits: Listen, learn, and be of service
As aforementioned, highly successful leaders and mangers consider themselves lifelong students. They enjoy learning because it continually expands their minds and adds to their knowledge base. But effective managers don’t just listen to industry experts—they also listen to the teams they lead. And once they listen, they take action to help.
“Every day as I interact with the team that reports to me,” says CEO Nick Earl, “instead of asking what they can do for me, I instead ask what I can do for them. As CEO, I view my role as making my general managers successful, not the other way around. I try to remove obstacles, reduce friction, give them better tools and impart guidance. Anything that frees them up to deliver bigger and better results, which in turn, helps create a better company.”
Adding to this, company founder Kim Landi says this: “Leaders who listen to their teams come out ahead and complete a better execution vs. leaders who only believe their way is always the right way.”
Being a highly effective manager doesn’t have to be a title reserved for a select few. Each of us has the potential to better ourselves and operate at maximum capacity. By integrating the above habits into your daily routine, you’ll no doubt find your days becoming far more productive and effective. Which one will you adopt this week?