Recent research suggests that there are certain basic things that successful business managers have in common. Actually, there are many more. However, for the sake of brevity, let’s take the 10 most vital factors as listed by top management officials across various fields, professions and industries.

1- Do The Most Important Item First

According to its priority, do that item first. Effective managers generally work down from the top of their to-do list or enumerate items according to the importance on their list. Then, they simply cross off the completed work when it’s finished.

2- Check Email Periodically

While sounding perhaps counter productive, recent research by a marketing software company, HubSpot, shows that the highest rate for successful click-through responses is around six o’clock in the morning.

According to Mike Volpe, the chief marketing officer for HubSpot, the best time to send an email is when you know the actual time that people check into their email. In contrast to early morning emails, Volpe points out that the worst time to send email is around four o’clock in the afternoon when people begin planning their exit from work.

3- Waking Up Early, Exercise and Inspirational Disciplines

Apparently, being an early morning riser seems to be one characteristic of winners in a success-driven world. The late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher never slept later than five in the morning and Michael Eisner of the Disney organization always got up by four-thirty.

In regard to exercise, the Chinese discipline of Tai Chi C’huan now is growing in popularity among management/leaders. This ancient martial art form focuses primarily on concentration and relaxation.

Another characteristic of productive morning people and managers is their spiritual lives. Many engage in prayer, reading the Bible or simple meditation as their first priority. Cher Wang, entrepreneur/philanthropist and the richest woman in Taiwan at $2.3 billion, often says that “the Bible is the best management manual there is.” As president/co-founder of HTC Corporation, she receives revenues from one of every six smartphones sold in the United States.

4- Plan Out Your Day the Night Before

Everyone should have a to-do list, especially managers. However, rather than writing the list on the same day that things need attention, late night planning sessions are better for writing down next day’s morning action list. Then, tackle the day purposely and strategically once daylight breaks.

5- Eat A Good Healthy Breakfast

Eating a bowl of sugar-laden cereal or a donut and three cups of coffee does not nurture your brain cells. In contrast, eating a low carbohydrate breakfast with a side of protein provides plenty of fuel for the rest of the day’s activities.

6- Do Something For Yourself

Management people always take time for themselves. Whether it is fixing their gaze at a vision board they’ve put together or simply planning for that special vacation trip, envisioning one’s goals in life is just as important for busy managers and executives as it is for their staff and employees. Go for it!

7- Avoid Scheduling Afternoon Meetings

The best time to schedule a meeting is when everyone is most awake and their minds are yet unhindered by the accumulated stress of the day.

8- Dress For Business/Success

There is something to be said for managers who dress the part and expect their staff to do the same. Being comfortable is one thing, but being too laid back usually produces the same level of productivity–or no productivity at all.

9- Inspirational/Motivational Teachings

High achieving manager-leaders typically listen to regular videos, tapes and attend seminars that inspire their inner self and the inner man of others in the company/organization as well.

10- Incorporate Desirable Habits For 21 Days

Psychologists and motivational trainers have long known that doing something, or not doing something, for 21 consecutive days will either make or break a habit. Therefore, choose wisely.

Erika Kauffman is the General Manager at 5WPR in New York City.

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