“You can’t have a million-dollar dream with a minimum wage ethic.” - Stephen C. Hogan
Good habits are the basis of any success! We have gathered a list of the best habits, or rituals, you need to include in your daily routine in order to “do and be your BEST”!
“I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.” - Charles Dickens
The difference between the top performers and the average ones is not the talent alone, is the belief that your talent can be developed through consistent learning, training, determination and hard work. For that reason we’ve selected the most useful morning, reading, and bedtime habits, the habits that are specific to you as a creative professional, and of course the habits of the most successful creatives and innovators in the world.
Make use of Google Calendar, Outlook, Dropbox, Evernote, or other desktop and mobile apps and tools to develop a well-structured plan of your daily assignments. Make a priority list. Being organized will help you complete each task in a more efficient and effective manner.
2. Take a morning walk
Do an activity of your choice. Whether that be walking, yoga, running, or bicycling, always try your best to make the time for exercising. A research shows that regular exercise is associated with improved divergent and convergent thinking, two major components of creative thinking. According to a Stanford study a person’s creative output increased 60% when they were walking, as opposed to sitting. A morning workout increases your focus on the next activity, because your body is aroused.
3. Start with the “hardest” or “most important” task
Put the hardest thing of the day, or the most time-consuming task first on your to-do list. You will be able to complete the task while you have the most energy for it and set the stage for the entire day to follow. With the hardest task out of the way you will get a sense of accomplishment and a productivity boost. You will be able to better focus on the other tasks.
4. Swap out the coffee for lemon water
Drinking warm water with lemon is a healthy way to start the day. Lemon water improves alertness, focus, and will optimize your ability to perform. Drinking coffee first thing in the morning is a mistake. “A lot of times people are drinking caffeine to wake up in the morning, but that’s going to happen naturally, thanks to movement, light and time.” says Dr. Grandner. Save the coffee for a couple hours after you wake up.
A study of 1,200 wealthy people found that the one habit they all have in common is reading. Reading is a powerful tool of self-improvement. It boosts your brain power, reduces stress, and improves creativity, critical and analytical skills.
These are the reading habits of some of the most successful people in the world:
Bill Gates reads 50 books a year
Mark Zuckerberg reads two books every month
Tony Robins read 700 books in seven years
Mark Cuban reads more than 3 hours every day
6. Relax before going to sleep
Do an activity that is relaxing and peaceful to you. Take the time to wind down, exercise, take a hot bath, meditate, pray, or read a book. In these busy times, it can be difficult to create work-life balance. Conduct a de-stressing activity to end the day. By doing a relaxation activity before bed you create a zone of peace and heal from the stresses you’ve accumulated during the day.
7. Reflect on the day
Remind yourself of everything you managed to complete during the day. Think about the progress you made that day and celebrate even the smallest successes. That way you will be much more motivated to work on the next day achievement.
8. Identify your niche and your area of expertise
As a creative professional you’ve probably being encountered with the need to perform many different tasks. To be successful, you need to do only what you do best. Find out what you do best - a specific area of functional expertise you will excel at and build your name on it.
“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” - Bruce Lee
9. Ask for feedback
Feedback, both the positive one and the one in the form of criticism is very helpful. Both common sense and research make it clear that effective feedback is very important for a designer to adjust, grow, improve performance and increase their motivation. Always ask for a constructive feedback from your client. Ask for feedback from like-minded individuals as well. Make use of the various groups, forums and websites where creative professionals hang out. Dribbble is only one of the many sites where you can practice your skills, get feedback and improve.
"I’m very suspicious of people who are self-satisfied because what tends to happen is the creative stuff starts to go downhill.” - Chip Kidd
10. Always look for inspiration
There are many sources on the web that will help you when you will face inspiration blocks. In one of our previous articles we have made a list of the best inspirational sites. Seek inspiration every day. Get inspired by your favorite artist. Look at competition as inspiration. Many top-performers have succeeded by looking at their competitors as motivators, finding out more about their technique, and where do they find THEIR inspiration.
11. Stay in line with the newest trends in the creative world
Know your industry well! Create designs that represent current industry trends and audience needs. Consistently follow blogs sharing the emerging trends related to your specific area of interest. Update your knowledge regularly by subscribing to blogs and newsletters, and participating in groups and forums.
12. Know when to say ‘No’ and choose your projects wisely
This is a piece of advice from the creatives who have been in the creative industry for many years. Always consider every opportunity that comes along your way but think carefully before making the decision. Make sure your potential client knows the style of your work. Learn to say ‘No’ to things like bad ideas, when client asks for free work, extra work, and when taking a new project might mean overextending yourself.
Learning through habits
There’s a certain thrill to learn about the daily habits of successful creatives and innovators. We ask ourselves what is it that helped them get to the top and you will see that even the simplest everyday routines will help in those efforts. Read along to find out the habits that can arm us with some of the very same “magic” these successful people certainly possess.
David Lynch an American filmmaker, painter, musician, actor, and photographer described by The Guardian as "the most important director of this era." In an interview he shared that with regular meditation “the enjoyment of working increases, the enjoyment of everything increases.”
Tom Ford, American fashion designer, film director, screenwriter, and film producer may take as many as four hot baths a day
Vera Ellen Wang, American fashion designer sets aside her evening hours as a sacred place for stillness
Ash Thorp, an illustrator, graphic designer, and creative director for feature films, commercial marketing, and print, looks at time as being precious, sets one week, one month, three month, six month, and one year goals, and makes personal time every day.
Victor Hugo (French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic Movement), Ludwig van Beethoven (German composer and pianist), and Steven Paul Jobs (American entrepreneur, inventor, and industrial designer) all had the habit of waking up at 6am.
Mark Zuckerberg, American computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur typically exercises about three times a week.
Elon Musk, the boss at Tesla and SpaceX, arranges his schedule down to five-minute time blocks
Warren Buffett, American business magnate, investor, philanthropist and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway spends 80 percent of his days reading
"Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle