Updated: Jun 27
Quick question: Do you have what it takes to be successful in work and life? Do you follow the best daily routines for success?
I love what Gretchen Rubin once said — What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while. We all must have dreamed of being great at something. Some of us want to be best-selling authors, others aspire to become great doctors, et cetera. And often, our dreams can feel so big that it makes us wonder if we even have what it takes to make them a reality.
But like James Clear, I am a firm believer that great success begins with the small things we do consistently every day. In his breakthrough book, Atomic Habits, Clear writes: Success is the product of daily habits–not once-in-a-lifetime transformations. While our habits can’t seem to make a significant difference in a short time, they would change something in the long run. The value they produce over the months and years can be enormous.
The same goes for routines because highly successful people practice fundamental yet transformative daily habits. However, let's be honest, sticking to your routines can be very challenging. Especially when it involves waking up at 5 a.m every single day. Moreover, one must put in several efforts to complete each small task. That’s why you need to build your best daily routines for success.
But great things never come from comfort zones. Here are some advantages of building and sticking to your routines.
The Advantages of Building Your Best Daily Routines for Success
Before we get to the part where we will be learning about the advantages of building a daily routine, you might want to know the definition of the routine itself. The Cambridge Dictionary defines routine as a usual or fixed way of doing things. Others define routine as a sequence of actions that we repeatedly do.
Either way, every routine is powerful since it can shape who we are today and the kind of future we will have. Whether it’s a good routine or a bad routine. Just like what Aristotle once said — We are what we repeatedly do. That’s why you need to choose your best daily routines for success to follow and discard the bad ones.
A routine can be as simple as eating pizza while watching binge-worthy TV dramas. Or waking up at 5:00 AM and doing some exercise every morning. Some routines can create winners, while some don’t.
Bill Gates, one of the most successful people in the world, spends one hour each day learning something new. He is even known to read 50 books a year. My question is, how do you make use of the amount of hours you have in a day? Have you allocated a portion of your time to learning something new every day? If not, you might want to consider doing it now.
Help Achieve More With Limited Resources
What kind of routine we practice reflects our choice regarding how we will run the day. A good routine can make the most of limited resources: time – the most limited resource of all, willpower, self-discipline, and optimism. We all only get 24 hours in a day, but how we use those 24 hours is entirely up to us.
Remember, Richard Branson and other successful people realize the importance of time, they use their 24 hours wisely. So if you want to achieve more or earn more money with a limited amount of time, make sure to make every second count. Build the best daily routines for success. And with self-discipline, try to stick to that routine, so you can find yourself in the position you want to be.
Help Accomplish Big Things Easier
Each of us is the creator of our routines or habits. According to Charles Duhigg in The Power of Habit, routines and habits can put our brains on autopilot where we only need a little willpower or not at all to do it. Here is an easy example for you.
Each morning when I wake up, my brain immediately knows that it is time for me to wash my face. I name this process a ‘cue’. After that, I go to the toilet and wash my face. This is the part of my morning where I ‘execute my routine’. As a result, I can feel myself waking up and ready to start the day.
In his book, Duhigg writes: ‘reap the rewards of the routine’. Because of the reward, I decided to do it again the next morning.
Washing my face every morning looks like a simple routine, but doing it with consistency helps me stay focused, and enables me to put my productivity on automation. It’s one of my best daily routines for success.
Now imagine how other more powerful tasks can energize your day and make accomplishing big things as easy as washing your face. This is just one example of the power of routines. The small repeated actions can make a big difference, and they work every time.
How to Form Your Best Daily Routines for Success?
Forming new routines and habits is certainly not easy for many. But how exactly can we create them? Try to look at these steps.
First, you will need to know what should be in your routine. Start by figuring out the things that matter most to you and prioritize them. Your best daily routines for success should consist of those things. For example, if you think that doing yoga can put you in a good mood, you can make it one of your morning habits.
Second, try to set some small goals. For example, if your overall goal is to eat healthier meals, you can start by choosing not to eat junk food for 7 days in a row. To do this, you will need to stay consistent. Which, by the way, is the hardest part of forming routines and habits.
Third, you should just start doing them.
Fourth, reward yourself with something nice! For example, if your goal is to do daily yoga as your morning exercise, buying yourself a new yoga mat or something yoga-related every now and then might keep you from falling out of your routine.
Early Morning Habits and Best Daily Routines for Success
In his book, Tools of Titans, Tim Ferris writes: If you win the morning, you win the day. But what does it mean? What you do in the morning can set the tone for your entire day and set you up for success. Like whether you will have an unproductive day or a productive day. Therefore, you should make sure that your morning routines are the most effective and beneficial for you.
The many successful people you know have great morning routines. These best daily routines for success they practice in the morning prepare them for whatever comes their way for the rest of the day. However, we can’t just copy and paste their morning routines. Instead, we should find what really works for us, so we can be a winner in our own day and of our own life.
But looking at a list of ways to embark on your day like a winner definitely won't hurt. Here are the best morning routines of successful people.
01. Wake up early
What time a person wakes up has a lot to do with their overall success. A study from Harvard Business Review shows that people who wake up earlier have a greater chance of success than those who set their alarm at 5:00 but decide to click the snooze button and then go back to sleep. This is because while the rest of the world is asleep at 5 a.m, those exceptional people are executing their morning rituals to prepare the day for success.
In addition, research also shows that people who wake up earlier are actually happier. This is because they have the time to do the things that can keep them in a good mood for the rest of the day, like doing self-care routines.
02. Make Your Bed
Admiral William H. McRaven once said - If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. Make this good habit your first completed task of the day, and it will give you a small sense of pride. Which will encourage you to do other, bigger tasks.
Because if you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if you have a lousy day, you will come home to a bed that you made. A made bed, according to McRaven, can make you believe that tomorrow will be better. Add to your daily routine, and you can be your best self.
03. Do a short digital detox
A survey in 2018 finds that nearly one out of four people grab their phones less than a minute after waking up every morning. Instead of giving themselves enough time to stretch, they choose to open their Instagram and see what is happening around them. It could even determine the kind of feeling that they will have throughout the day.
This probably happens because turning off the alarm on our smartphones is the first thing most of us do in the morning. This led to another activity that also uses smartphones, like scrolling through Instagram. To help you avoid this unhealthy morning routine, you might have to consider getting yourself an old-fashioned alarm clock to wake you up. And try to wait at least 30 minutes after you wake up before checking your smartphone.
04. Start your day with calming music and morning pages
What is the simple way to set the tone for the day and help you feel better? Start with a calming tune.
Music has a unique way of controlling our emotions. For example, listening to slow music can help you calm your body and mind. It can also help you reduce anxiety from the thought of failing to get through the day. Therefore, listening to calming music should be considered a great way to begin your day. Not to mention the fact that it can put you in a good mood and that you can complete every task without feeling exhausted.
You can improve the effectiveness of the music by adding the morning pages. It's the practice of unloading thoughts and worries from your mind by writing them on paper. You'll start the day with a clean slate.
05. Recite positive affirmations
In the beginning, was the word. So, the best way to start the day is with empowering words. Positive affirmations are statements that can help brighten your outlook on the world when you say them to yourself regularly. They usually begin with the word “I am” or “I will”.
But first, try to visualize the things you wish to happen in the future. For example, you can start your day by saying: “I want to do great things today.” Then, replace the word “I want” with “I will” so it will sound like this: “I will do great things today.” Third, say that to yourself regularly, and you will begin to believe that you can do it.
Once you have that belief, you will eventually start to act on it. The process of becoming something reminds me of Walt Disney’s famous quote — First, think. Second, dream. Third, believe. And finally, dare.
06. Have a morning workout routine
Exercises are good for your body, but exercising in the morning is particularly useful. Other than the fact that it can strengthen your physics, a regular workout can also help you maximize your cognitive function and reduce stress levels.
The morning is the best time to wake your muscles up. You can do it by doing some stretching, cardio, or both. Come up with your morning exercise routine. Moreover, getting out of bed to do something that requires focus and willpower builds a winning mindset.
07. Do meditation
A great way to avoid the effects that workday stress could give us is by doing meditation. Do you know that stress can make human muscles sore through increased physical tension? Meditation eases the pain that comes with it.
Compared to other relaxation techniques like listening to music or drinking tea, meditation is known to reduce anxiety significantly better. Even 10 to 15 minutes of meditation in the morning can affect your day in many positive ways. Nothing like mindfulness in the morning to help you step out for a while from a world that is always busy.
08. Take a cold shower
This one routine might sound a little extreme for some, but taking a cold shower in the morning helps you wake up and kick-starts your body. Take the American life coach Tony Robbins as an example. The man is known to plunge into 57-degree F water every morning. He considers it an integral part of his morning routine to maximize productivity.
09. Eat a healthy breakfast
What you eat directly affects the structure and function of your brain and mood. But, just like an expensive car, your brain can only function well when it gets premium fuel. For breakfast, try to avoid eating high-sugar and high-fat meals. Oatmeal, smoothie, fruit, or yogurt can be a good option for breakfast. And you can think of other high-quality foods. One that contains lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to nourish your brain.
10. Drink water
Here’s a list of things that drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning can do for you :
Reduce daily calorie intake.
Improve mental performance.
Improve your skin health and look.
Jump-start your metabolism.
But don't stop there. You have to make sure that you stay hydrated throughout your days! So always keep a bottle of water next to you. Drinking a lot of water is one of the top habits of highly successful people. It's a lot better than coffee or sugary drinks.
You don't have to start doing all of these morning routines at once. You can start by choosing one best morning routine for success to do and gradually expand from that.
Best Daily Routines for Success At Work
Modern people spend most of their daily lives at work. But living one working day after another will get you nowhere. If you want to be successful, you need to learn how to get the most out of your job. You need to find ways to be much more productive, efficient, and effective by developing habits that will allow you to perform well, even under pressure.
Here are some best daily routines for success that will improve your productivity and get the most important things out of your time every day.
11. Have a to-do list
Michelle Obama, one of the most successful women in the world, believes in the power of meticulously planning out the things that she needs to get done each day. For her, doing is just as important as planning.
Creating a to-do list can help you boost your productivity at work and give you the time to do fun activities without feeling guilty. It can also help you see every small or big goal you scored in a day. The list helps you keep track of the things you need to accomplish.
12. Start by choosing three goals to prioritize today
Your to-do list would be more powerful if, the first time in the morning before you start working, you pick the three most important things that you want to accomplish or need to get done.
It's important to stay focused on specific tasks and not be distracted by unimportant ones.
Learn to know your priorities for the day. And if other things come up before you have the chance to finish them, know that it is okay for you to say “no.” You only have 24 hours in a day. So instead of dealing with distractions, you need to focus on getting ahead. You can also consider delegating those tasks to someone available.
13. Choose your companion well
When it comes to choosing a companion, there is nothing that I can think of more than what Oprah Winfrey once said in one of her speeches — People who want the best for you want you to be your best.
What she’s trying to say is that you should surround yourself with people who want to see you grow and achieve your goals. Like co-workers who won’t let you give up on a hard task, so you can go home with a sense of pride. These people are genuinely excited to see you thrive.
14. Block out “fake meetings” in your calendar
Try your best to avoid time-wasting and unproductive meetings. And when it’s time for you to host a meeting, make sure to run an effective one. An effective meeting values everybody’s time and input.
15. Pencil in time to relax
You can always find time for yourself to relax. But first, you have to apply The Pomodoro Technique to your working process by following these steps :
Choose a task you'd like to get done.
Set the Pomodoro for 25 minutes and make a small oath to yourself: I will spend 25 minutes on this task and I will not interrupt myself.
Immerse yourself in the task for the next 25 minutes.
When the Pomodoro rings, put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
Take a short, 5-minute break. Meditate, read one inspiring article, grab a cup of coffee, go for a short walk or do something else relaxing.
Once you’ve completed four pomodoros, you can take a longer break. Reward yourself with a 20 to 30 minutes break.
Do more, stress less, and have fun with time management!
16. Move your body throughout the day
No matter how busy you are, don’t forget to take a break here and there. You can try to borrow the Pomodoro’s five-minutes break. In those 5 minutes, some stretching and a brisk walk can make you come back more productive.
If you can’t find time to be away from work, you can walk while you are in your phone meeting. In addition to helping you become more productive, moving your body can also reduce the stress you feel during working hours.
17. Keep your space organized and clean
Lastly, I highly encourage you to make time to clean and organize your space. Because once you see a clean and organized working space, everything will feel “new” again and this adds a sense of excitement. The process of cleaning and organizing your space can also give you great satisfaction and positive energy that will elevate your productivity.
This also includes your email inbox. Don't let those unread mails be. Set a specific time of your working hours for replying to emails,
All-day Habits and Best Daily Routines for Success to Improve Your Inner Self
Some habits or routines are not bound to a specific time of the day. But the effects are equally powerful if you do them consistently. Early worms can have a productive morning and night owls can keep their energy levels from being depleted. Here are four all-day best daily routines for success that you can use to improve your inner self.
18. Practice gratitude
There’s a saying — gratitude is the key to happiness. Positive psychology research confirms that gratitude is strongly associated with greater happiness. So I encourage you to write or speak about the things you are grateful for and feel the magic.
19. Read books and other high-quality reading materials
According to Jim Kwik, "Good leaders are good readers". It's also common knowledge that highly successful leaders consume tons of titles every year. If you want to have a successful life, adapt to the reading routine.
In the morning, rather than scrolling through Instagram, consider reading a book or an article instead. At night, you can make reading a part of your pre-nap routine to help you calm your mind and prepare your body for sleep. Reading can boost your brainpower, creativity, and memory. Reading can also help you keep up with the latest trends.
But not all content is created equal. While you can also consume fun yet motivational content from podcasts, blogs, et cetera; avoid low-quality content from tabloids, gossip shows, and also from the web and social media channels. You know, the kind of content that turns you into an angry, bitter, and unconfident person. Instead of lifting you up, that kind of content will drag you down.
20. Be more health-conscious
All the money in the world can’t buy you health. So you need to be more conscious of your mental and physical health. This means taking care of your body and mind through certain actions, like drinking enough water, joining a yoga class, or working out.
This also means that you should consider your health - either short-term or in the long run - when making your decision. For example, don't accept a job offer just because it pays well, give thought to the working environment. If it's toxic, you'll need to deal with stress and anxiety that will tax your health heavily in the long run.
21. Be more social - in the real world
Having a casual chat with your co-workers definitely won’t hurt. Making friends with your co-workers allows you to start trusting others. You might also find people who can make your most challenging task bearable, improve your mood, and make work more enjoyable.
Remember that most opportunities come from the people we know rather than from what we are capable of doing.
Best Daily Routines for Success - Night Version
How you close your day is just as important as how you start your day. Leaving the office is not the end of the work every day. To get yourself ready for the next day, you will need a good rest and maybe a bit of these best daily routines for success - the night version.
What do successful people do before they sleep? Let's find out.
22. Prepare your goals for the following day
Listing down the tasks you should get done tomorrow allows you to think of how you will manage your time to finish those tasks without any pressure. Ideally, you have to identify one challenging task (the frog) and make it the first thing you do and finish in the morning (eating it). To put it simply, “eating the frog” is the process of identifying your most difficult task of the day and completing it before you do any other work.
Listing down your tasks for the next day also gives your brain a chance to ponder about those tasks while you are asleep - and maybe come up with the solution.
23. Prepare everything for the next morning
Pick out the clothes that you plan to wear tomorrow, prepare the coffee maker, prepare the food that you want to eat tomorrow, and organize any work-related materials that you need to bring with you tomorrow.
If you're planning to go to the gym, pick out your favorite workout clothes to keep you excited to face the next day. What I’m trying to say is, that if you spend less of your time and energy on things that are not important, the more time and energy you will have for the things that actually matter.
24. Tidy up before bed
The reason you need to tidy up before you get to bed is very simple – you can end the day with a sense of accomplishment. The next morning, you’ll even find yourself smiling at a tidy home, your home.
25. Reflect on the day's achievements
After spending hours finishing all your tasks, I hope you take the time to reflect on your time throughout the day. Contemplate all the things you did right and celebrate every small success. You can do this by jotting things down in a Moleskine notebook, a gratitude journal, or on your mobile phone application. And don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for doing such a great job.
26. Keep a daily journal to clear your head
Clean your mind from the cluttered thoughts that fill your head during the day by pouring them into your daily journal. Make this your wind-down period and decompress where you evaluate the day’s work, think about other challenges, gradually stop thinking about work, and eventually reach a state of tiredness.
Recording your day with journaling is known to have positive effects on both physical and mental health. Journaling helps us to understand ourselves better, gain insight into our thoughts and emotions, and identify patterns in our behavior. It can lead to improved self-esteem and increased confidence. It can also help us to overcome depression and anxiety.
27. Make time for self-care
Whether it’s taking a few deep breaths, putting on a face mask, making a cup of chamomile tea, or getting yourself a massage, a self-care routine is extremely important to our health. You owe it to your overall well-being to take time for yourself, to love yourself. It can be a short 5-minute self-care routine. But let’s be honest, the more, the merrier!
28. Sleep long enough
Without enough rest, about 7-9 hours of sleep per night, not only will you experience burnout, but you will keep working slower and slower. Now imagine the negative impact it can have on your productivity. Sleep, on the other hand, can reset our bodies like nothing else and is essential for optimum performance.
To get a good night's sleep, your room should not be hot. It’s better to be a little bit cold - usually between 60-65 °F (15-18 °C), and turn off the light. Make the room dark, or wear an eye mask for sleeping. Allocate roughly eight hours of sleep and set an alarm to wake you up the next morning.
Sleep is so crucial for success that Arianna Huffington - one of the many who used to have sleeping problems - devoted an entire Ted Talk to it.
25 Examples of Daily Habits of Successful People
"Successful people are simply those with successful habits," said Brian Tracy.
This quote emphasizes the importance of daily routines and habits in creating a successful person. It suggests that success is not just about talent or luck, but also about consistent effort and discipline.
By developing positive habits and sticking to a daily routine, one can achieve their goals and become successful. Small changes in our daily routine can have a big impact on our lives.
Here are 25 examples of daily routines of successful people:
Wake up early without an alarm - Successful people like Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, wake up early without an alarm to start their day with a clear mind.
Exercise regularly - Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, prioritizes exercise to stay active and energized throughout the day.
Read daily - Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, reads for an hour every night to expand his knowledge and stay informed.
Practice mindfulness - Oprah Winfrey, media executive, and talk show host, practices mindfulness through meditation and journaling to stay centered and focused.
Set goals - Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, set ambitious goals and works tirelessly to achieve them.
Prioritize tasks - Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, prioritizes his tasks and focuses on the most important ones to maximize productivity.
Take breaks - Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, takes breaks throughout the day to recharge and avoid burnout.
Network - Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, networks regularly to build relationships and gain new insights.
Learn from failures - Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, learns from his failures and uses them as opportunities to grow and improve.
Practice gratitude - Tony Robbins, motivational speaker, and author, practices gratitude daily to stay positive and focused on the good in life.
Stay organized - Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of PepsiCo, stays organized by keeping a detailed schedule and to-do list.
Take calculated risks - Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, takes calculated risks and invests wisely to achieve success.
Get enough sleep - Jeff Immelt, the former CEO of General Electric, prioritizes sleep to stay alert and focused during the day.
Stay curious - Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, stays curious and open-minded to new ideas and perspectives.
Practice self-care - Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, practices self-care by taking time for herself and her family.
Focus on strengths - Marcus Buckingham, author and motivational speaker, focuses on his strengths and delegates tasks that are not his forte.
Stay disciplined - Angela Duckworth, author, and psychologist, stays disciplined and focused on her goals to achieve success.
Take action - Gary Vaynerchuk, entrepreneur, and author, takes action and executes his ideas to achieve success.
Stay positive - Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, stays positive and optimistic even in the face of challenges.
Practice time management - Brian Tracy, author and motivational speaker, practices time management to maximize productivity and achieve his goals.
Stay humble - Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, stays humble and open to feedback to continue learning and growing.
Practice empathy - Melinda Gates, philanthropist, and co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, practices empathy and compassion to make a positive impact on the world.
Stay focused - Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, stays focused on his vision and works tirelessly to achieve it.
Take care of mental health - Michelle Obama, the former First Lady of the United States, takes care of her mental health through exercise and therapy.
Practice self-reflection - Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, practices self-reflection to learn from his mistakes and improve himself.
Implement These Best Daily Routines for Success
Building routines and sticking out to them was never an easy job. It requires a lot of willpower and self-discipline. Sometimes, it feels easier to get out of your bed in the morning and crash back into it after a tiring day. But here's the thing about routines and habits, the more you do them many days in a row, the easier they become. So try your best to stick with them.
You may find it boring at first, but you will see how you can improve your life and your day or week can run so much better with your routines. You'll get the work-life balance that you deserve. To create your daily routines, write down your plans with checkboxes that you can look through every day until they become ingrained in you. Or you can set up a schedule for yourself, à la Ben Franklin.
And remember, if you can’t walk, crawl. Whatever you do, just don’t stop. Start small and master one routine at a time. Because trying to shove everything at once will only frustrate you. So pick a few easy ones and do them consistently for a month. After that, you can consider adding up new routines to your day.
Do a one-year challenge to add three new routines every month. One in the morning, one during the day, and one in the evening. Adjust the pace to your preference. You can go slower or faster. But you can never stop.
Last but not least, set up sometime in the year after to evaluate how far you’ve come for the better. You can thank me then :)