When we see successful CEOs of highly profitable companies, we tend to think they’re either smarter than we are, had a head start in life, or have some deep secret only known to the elite.
The truth is, working your way up to CEO isn’t rocket science. In fact, most top CEOs follow surprisingly simple daily routines.
If your dream is to become the next chief, add these five things to your day and start acting like the CEO you’ve always wanted to be.
1. Start your day off the right way
Whether you choose to meditate like Steve Jobs or have a questionable breakfast smoothie like Sara Blakely, having a productive morning routine keeps you on track for the rest of the day.
Many CEOs are known to be early risers, and while starting your day earlier gives you more hours in a day, the time you wake up doesn’t really matter.
If you’re a night owl and can’t function before noon, then that’s okay. What actually matters is having a smart routine to kickstart your day with laser focus and endless energy, whether it’s at 5am or 5pm.
2. Declutter your mind
Over the course of the day, your mind collects thoughts, ideas, and worries that pull you into various directions. If you let them build up like pins on a magnet, you’ll begin to feel anxious and hopelessly distracted.
At least once a day, take your thoughts and place them on paper. Once they’re written down somewhere, you won’t feel the need to keep turning them over in your head in case you forget them.
Richard Branson always carries a notebook wherever he goes so he can jot down his observations, ideas, and random thoughts during the day. Not only does it relieve him from remembering them, it helps him see how his ramblings fit into the bigger picture.
3. Learn something new
A common trait amongst successful people is they’re all lifelong learners.
Stay curious and make sure to keep your mind fresh with new information that piques your interest and helps you further your goals. It doesn’t even have to be related to your career. You never really know how one thing can weave into another, so make an effort each day to expand your horizons.
4. Do something creative
Being a successful CEO takes a great deal of inspiration and creativity in every aspect of managing a company. In fact, this Fast Company poll states that 60% of CEOs said that creativity will be the most important leadership quality over the next five years.
You don’t have to write poetry or invent a new Facebook, Steve Jobs would do something as simple as taking a walk to boost his unique sense of creativity.
Pick up a hobby that lights up the left side of your brain, like painting, photography, knitting, learning a new instrument, dancing, or even gardening.
5. Get your body moving
Hold your eye roll. Being a CEO takes a lot of energy and you simply won’t have it without regular exercise.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said during a Q&A session on Facebook, “Staying in shape is very important. Doing anything well requires energy, and you just have a lot more energy when you’re fit.”
Similarly, the eccentric Richard Branson can’t start his day without running, cycling, or kayaking. He told FourYourBodyPress, “I definitely can achieve twice as much by keeping fit. It keeps the brain functioning well.”
You see? Exercise is an essential part of becoming a CEO. And let’s face it, if you can’t bring yourself to do five sit-ups then you likely won’t be able to take on the demanding role of CEO. It’s okay to start small, as long as you start.
If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Greatness is not an exception, it’s an attitude.
– Colin Powell
More advice from top CEOs here: