Develop your own system and stick to it

“I am systematic in everything. My professional life is built on the EOS model of Gino Wickman (entrepreneurial operating system – ed.), and my personal life is a derivative of this system. I visualize a desirable future, set long-term goals, and develop a roadmap to achieve those goals.

I set myself micro-goals for 90, 30, 7 days and every single day that will help me realize larger plans. And I also love routine activities: I woke up early, did my exercises, did the exercise 10/10/10 – 10 minutes of meditation, 10 minutes of reading and another 10 to write in my diary.

I try to devote more time to myself before the start of the working day. In a journal, I usually write down gratitude to set myself up for positive thoughts, plans for the day, and three main goals that I need to achieve during the day. Every morning I share notes with a partner in this technique – my friend. In my experience, I’m more likely to complete a given task if I let someone know I’m going to do it.”

Pay yourself for a win-win deal

“I have worked out various mutually beneficial deals for myself and I pay them upfront so as not to jump off at the last moment. For example, I love spending time with my wife. We need to exercise regularly.

Therefore, my wife and I are engaged in Krav Maga (a hand-to-hand combat system developed in Israel – ed. note). On these evenings we also go somewhere together and pay in advance for a babysitter for the children. No matter how tired we are, no matter what mood we are in, we rarely cancel these dates. I mean, we play sports, and then we have a romantic dinner. We do this every week without exception. This is my favorite deal with myself.”

Dr. Ali Raja, MD, Vice President of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School, Author of over 100 publications, US Air Force veteran.

Color your schedule

“Try every day to enjoy what you do. When you enjoy work, you are full of energy and emotions. If the work is disgusting to you, it begins to suck energy out of you.

To recognize such work, I color the schedule, mark with different colors everything that I do during the day. I use different colors for specific functions, like blue for calls, dark blue for meetings, orange for travel. Red is a bad color, I usually save it for meetings with lawyers. Shades of green are what I enjoy doing – writing, speaking, interviewing.

Every day I open the calendar and see at a glance what my day will be like. This allows me to better plan my work so that every day I have something to do that brings me pleasure. If a day is marked green on the schedule, it means that I enjoy my work and I am successful.”

Dr. Ivan Misner, Ph.D., founder of BNI.com, a global corporate networking organization that has helped clients close $16 billion in deals over the past year.

Make time for people watching

“It may sound strange, but three or four times a week I give myself 30 minutes to just sit down and people watch. I look at them in a normal everyday setting. I note what they are wearing, how they work with equipment. I also note the emotional reaction – joy or sadness. I always watch alone and learn something every time.

Moments like these help me translate what I see into my work. For example, some new twist on the plot of a story I’m writing, or a more intuitive design for a mobile app.”

Andrew Duplessis, co-founder of Tipster, a fashion and style tips app. Prior to moving to DTX, the new company of AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, the app had amassed 1 billion styles, 250 million views, and 3 million installs.

Break Your Habits

“The lion’s share of my success is built on the struggle with satisfaction. Every day we eat the same food, do the same exercises, drive the same route to work. Yes, they work great, but they get boring, and that kills creativity. So I make a deliberate effort to try new things regularly.

Even a seemingly insignificant change in one thing can serve as a breakthrough in something else. For example, try meditation or work with a new charity. By forcing yourself to reinvent the wheel, you will abandon the rigid mindset and begin to take risks. A nice bonus: your contact list will become more diverse as you enter new territory for yourself. And most importantly, it’s also fun.

Brian Fjelkov, CEO of transportation and logistics company Jetco Delivery.