Many people who I find successful have a set of daily habits to get them to where their goals are. So I thought it might be fun to share my daily success habits in the hopes it might give you some ideas or inspire your success in some way.
“The Fastest Way to Success, is to Replace Bad Habits with Good Habits” — Tom Ziglar
My goal as an artistic photographer is to produce and sell pictures of moments in time and human interaction, that share hope and God’s love in the world, through my Catholic Faith.
"Success is doing the very best I can every chance I get with what I have for a purpose that is bigger than I am and that will outlive me." — Ike Reighard
So, here is a list of the things I do each weekday, and some of why I do them. I’ve streamlined this to be an easy read:
5:30 am - Wake up time and take the dog outside, check the weather and spend a few minutes thinking about the new day, and how to overlap it from yesterday. Life is too short, and the best way to live is to always take care of unfinished business, and this includes thinking about how to correct anything that went wrong the day before, then get it done.
Go inside, spend a few minutes in prayer gazing at the crucifix. This helps me put things into perspective, humbles me, and reminds me of my purpose in life.
Read and listen to the Daily Readings, then watch the Daily Video Reflection - I try to pull out a sentence from one of these and write in on a piece of paper. I then look at the words on that paper throughout the day, and try to either live it out or let it speak to me about my habits and goals.
Open the Daily Insights book and read the reflection and write down answers to the questions. Spend much time in thought to let God speak to me. So this means, as the nuns told me as a kid, God gave me to ears and one mouth - listen.
"Don't neglect your spiritual reading - reading has made many Saints." ~ St. Josemaria Escriva
Pull out my short task list that I made the night before to confirm or update items to be done for the day. As each gets done I check it off. And I do this all on paper, because for me it is faster and I feel an excitement to check off each item and get rid of the list.
Many of us check social media throughout the day, to see what we’ve missed or who has responded to our posts. I find it more productive to give my task list my attention. In other words, I would rather produce than consume social media where others make money on my activity. Just like I don’t watch much TV because someone is making money while I sit there doing nothing productive. Life is too short.
6:30 am - Make breakfast for the dog, eat as my family wakes up to go about their day, and chat with them a bit.
Open Flickr, as I’m not on Facebook, and check up on several photographers (what Flickr calls members) who post to this community their life stories and updates with their pictures. I also check email subject lines and messages and only open that what seems urgent.
I then decide if I’m going to post my own picture and reflection for that day, or move on to check LinkedIn and the community on Fine Art America.
At this point it’s reading time: blogs and books, and articles about productivity, marketing, lifestyle, faith, etc. Many of the people who’ve achieve much in life, and who are the most wealthy (money or knowledge), have spent much time reading.
8:30 am - Work on pictures, organizing, editing, updating my photography profile page and the online artist groups I curate.
10:30 am - Work on the business of my business - phone calls, emails, bills, etc. My favorite thing is to clean my inbox and my desk.
11:30 - Lunch with the dog, after we go outside to play fetch.
12:00 pm - Nap time. I learned this from my mother, who for over fifty years ran the family business while I was growing up. I use this time to rest my eyes and sort in my mind the next and most productive part of my day.
12:30 - Deep work time. This is where I do my writing on blog posts / email newsletters or go out an make new pictures (sometimes I switch this to the start of the day based on the weather) as my best work is usually after I wake up rested. Note that I turn off all distractions and set my mobile device so only my family can contact me.
3:00 pm - snack time ( the dogs favorite part of the day next to walking ). Its very healthy to have proper nutrition and times to take a break from the tasks of the day. It’s also an excuse for more coffee.
3:30 - Housekeeping and maintenance. This is where I take care of the needs around the house or for my family needs.
5:00 - Prepare for food and spending time with family. Dinner is at 6pm! A few days a week I cook with the Weber Grill, which I find to be good therapy and sort of my hobby that benefits my family as well. As a Catholic and Italian / German, food is a central part of community.
7:00 - Take the dog for a walk. Spend time thinking during and after the walk, if I don't have family with me. It’s important to spend time thinking, even if it’s boring thoughts, as we need to give our brains a time to rest in this information overload society. Many times, I have found personally, we have a hard time making decisions because we don’t make proper time to think. The thoughts most important to us will come to the surface in due time, once we drain our brains of all the clutter.
Also, its important to take your dog for a walk every day, as it firstly helps to develop socialization, and this is a time we also establish the leadership bond with our dogs. I like to have rescue dogs in our home, as we find that when you love them with leadership they know the difference and give that love back so much more. Many people have told us how well trained our dogs have been, both in the house and on the street, and this is because we take them through the paces when out for a walk, which removes issues inside the home. As our dog behaviorist, Tracy Lenderink, often said, "Its not about obedience, but leadership. Who's at the end of the leash".
8:00 pm - Nonprofit work. This is when I work on the needs for the Catholic Men Chicago Southland that I co-founded, along with the Catholic Chicago Men’s Conference. Sometimes I move this to another part of the day if I have a coffee meeting to mentor Catholic men.
9:00 pm - Listen to an audio book or music and wind down before bed time.
Tip - One important things that helped me with this structure is from my friend Christine Harrington - as you go through your day write down in fifteen minute increments what you did. Then after each day, and then each week, look to see where your can make better use of your time. We all need structure in our lives, even though we think we need more freedom. You really don’t know where your time goes until you write it down.
"Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought." -- Pope John Paul II