4 Habits of Successful CEOs

Despite having 24 hours each day like everyone else, CEOs seem to have a supernatural ability to manage an overwhelming amount of tasks. And while there is no regimented schedule that guarantees success, many brilliant executives have some of their daily habits in common. 

The following routines have played a huge role in their success, and anyone can adopt these small lifestyle changes to help pursue and systematically achieve their goals.


Waking Up Early

90 percent of executives wake up before 6 a.m. on weekdays and 50 percent of self-made millionaires get out of bed at least three hours before their workday begins, so it makes sense that early rising is one of the most common and talked-about traits among successful CEOs.

So why does Apple CEO Tim Cook wake up at 3:45 every morning? What are the benefits of being an early bird when it comes to business?

Waking up early gives you a head start on the day before any distractions or obligations arise. Having this time gives you a sense of control and the ability to attack the day on your own terms. Put simply, starting off on the right foot sets you up for more productive behavior throughout the day.



Regular exercise is another common denominator among successful CEOs. Whether it’s going for a run at 5 a.m., hitting the gym at lunch, or playing your favorite sport after work, exercise has a number of positive effects on your body and mind.

“I've exercised — whether it be lifting or running — religiously for the past 12 years of my life, and it has played a critical role in my daily attitude, work potential, and outlook on life,” said Hannibal Baldwin, co-founder and CEO of SiteZeus.

Oracle CEO Mark Hurd was a Division I tennis player at Baylor University and continues to play as well as host and attend tournaments in his free time. He enjoys the physical health benefits of playing tennis, but the lessons he’s learned from the sport also carry over into his business.

“Tennis is like being CEO: You can’t call timeout, you can’t bring in a substitute,” Hurd said at the Collision Conference earlier this month. “Tennis is a space where you have to go out every day, rain or shine, and you’ve got to perform. It’s just like the business world.”

Regardless of the motive, exercise can have a positive effect not only on your workday, but also on your overall well-being.


Organizing and Planning

The most successful CEOs constantly find themselves with a lot on their plate. In order to carry out their own responsibilities while simultaneously demonstrating excellent leadership,  organization, prioritization, and planning are key.

Once you’ve organized the details of your day-to-day, the next step is to prioritize the most important 20 percent of your tasks that will generate 80 percent of the results you’re trying to achieve. Creating a plan to tackle those assignments will limit any outside distractions and allow you to focus on the job at hand.

“Most people tend to focus on the 100 things they should do, which can be overwhelming and result in the failure to actually accomplishing anything of importance. I try to focus on the three to five things I absolutely have to do,” said Kevin O’Connor, founder of DoubleClick and Graphiq. “I don’t get distracted by those 97 other unimportant things that don’t ultimately contribute to my success or the success of my company.”


Continued Education

In order to remain successful and at the top of your profession, a constant desire to learn and grow is extremely important. Making time to read and stay updated on the news in your industry is imperative.

“I spend an hour or two every day keeping up with tech news on Twitter. It's not good to obsess over what other people are doing, but staying informed is certainly important,” said Michael Bruch, founder and CEO of Willow.

Whether it’s a new trend, a new technology, or a new tool, and whether it’s relevant to your profession or not, make an effort to continue expanding your knowledge.

Success means different things for different people. Whatever it may mean to you, consistently working toward that goal will require a plan. Examine your daily routine and make an honest self-assessment. Are you making the most of your 24 hours? Is your daily routine moving you in the right direction? If not, it might be time to make some changes.


Author's bio; Brian is a contributor to Enlightened Digital, long-distance cyclist, and lifelong advocate for women in business from Philadelphia. Tech and business are his lifeblood, but he's also a fanatic of brewpubs and just about every sports team in Philadelphia.

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This is a post from a CBNation writer. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue 16 Media.

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