If you’ve read past issues of Promotional Consultant Today, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I’m a bit of a Tony Robbins junkie. One statement that this speaker makes that has always struck a chord with me in particular has to do with keys to success. Robbins says that if you look at people who are successful, you’ll start to see common traits. He should know. He’s interviewed everyone from world leaders to world record-breaking athletes to the world’s most successful CEOs.

What makes these leaders successful is that they are productive. They get things done. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we’ll share five key traits of productive leaders from business author Eric Barker.

Are you ready to make some changes? Let’s get started.

1. Set a morning ritual. This is a key step that Tony Robbins points out in his blog. High achievers tend to have a very specific morning ritual. They might work out, spend time in meditation or prayer or take time to read the newspaper. Whatever the musings, they rise early and start each morning the same way, before they are hit with the demands of the day.

Barker says to use this morning time in two ways. 1) Determine what is important and focus on that, before your goals for the day have competing priorities, and 2) get into the right mood or mindset; feel confident and in control.

This might sound all well and good when you are at home, but what about when you walk into the chaos of the office? This leads to point No. 2.

2. Tackle important work first thing—with no distractions. Research shows that the first two-and a half to four hours after waking is when your brain is sharpest. Don’t waste that brain power on a conference call or checking emails. Use this time in the morning to get the real work done. It’s when you’re most disciplined. The longer you are awake, the more self-control problems are likely to happen, says Barker. For example, people breaks their diets in the evening.

Now, I can hear what you’re saying. You don’t have control over your schedule at work. You must attend that morning meeting because your boss expects you to attend. Understood. So, in this case, go back to another Tony Robbins mantra, “Raise your standards.” In other words, what else do you need to do to make this happen? If you can’t do the work of your choice when the day starts, then get in early or work from home before you head into the office.

3. Regroup when you slow down. Three o’clock is the witching hour for me. It’s the time that I hit the wall. My brain goes mushy. I pretty much don’t get a lot accomplished outside of being reactive to questions or projects that come to me. Sound familiar? Now what?

First, says Barker, take a much-needed break. Get a snack that will give you energy. Shut the door and take a short, five-minute power nap if you can. And the third part of this strategy is to create a mini-version of your morning ritual. Take time away from distractions to review your goals for the day. How are you doing? Are you on track? What’s in the way? What have you achieved since that morning? Progress breeds motivation, and motivation breeds energy and action.

According to Barker, researchers find that persistent people spend twice as much time thinking, not about what has to be done, but about what they have already accomplished. They believe that the task is doable, and that they are capable of it.

4. Save busy work for the afternoon. Barker says that when energy is high, focus on creative, challenging work. When energy is low, do busy work. Plan your meetings for the afternoon, or mundane tasks like expense reports or other logistical necessities. Touch base with colleagues and use that social time to get your energy back.

5. Plan a relaxing evening. Another trend among successful people is knowing when to wind down and recharge after many long hours of work. Before dinner, write down your primary goal for the next day, then let it go.

Barker says that according to the American Psychological Association, the most effective stress-relief strategies are exercising or playing sports, praying or attending a religious service, reading, listening to music, spending time with friends or family, getting a massage, going outside for a walk, meditating or doing yoga, and spending time with a creative hobby. (The least effective strategies are gambling, shopping, smoking, drinking, eating, playing video games, surfing the internet and watching TV or movies for more than two hours.)

Then get to sleep at a regular time. Sleep loss means mind loss, so make sure you get plenty of zzzzz’s.

Read PCT coming to your inbox tomorrow.

Source: Eric Barker is the author of Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong. He is also the author of the website by the same name.