by Niall Doherty

Leadership guru Robin Sharma advocates taking what he calls a “holy hour” each morning, 60 minutes devoted to self-mastery and personal development. During this 60 minutes, he might read inspirational books, mediate, review his goals, or just simply take time to think.

Given his success, that daily habit obviously works well for Robin. I was curious to learn about the daily habits of a few of my favorite folks online. So I asked them. The question went like this:

Is there something you do every day — something most people don’t do — that helps you be at your best?

I got great responses from nine impressive people. Here they are…

Corbett Barr, Free Pursuits & Think Traffic

Corbett writes about no-nonsense lifestyle design at Free Pursuits, and also knows a thing or two about building a popular website. His response:

Let every day flow. Creative work takes long periods of intense concentration. To achieve that, you can’t make each day too rigid or pre-planned. Schedules are deadly to creativity, so avoid planned meetings on days when you need the creativity to flow.

Everett Bogue, Far Beyond The Stars

Everett is learning how to sail, but that’s not really important right now. The important bit is that he teaches you how to apply minimalism in order to live and work from anywhere. His response to my question:

There are three elements that I need in my day to make everything work.

  1. Movement. I have to either walk, bike or take the train somewhere. This gets the ideas flowing. For instance, today I walked up to the UC Berkeley campus and grabbed a table at a local coffee shop to work.
  2. Time constraints. I only let myself work for 2 hours max per day currently. I find that if I say to myself “I have to get everything done by the end of two hours.” Everything falls into place much quicker, and there’s less incentive to get distracted.
  3. Eliminating distractions. When I write, I turn everything else off. Tweetdeck, my email, any other projects turned off. I use Writeroom or Evernote on my iPhone to single-task the art of writing until I’m done with whatever idea I’m working on for the day.

Karol Gajda, Ridiculously Extraordinary

Karol writes about freedom, health, travel and life at Ridiculously Extraordinary. He doesn’t mind people stealing his shit. His response to my question:

Yes, there is actually something I do that most people don’t.

Eating a plant-based diet provides a clarity that is not possible to

achieve otherwise.

(Quick aside: Karol no lie. I also found that I could focus better and think more clearly after switching to a plant-based diet. Read about my experience here.)

Chris Guillebeau, The Art of Non-Conformity

Chris helps people live life on their own terms as he visits every country in the world and fights the status quo. His response to my question:

I always try to be thinking about the next action. I work on a lot of projects on any given day, so the goal is to continually push the boulder up the hill on each one, even if only a little. Small pushes combined with a continual bias toward action = highly effective.

Benny Lewis, Fluent in 3 Months

Benny speaks a billion languages — give or take — and reveals how you can speak them, too. He’s also Irish, so you know he’s a legend. His response to the habit question:

Waste no time and read/study/listen at every traffic light, supermarket queue and elevator. Time-box tasks into 30 minute chunks and switch immediately when time runs out so you don’t spend too long at one thing. Enjoy solitude if it helps you focus, but get out of the house, socialise and exercise to make sure your mind is truly balanced.

Jonathan Mead, Illuminated Mind

Jonathan is the good kind of crazy. He wants you to follow your dreams, and delivers self development tools to help you be extraordinary. His response to my question:

Probably the highest leverage habit that I’ve installed in my day is mindfulness of how I feel, and allowing my feelings to guide me. I have a list of the way I feel when I’m doing my best work, and I use those to guide the actions that I take, instead of doing it the other way around. I’ve come to realize that I have access to the way I want to feel right now, without having to do anything to create it. When I cultivate the emotional state I want to be in — and feel good — the actions seem to take care of themselves.

Andi Norris, Instigationology

Some say Andi pees victory and belches respect. Away from metaphors, she thought-provokes, motivates and instigates at her lifestyle design blog. Her response to the habit question:

I don’t do one thing everyday. I have a several ways of getting myself “in the zone” if I don’t wake up in it, such as stream of consciousness writing, running, etc that I rotate through depending on how I feel. But mostly, I do what I want and then what I need and trust that nothing will ever be enough for my hunger but everything will be enough to keep moving forward.

Tammy Strobel, RowdyKittens

Tammy wears cool hats while helping people live simple, authentic and uncluttered lives via her writing on RowdyKittens. Her response to my question:

Rising early is the best thing I’ve done for myself. I’m able to go running, practice yoga, write or read. Incorporating these activities into my morning routine has helped me get centered and focused for the day ahead.

Colin Wright, Exile Lifestyle

Colin writes regularly about lifestyle design, minimalism and world travel. He’ll also be in New Orleans next week, disrupting the rabblement with instigating Andi. His response to my question:

Every day I take 20 minutes to do literally nothing – no music, no games, no reading, no work, no computer – I just sit quietly and let my mind wander as it will. I call it my 20 Minutes of Awesome, and it allows me to clear my mind, reboot my mental CPU and refocus my attention on things that really matter. Often afterward I’ll realize I was focusing my attention on the wrong things and immediately am able to tackle the things that I SHOULD be concentrating on, instead.

A massive thanks to all of the above. Lots of good advice in there.

If you like the above post, you might be interested in reading about a recent, week-long project of mine called Random Acts of Courage. The idea was to go out every day and attempt ten different challenges, each one designed to push me out of my comfort zone. The week began with me speaking on national radio, and ended with my first Salsa class and a freshly shaved head. In between I did some street singing, lay down in a department store, flirted with the hottest girl in the room, and a whole lot more. Watch videos and read all about Random Acts of Courage here.

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