To give my two cents. My most valuable habits...
- Having experimented with various online tools (Evernote, OneNote), for my general to do lists, I've gone back to pen and paper. I have a folder of about 30 pages of A4. Each has a topic (property, investments, personal, different aspects of my day job/other businesses). Pages are in alphabetical order. Every evening, I review the pages and write a one-sheet to do list for the next day. Crossing out completed tasks out remains satisfying and having it on paper means I can always see the day's to do list without it taking up a screen.
- In MS Outlook, use recurring reminders in the calendar for regular activities, set a one minute delay on all outgoing emails. Saves time for when inevitable after-thoughts hit you. Separate account for all property emails.
- Automate activities whenever possible. All of my property activity is wrapped up in an ever-improving Excel spread sheet. All dates, checks, metrics etc. are automated. Dashboard with a traffic lights system on all aspects of the property portfolio (I'm a property geek with a small g). Specialist software would no doubt do the same, but I like the flexibility of Excel.
- Outsource to experts whenever possible. Hated this at first, but that 500 quid you pay your accountant/tax advisor/broker saves you thousands.
- As someone else has said - exercise, fresh air. Healthy body, healthy mind! Some of my best ideas come to me when out running.
- Read (listen on audio) plenty of non-fiction. Rob and Rob recommend great books, Bill Gates publishes a bi-annual recommendation list, non-fiction best seller lists are good. I mainly read non-fiction, only indulge occasionally in self help (I'm motivated enough and the messages are generally fairly similar). I try to limit my news intake (not so easy these days) and other distractions like social media (there's a time and a place for that). Kill notifications!
- Listen to podcasts! Better information than any MBA.
- A general habit I have developed is to always look for solutions or to add value in any task. Even something as mundane as answering an email, there is value to be added, eg updating the filing system so that information is available next time I'm answering the question, or saving a template answer or whatever. For higher level stuff, I always try to find solutions to problems and consider how to add value in a situation.
- Throw a lot against the wall - explore as many different ideas as possible. Examining all sorts of crazy ideas leads to success in a few and you learn from the stuff that doesn't work out.
- As others have said, positive thinking is vital. Success probably breeds positivity, but I'm sure positivity breeds success.
Habits that I am working on improving
- Networking and meeting people. I'm better in some areas of life than others. Need to improve my network in UK property (not always easy from Switzerland, but that's a poor excuse).
- Delegate - and keep delegating. Although my work life balance is good, I should delegate more so I can take on more. 'No' is also a good word to use occasionally. Starting new projects/working on new ideas is a great way to force yourself to delegate other tasks (unless you're a control freak).
- Active listening. It's all too tempting to talk, but so much better to listen.
- Ask for help. People generally like to help and it saves time and money.
- Never read the bottom half of the internet. It's a sewer. Even more important - never get into an online debate. Life is way too short.