Every day, we’re inundated with new schemes for helping people live more productive, successful, and professionally savvy lives. If you’re looking for a shortcut to success, it doesn’t exist. However, many business self-help programs frequently repeat the same five productivity tips, just in different ways.

1. Wake up early.

World leaders, savvy business gurus, and all other types of successful people say waking up bright and early is a key to getting a jump start on your life and your success. Establishing a productive morning routine is critical for framing your day, getting off to a good start, and achieving goals. Be sure to schedule time for a good breakfast!

2. Practice visualization.

The key to finding success is knowing what it looks like. Visualizing your goals helps you paint a portrait of what you want to accomplish through your efforts and can help you to understand the necessary steps to achieving that success. Inspiration boards, meditation, and a manifesto or mission statement can help you to clarify your vision and intentions, detailing short-term and long-term goals, as well as processes you plan to implement to make your vision a reality.

3. Take small steps everyday.

Great ideas can’t materialize into well-developed and cohesive structures overnight. Take your grand idea and break it into manageable parts, and then take those parts and break them into baby steps that you can take each day. It’s much easier to achieve a goal or complete a project when you break it into bite-sized pieces that you can really think about and perfect each day.

4. Listen first.

“Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice. Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment,” says Polonius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The best way to gain popularity and success is to listen to the advice and criticism of others and learn from it. People will tell you everything you need to know so long as your mind is open and ready to understand the messages.

5. Be consistent.

Consistency builds trust between companies and clients, and likewise between companies and employees. Although it may be hard to earn the trust of others, its harder still to keep that trust. Consistency with your work, values, and efforts helps others to understand you and what they can expect from you.

Ask friends, family, coworkers, and clients their opinions on what you do best and which of your qualities they respect. Then keep that list with you for reference and check it from time to time, asking yourself if the work you’re doing reflects those positive traits. Over time, you’ll have that list memorized and without a second thought, you’ll put those qualities into action in each and every project you undertake.

What do you think about these tips? Want to add your own? Share with us in the comments!

Ask Emily Heyward, partner at Red Antler, what tips she suggests for staying productive as a budding entrepreneur.

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