10 ‘Harmless’ Habits to Drop If You Want to Be Successful

UPDATED: May 19, 2023
PUBLISHED: April 10, 2017
10 'Harmless' Habits to Drop If You Want to Be Successful

1. Saying Yes When You Want to Say No

If a project, partnership or opportunity doesn’t resonate with you and does not feel aligned with your values and your goals, you need to be comfortable about setting boundaries. Learn how to say no with kindness right from the start because, as you become more successful, more people will compete for your time and attention. Not setting healthy boundaries will end up in overwhelm and burnout.

—Ajit Nawalkha, Mindvalley

2. Hanging Onto People Who Don’t Want to Grow

For business owners especially, the people who got your company to where you are today may not be the ones to get you to where you want to be tomorrow. If they can’t grow with you, it’s time to replace them with those who can.

—Brandon Dempsey, goBRANDgo!

3. Working Through Lunch

Working through lunch is a habit I find a lot of business owners take on. Most justify it with, “If I work through lunch, I’ll just leave a few minutes early” and that isn’t what ends up happening. It’s hard to disconnect midday, especially if you’re in a productive spurt, but it’s important to take a few minutes to recharge. Not doing so will lower your productivity and lead to burnout faster.

—Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

4. Failing to Exercise

If you fail to exercise, that lack of discipline will translate into other areas of your life, including your business. When you exercise, you are more alert and sharp, and you will operate at a higher level.

—Ryan Shank, PhoneWagon

5. Multitasking

It is technically impossible to multitask. When you try to do multiple things at once, you effectively take away full attention and concentration from anything, and you shortchange whatever it is you are doing.

—Adam Witty, Advantage Media Group

6. Pinging People

In a perfect world, everything you do would be working toward some goal (even if it is recharging on the couch). Sending emails that do not advance a relationship because you want to “ping” them or “touch base” is at best useless and could be harmful. There are definite exceptions where being on someone’s mind is valuable, but try to connect it with value creation or a mutual memory.

—Douglas Hutchings, Picasolar

7. Striving for Perfection

I often let the perfect become the enemy of the good. The result is that I have a lot of projects that are still in the “development” queue, while I continually refine them. The fact is, however, most defects that I see are not elements that others will see. I am working on letting go of the hesitation to perfect everything that I work on.

—Mark Daoust, Quiet Light Brokerage, Inc. 

8. Not Protecting Your Recharge Time

If you’re a workaholic, it can be easy to let your own time get taken over by work, over and over until you’re not taking any time for yourself. This may seem like it’s making you more efficient, but it will start quickly doing the opposite. There’s no faster way to burn out. Don’t fall into the habit of denying yourself the time you need to recharge.

—Matt Doyle, Excel Builders

9. Immediately Answering PMs and Emails

This is by far the largest problem with many people achieving success, especially on a day-to-day basis. If you answer an email or PM, you should be committed to it, or it’ll quickly take you away from whatever task you are completing at the moment, hindering success. Plan periods every hour or two to answer daily emails or PMs.

—Obinna Ekezie, Wakanow.com

10. Not Prioritizing Your Day

I recently started using The Productivity Planner and it’s changed everything for me. It forces you to actually sit down and only pick a few things you’re going to get done, especially the things that often end up getting punted from day to day. Before that, I was letting my calendar and to-do list run my day and never felt like I was getting the important stuff done.

—Mike Woitach, Confluence Coffee Co. 

Related: 4 Things Successful People Don’t Do

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2017 and has been updated.
Photo by tumgoallife56/Twenty20

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