Last year you may have seen my series of posts around International Women’s Day, including a post on inspirational women of the 21st century. As well as my interviews with Jacqueline Fernandez, CEO and Founder of What You Do Matters and Laurél Alleyne, a producer working in the TV industry.
I wanted to take this opportunity to look at positive things anyone can do to be a bit more like the successful women we aspire to be. So to mark this year’s International Women’s Day I’ve put together a selection of good habits from successful women that you can start today!
Get enough sleep
If you know me at all, you’ll know that this is one habit I can definitely get behind! I love my sleep which might not totally be in line with the habit of getting just “enough” sleep, as I do love me a lie in. But fear not, if you’re not a morning person either. You can still be successful and have your lie in!
Arianna Huffington suggests that “a good day starts the night before,”. With this in mind, it’s also a prime opportunity to get organised for the day ahead. Things like planning your outfit and sorting out your bag (personally, not having this ready the night before, often means I’m late in the mornings). And of course, ensuring you get enough sleep to make sure you are well rested for a productive day.
There are certain apps that can also help you tune into the optimal times for you to fall asleep. Check out SleepyTime which will help you calculate the best time to go to bed in order to wake up in between sleep cycles, ensuring you wake up feeling your best.
This goes for all devices. TV, computer and phone! This tip is not only a proven habit from the likes of Arianna Huffington and Sheryl Sandberg, but is proven to be better for your health.
Turning off all electronic devices up to an hour before bed, will help you fall asleep quicker and ultimately have a better night’s rest. Blue light when checking your mobile or using your tablet, encourages the release of cortisol in the brain. This makes you more alert and therefore will impact your ability to sleep straight away.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 10 years, it’s quite easy to feel disconnected when you’ve been away from your phone for 2 mins. But a little FOMO never hurt anyone, so I highly recommend starting this habit straight away.
So, turn off your phone tonight and thank me tomorrow!
I couldn’t really get away with this list and not include this habit, albeit not one of my personal favourites, it’s one that I see from countless successful people.
Not expecting you to hit the gym all day erryday – I certainly don’t! But putting time aside to do some physical activity during the week will obviously benefit your physical health. Daily/weekly exercise routines are a part of most successful people’s schedules, with many starting their day with a run or a workout session.
“My morning run is when my head is most clear and when I synthesize all of the things that are going on in my head,” Jessica Herrin, founder of Stella and Dot.
Health benefits aside, making a habit of exercise will help in other areas of your life and improve things like stamina, competitiveness and encourage goals. All things that can also benefit your work life.
Leave work on time
Whilst there’s an unspoken stigma about leaving the office at 5:30 on the dot, not doing so can actually have more of a negative impact on both your work and personal life. That’s why it’s important to ensure you give the appropriate time to both. This includes clocking out at the right time.
Unless you have a major deadline that you need to meet, staying late often just makes you a martyr for nothing.
“I walk out of this office every day at 5:30 so I’m home for dinner with my kids at 6:00, and interestingly, I’ve been doing that since I had kids,” – Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg actually swears by leaving work at 5:30 in order to make time for her family also. Leaving work is not just about clocking out of the office, but making sure you make the time for the things outside of work. Invest time with your family and friends and just as important, invest time in yourself. Which leads me nicely to my next point.
Make time for yourself
Doing this is key to ensuring you down burnout! Everyone needs a little bit of me time now and again so put aside some personal time for yourself.
This could be as simple as 30 mins everyday at lunch. You should dedicate time where you can step away from your desk, go for a walk or read a book. I know in some work environments it’s easy to get tied down to your desk. Some people (and I include myself here) can be guilty of eating lunch at their desks.
This is not productive. In fact it’s the opposite and can lead to mind block. Sometimes even a short 10-15 min break can help to keep you fresh and productive at work.
Learning to accept failure can be a difficult habit as it’s easy for us to dwell on our mistakes. The key is not to be ok with it, but to learn from it.
JK Rowling got rejected by 12 publishers before finally getting the first Harry Potter book published! Does that make her a failure?
Accepting failure doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It simply means you didn’t get it right this time and now you have the chance to try again.
Ignore the haters
And finally, probably my most favourite habit/advice is from former FLOTUS; Michelle Obama.
“You have to learn how to, as we say here, ignore the haters […]. You got to keep them out of your life. You have to surround yourself by people who lift you up. And if it’s one voice, keep that voice close to you.” – Michelle Obama
Learning to ignore the haters as well as block out any negativity is a lot harder than it sounds. With online platforms making it easier for people to troll anonymously it’s understandably difficult to ignore some not-so friendly comments. But ultimately, phasing these out and ignoring them will empower you to rise above any negativity. Check out these other inspiring quotes from the Former First Lady here.
So that makes my list of top good habits to start today, have any advice of your own to share? Be sure to also keep up with all the latest International Women’s Day news via the hashtag: #BeBoldForChange