There’s a lot to be said for having a consistent daily routine. Many leaders try to create good habits like exercising and writing out their to-do lists for the day to help them stay productive and on task. But sometimes, the most beneficial daily practices are ones you might not instinctively think to do.
We asked a panel of Forbes Coaches Council members to share the surprising daily habits that have helped their clients thrive as leaders. Whether you’re looking to shake up your existing routine or create a new one, it’s worth experimenting with some of these habits to find the right fit for you.
1. Take 20-Minute Technology Breaks
It shouldn’t be surprising that as a leader you are often bombarded. The need to check your phone becomes compulsive and you become “busy.” I encourage my clients to utilize the do-not-disturb option on their phones and schedule 20 minutes to talk to their teams, walk around the office, or even get outside. This short period can help reset a bad day or give some fresh perspective. – Maresa Friedman, Executive Cat Herder
2. Carve Out Time To Think
Several of my clients carve out time for reading and strategic thinking. Carving out means booking a meeting on their calendar on Mondays or Fridays to simply catch up on industry news, current research, and think about upcoming projects with a focus not on implementation, but on how those projects fit into the overall mission and vision of the company. – Tonya Echols, Thrive Coaching Solutions
We need to continually take in new information to open our minds to new ideas and ways of thinking. Good leaders are willing to take in differing opinions and consider their merit. Furthermore, leaders who read also make notes on the ideas that strike them. Even if it is not something they can use at the present time, they will keep the information as a reference for when the time is right. – Ed Krow, Turbo Execs, LLC
4. Let Unscheduled Phone Calls Go To Voicemail
Unscheduled phone calls can be one the biggest disruptors of your day. Whether you’re not prepared to discuss the topic that is being discussed or you spend too much time on small talk, unscheduled calls can often break your productivity flow. I encourage my clients to allow unscheduled calls to go to voicemail and plan time to listen then respond during a scheduled time, unless it’s an emergency. – LaKesha Womack, Womack Consulting Group
5. Make A Daily Pen-And-Paper To-Do List
Nothing enables success daily as much as having our clients feel they are on top of their work instead of feeling like their work is on top of them. The daily habit I encourage is going “old school” by leveraging the power of a daily paper planner versus electronic to-do lists to set daily priorities and focus. A few minutes with it at the start and the end of each day makes a difference. – Ann Farrell, Quantum Endeavors, Inc.
6. Write In A Daily ‘Pain’ Journal
The most significant growth occurs when we identify the experiences that trigger our sadness or anger, finding patterns in those experiences, and working to respond to those scenarios differently. By tracking the action, environment, and people involved, you can feel empowered, knowing that you’re designing an emotionally intelligent way to respond and more deeply engaging those around you. – Michael S. Seaver, Seaver Consulting, LLC
7. Prioritize And Take Small Steps Toward Personal Goals
The most productive and successful leaders excel at prioritization towards a goal. Many find that setting long-term goals broken into achievable milestones are the best way to achieve success. By setting weekly and daily targets towards a goal, it is easier to plan and obtain each milestone. Daily reflection allows you to prioritize and focus their energies wisely while shedding distractions. – Erin Urban, UPPSolutions, LLC
8. Wake Up One Hour Earlier
People often think you can miraculously become a morning person, which is far from the truth. What I teach is that if you find yourself not having enough time, consider waking up one hour earlier every day. Waking up just one hour earlier each day will give you an extra 21 hours a month of productivity to stay caught up or clear your calendar for other obligations. – Ben Newman, The Ben Newman Companies
9. Have A Vibrant Life Outside Of Work
Being a leader carries a high level of pressure and responsibility. The best way to thrive as a leader is to ensure you keep critical outlets alive and well. Being busy is the worst time to let outside activities — hobbies, sports, exercise, learning — go, yet this is the sacrifice many businesspeople make. When you have outside balance, you can bring continued passion to work with you. – Laura DeCarlo, Career Directors International
10. Schedule Buffer Time Between Meetings
Busy executives go from meeting to presentation to meeting, looking frazzled and sounding disconnected. The successful ones schedule a buffer between each meeting and are more deliberate about what they will say and how they will say it to influence their audience. Their assistants also know to only accept 45 rather than 60-minute meetings to guarantee a 15-minute buffer. – Shoma Chatterjee Hayden, ghSMART
11. Create And Stick To A Morning Routine That Works For You
Successful leaders do something that most unsuccessful leaders don’t. They have a routine for success. They start their day off with a routine that works. For example, I start my day with a workout, meditate and have a green drink. This sets my state of mind for the rest of the day, and I am ready to take on the world. Start with something that serves you, your work and brings out the hero in you. – Stephanie Vaughan, One Source Coaching
12. Change Up Your Commute Every Day
Take a different way to and from the office each day. You have to move from habit and comfort zone if you are taking new ways to get to places you normally go. An added bonus is you might just find something new and exciting on your adventure. – Sharon Sayler, Competitive Edge Communications
13. Spend One-On-One Time With Each Team Member
Spending time with individual team members is the most time-tested style of successful leadership. Such leadership style requires discipline and planning. It is easier done in small and midsize businesses than large organization. However, considering that the direct reports are usually smaller groups, it is still viable. It could be as simple as having a cup of coffee and listening to the person. – Kamyar Shah, World Consulting Group
14. Reflect On What You’re Thankful For
One of the most simple yet overlooked habits that lead to greater success with my clients is taking time to be thankful. As little as five minutes each day lowers anxiety, improves focus, and helps clients get rooted in their present success as a starting point for whatever they will need to tackle during the day. Gratitude helps makes the challenges of the day a little more bearable. – Billy Williams, Archegos
This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.