I believe its author Stephen Covey who covers the habits of successful people. I didn't read the book, but I've heard it referenced among other authors and individuals enough that I know some of its facets. As an entrepreneur, I've learned what works and generally what doesn't work. I've discovered that some of my natural traits and instincts served me well in business. So, I thought I would guide others by sharing what are the things that I do that help me to succeed.
Discipline -- and it's a job not a get-of-out-work free card. When you run your own show, you will find temptations abound. You don't have a boss. You don't have a supervisor. Your only person driving the team is YOU. If you're not disciplined and don't have enough fortitude to avoid temptations such as a bike ride at 2pm vs. work then it's very likely you'll run right into problems. I learned from the first day I went independent that you go to your desk and you do the work. Even when the work isn't on deadline, you still go to your desk and market and promote your company. In the last seven years, I have never had a day without work. In fact, I always have multiple projects running, but regardless I am disciplined and treat the job like a business. Notice I didn't say job! It's not a job. It's a business -- and yes, there is a difference.
Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Yearly Goals -- you absolutely need goals. If you don't have daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals, you will find you're a bit aimless. My daily goals are project goals. If I meet my project goals early in the day then I treat myself to some time off. If I don't meet those goals, I either work late or flip the goal to the next day. Goals give us "achievement lines" to cross. They give us a sense of purpose and an idea of where we're going. My suggestion is to write down your daily goals on a calendar and check them off as they're achieved. I've done this for years.
Know what you suck at doing and find someone else to do it (so colloquial of me LOL). I love the word "suck" in this reference. I can at least smile when I say it. This "suck factor" really means know your weaknesses and strengths. What you excel at doing, doing more of it. If you suck at something, hire someone else to do it for you. I am the worst at minutia and details. I have an operations manager who excels and even loves the down-and-dirty details. Just because you don't like it, doesn't mean another person doesn't just love it and is great at it.
Proactive vs. Reactive -- don't let the daily tasks at hand become nothing but pure reaction. When you spend your day putting out fires vs. fanning the flame for success then you are very likely 1. stressed out 2. not effective and 3. anxious 24 x 7. A proactive manager thinks ahead -- but most importantly is knowledgable and knows what to think ahead about and doesn't wait for the fire to explode. He or she thinks what could happen and then (my favorite phrase) "gets out ahead of it" to prevent the explosion. For example, if you know that clients tend to complain when they don't actually "see" progress then you make it a policy to always show them progress. See how that works? Then they don't have anything to complain about. Getting out ahead of problems results in 1. calm management 2. well-managed projects and 3. happy clients.