A lot has changed for me in the past 10 years. I was teaching English to students in Japan at the time, but since that time, I have gone on to write three books. The most recent, The One Thing That Changed Everything with Jim Rohn’s 18-year business partner Kyle Wilson, 2x memory champion Ron White and 35 other amazing entrepreneurs, is becoming an Amazon best-seller. Who knew? A kid who almost flunked English three times in high school, and here I am.

I started off with Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, and proceeded to go through 700 books and audio programs on the topics of personal development, productivity, marketing, and copywriting (here are some awesome ones), and here I am. What I’ve learnt (and it really shouldn’t be a surprise) is that successful people and high performers do things differently. The best news, though, is that much of their habits are easier than you might realize.

1. High performers value their time. 

The great business philosopher Jim Rohn is famous for saying in practically every one of his seminars, “You can get more money, but you can’t get more time.” High performers understand that the most powerful currency is time and what they do with the time they have. Results are the name of the game for high performers. They want maximum results in a reasonable amount of time. The more they invest, the greater the reward must be.

2. High performers understand the power of planning.

Legendary management expert Brian Tracy believes “Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution.” I can attest to this from personal experience as poor planning leads to wasted time, wasted energy, and wasted money. The best plans still don’t go according to plan, but they minimize damage in those three areas.

3. High performers schedule reading into their daily routine.

Reading is not an option for high achievers; it’s a must. They schedule reading time into their business week. Whether it’s reports, magazines, or books, they know that to stay one step ahead of their competition, they need to fill their mind with new information.

4. High performers make health a priority.

Taking care of your health will likely give you the best return on investment in your life. According to Harvard Medical School, regular exercise benefits men (and women) in 5 different ways.

  • Have a healthier heart.
  • Keep your brain sharp.
  • Control blood sugar levels.
  • Possible lower cancer risk.
  • Stay strong and mobile.

It’s also worth noting that the National Sleep Foundation has found that those people who exercise regularly earned 65 percent improvement in their sleep quality.

5. High performers know the importance of focus.

Focus is where it’s at. High performers know that 2 90-minute blocks of concentrated focus will achieve more than most people achieve in 12+ unfocused hours. Apple icon Steve Jobs is famous for transforming Apple into the powerhouse that it is with the iPod, iPhone, and finally iPad. He would spend only 3 hours each day in developing each item. That’s something to think about.

6. High performers surround themselves with successful people.

The ancient proverb “Birds of a feather flock together” has to be one of my favorites. Whether it’s in high school with the jocks, the cheerleaders, the cool kids, the class clowns, the nerds, and the geeks, or in the business world, people like to surround themselves with like-minded people. Want to be more successful? Start hanging out with more successful people. It’s pretty simple, and it’s something all high achievers understand.

7. High performers use N.E.T. 

I forget where I learned this, but I have always referred to this as chunking: two tasks done simultaneously without (key point) detracting from the other. Listening to personal development programs while exercising is a great example.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Adrian Shepherd

Adrian Shepherd started his career as an ESL teacher in Japan, but today focuses on consulting with individuals and companies on productivity. His background in education helped him develop The One-Bite Time Management System (TMS), a revolutionary new system based entirely around simplicity: small bites that people can digest easily. He is also a contributor for the Huffington Post, Thrive Global and The Good Men Project. He is based in Osaka, Japan.