How 40 of the world’s most successful business people plan their workdays

“We are what we repeatedly do,” said Greek philosopher Aristotle. “Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

What does it take to become a successful business leader? Smarts? Dedication? Vision? They all help. But the real foundation for success is more straightforward. It’s about making the most of your number one resource, and that’s time!

So to help you cultivate some productive habits, small business loan provider OnDeck analyzed the daily routines of 40 business titans.

SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk starts his 16-hour workday by checking emails, making calls, and morning meetings with his senior staff. That takes him through to lunch, which is always followed by a walk around the factory floor. Then it’s more emails and meetings before clocking off around 11.30 pm. In total, Musk works around 80 hours a week!

But Musk’s 80-hour workweek is the exception. Many highly successful business people stick to an average 8-hour workday to reduce the risk of corporate burnout.

Other business magnates work even less, including billionaire investor Mark Cuban. His workday begins at 6 am and is over by 1 pm. “Hard work is necessary,” says Cuban. “But focus on what you can get done. Rather than getting caught up in how many hours you work, judge success by hitting goals and targets.”

Technology entrepreneur Bob Troia spends the first three hours of his day brainstorming in his private study. It’s an excellent strategy. Scientific research shows our brains are most active just after sleep, making early mornings a great time to explore new ideas.

But don’t worry if you’re not a morning person. Tiny Capital CEO Andrew Wilkinson is worth a cool $471 million, but he never starts work until after midday!

Here’s how all the 40 successful business leaders plan out their workdays.


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