You can have the greatest attitude, a strong telephone presence, and the best recruiting and client development skills. But if you lack strong work habits, you are destined to failure.

Work habits are comprised of the following seven components:

1. The Plan

The plan is how you are budgeting your time. Your time is fixed and limited and deserves to be allocated in blocks of time. Think of your day starting at 4 p.m. You spend the time late in the afternoon divvying up the hours of the next day into segments where each hourly focus is fixated, with laser-beam intensity, on one type of activity. If you spend that block of time on one type of activity (such as only recruiting calls from 9 to 11, or only qualifying calls from 11 to 12) then you synergize your efforts and increase your effectiveness.

2. The Goals

Start each day by finding the answer to this question: What are the two or three things that I need to accomplish today in order to consider it a successful day? Write them down. Congratulations, champ. Statistically, you have just tripled the odds of achieving those goals because you invested seven seconds in scribbling them on a sheet of paper. Personally, I write these daily targets on a dry erase board next to my desk, where I also have my ultimate career goal, my annual billing goal, my monthly goals, and weekly targets.

3. The Start Intensity

How soon do you start your day? Do you tackle the morning or do you let the next day sort of ooze into existence? The way you perform all day depends upon how you start it. Be aggressive in the start time and you’ll see a significant improvement in your end time. If you start doing administrative items instead of making phone calls, then you never seem to get around to making phone calls. How you start your day is the way you’ll end up finishing it.

4. The Execution

Most of us are successful in spite of ourselves, not because of ourselves. You can always get better. You can always improve how you do what you are supposed to do. The energy of your execution, doing what it is you are supposed to do the way you are supposed to do it, should always be an increasing challenge for you. This will keep you from getting burned out, washed up, and overall tired of the business. If you ever feel this way, then start seeing how much more you can get done in a day.

5. The Hour-by-Hour Focus

Things started clicking for me several years ago when I heard Brian Tracy say that each day should have an hour-by-hour focus. I took his advice and created a tool that helped me to stay focused on the phone and strive to reach a certain number of conversations per hour. Check out my Telephone Discipline Tool, which will help you reach more people than you ever have because it breaks your day into an hour-by-hour goal focus.

6. The Distancing Of Distractions

The biggest distraction that a recruiter used to have was his cubicle neighbor. Now it’s email. I heard a six-month rookie share with me how she doesn’t check email except when she has it scheduled in her plan. Think about it: normally you’ll check your emails in between phone calls and think that you might as well respond to them because they might be urgent. It’ll just take a few seconds, you tell yourself. Forty minutes later, you have carefully crafted only two responses and lost all track of time and have screwed up your plan. ‘Rapture of the Email’ will keep you out of focus and out of balance when it comes to getting things done. Schedule time in your day to check your Email, to make your personal calls, and to chat with your friends in the office. By distancing the distractions during your precious prime time, you’ll have more energy and more concentration on the task at hand.

7. The Continuous Observation

A question that I heard Brian Tracy ask on an audio program regarding time management has helped me more than anything. During the day and throughout the day, ask yourself this question: “What is the best use of my time, right now?” Continuously observe how you are spending your day and question the best use of it. By doing this, you will always bring yourself back in alignment with doing those things that need to get done and not those things that distract you and keep you away from you achieving all that you truly deserve to achieve.

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