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"You get up at what time?"
I hear that a lot, along with "You are so lucky." So, I'm going to help out here and let you in on the secrets of my success. Well, not all of them--but enough to show you the foundation I build on every day.
1. Wake up early. For the next week, get up a half an hour earlier that you normally do--and get going. If you get a few more things done, then get up even earlier the next week. Early in the morning is a great time to get work done because most of your associates have not started emailing, tweeting, IMing, or posting yet. *UPDATE: The rebuttal for those who want to argue this point
2. Read the headlines and watch the news. Not only should you know what is going on in the world, you will also be the first to recognize opportunities (if you followed #1) for you and your business--long before the competition has even had their first cup of coffee.
3. Send something to one person who can hire you or buy your product--something you promised to follow-up with, a quick email with a link to something relevant or a "Hey, just checking in to see how thing are going" email.
4. Touch base with an old friend or associate you haven't talked to in ages. Ask how they are, what are they working on and ask or suggest how you might help. You'll make their day.
5. Write a handwritten note to someone. Seriously. It is a lost art and makes quite an impression. There is always someone you can send a thank you note to--or you aren't doing things correctly.
A simple yet highly effective list. Try all five every weekday for a month. Then, tell me I'm right. If I'm wrong, I'll buy you a cup of coffee. When you finally wake up ...
Looking for more advice to rev up your career? Check out these recent stories from Fast Company:
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Dayna Steele is a serial entrepreneur and author who travels the country creating rock stars with her "Rock Star Principles of Success." Follow her on Twitter @daynasteele. You can listen to the podcast version of her Fast Company Leader blogs on iTunes.
[Image: Flickr user jamelah]