#1 What Successful People Do With The First Hour Of Their Work Day

Apparently, the first hour can make or break your day--maybe even your career. Writer Kevin Purdy turned to time-management gurus and startup legends like Brian Tracy, Brian Karp, Julie Morgenstern, and Craig Newmark for advice on how they knock it out of the park day after day after day.

#2 What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

Laura Vanderkam. author of the book "What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast," breaks down her 5-step process for getting the most out of your morning.

#3 The $1.3 Trillion Price Of Not Tweeting At Work

Ryan Holmes, the CEO of Hootsuite, examines the business case for social media, and why we all need to stand up and take note (especially since at last count only 20 CEOs of Fortune 500 companies had Twitter accounts).

#4: 6 Simple Rituals To Reach Your Potential Every Day

Becoming and staying productive isn't about hard-to-follow programs or logging your every move in an app, says career coach Amber Rae. It's about daily self-care that anyone can do.

#5: What Successful Night Owls Get Done Before Bed

Research by the London School of Economics and Political Science found that people with higher IQs are more likely to be night owls. Fast Company contributor Lydia Dishman digs up a few of them to share tips on how to best burn the midnight oil.

#6: The Link Between Quietness And Productivity

HR expert Roberta Matuson makes a case for quiet, reflection--and vacation--as productivity strategies.

#7: 8 Signs You've Found Your Life's Work

Wondering if the job you have now is "the one"--or just another stop on the way to something more fulfilling? Career coach Amber Rae's 8 tips for knowing whether it's time to settle in or keep moving.

#8: Measuring An Employee's Worth? Consider Influence

The performance review of yesterday was based on results like sales or goals met; Fast Company writer E.B. Boyd examines the concept of evaluating employees based on influence.

#9: Do Like Steve Jobs Did: Don't Follow Your Passion

Author Cal Newport's controversial take on the more nuanced backstory of Steve Jobs's career, and whether he truly got there just by loving what he did (discuss!).

#10 Hate Small Talk? These 5 Questions Will Help You Work Any Room

Do you love going to events, but find yourself stranded during happy hour, tongue-tied and tucked in a corner? Author Allison Graham shares 5 unexpected questions that will help break the ice in any situation.

#11: The One Conversational Tool That Will Make You Better At Absolutely Everything

Bonus material ahead: In December's breakout story, Content.ly founder Shane Snow teaches us how to formulate the types of questions that will yield priceless insights for your business.

The Most-Read Leadership Stories Of 2012

Productivity. Passion. Connections. Here's what Fast Company's audience learned about being a success at work this year, based on the top Co.Lead stories of 2012.

Mom always said breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and apparently that's how Fast Company readers feel about their first hour at work—it's a make or break time not only for the day, but maybe for their careers.

In the most popular Co.Lead article of 2012, writer Kevin Purdy turned to time-management gurus and startup legends like Brian Tracy, Brian Karp, Julie Morgenstern, and Craig Newmark for advice on how they knock it out of the park day after day after day—and why what they choose to do (or not do) first matters as much as it does.

Laura Vanderkam, author of What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, examined a similar theme in her eponymous article, which broke down her surefire, can't-lose, 5-step process for getting the most out of your morning (hint: it starts the night before).

Don't worry, though, night owls—we haven't forgotten you. In our fifth most-read post of 2012, Lydia Dishman talks to some famously successful night owls who do their best work after everyone else is in bed, and their strategies for being productive post-sunset.

Click through the slideshow above to see the rest of Co.Lead's top 10 stories for 2012.

What career advice are you looking for in 2013? Tell us about it in the comments, and sign up for our Co.Lead newsletters for the best of our career advice delivered to your inbox.

—Erin Schulte is the editor of Co.Lead. Follow her on Twitter @erin719nyc.

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6 Comments

  • Lisa

    Great leadership stories are being published here and these
    stories teach us lot of things which are highly essential and helpful in case
    of learning any leadership skills. These skills will be helpful in case of for
    the people those who want to learn more and more things about the leadership
    qualities. I really appreciate this kind of writing.

  • Heidi Richards Mooney

    Thanks so much for a year of great reading (actually several as I have been a subscriber to the magazine before the Internet version). What I most like about FC is the way the writers get the the "heart of the matter" with every article, not your typical ho-hum way but in a slightly edgy and sometimes controversial but always conversational manner. I feel as though the writer is speaking directly to me, something that is often lacking in today's copy.  I love sharing FC wisdom with my Twitter, FB and Linkedin Followers and will look forward to continue the practice in 2013!

    Wishing everyone at Fast Company a year of Promise, Prosperity and Purpose!

    With warm regards,

    Heidi Richards Mooney, Founder
    Women in Ecommerce and President
    Redhead Marketing, Inc.

  • Sherwood8028

    As I enter my 84th year, my "career" interests are waning, but I still seek to be involved based on many years in employment counselling.  What seems to be missing now is the fact that the concept of a career is fading.  Innovations in industry are out-pacing the idea that a person can find a job that  offers the possibility of retirement.  Ideas will change, products will become obsolete, factories and warehousing facilities will close and open elsewhere, stability will become an elusive goal.

    Educational goals must be restructured with an eye to the future and designed to develop confidence in the person, rather than a knowledge of what used to be.

    My recommendation: stop with this nonsense of have "friends" in the social media and concentrate on developing relationships with those who are - even now, re-creating tomorrow.

    It may be just a dream today, but it could become your worst nightmare.

  • Crward

    Dear Sherwood8028,
    What wisdom you pass along. I am 30 years your junior and have felt for a long time that career is more of a concept than a reality. I have passed through many workplaces in my life and in very different industries. The common theme, what I have come to call "my career" has been finding and devoting my energies to building satisfying relationships while trying to earn enough money to survive.
    I agree with you the image of career from when you and your peers were in your 30's seems to have changed dramatically with technology and the passage of time. And, I also agree that spending time on social media just because doesn't seem the most effective way to advance one's career.
    I have come to believe that education, formal or informal, comes in many forms throughout our lives and we benefit from being open to it.

    My hope is that you have someone younger who would sit down with you and ask questions about work and careers so they, too, could benefity from your experience.

    Be well. Thank you for contirbuting.