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We probably all think about it from time to time: What do rich people have that we don’t (aside from the obvious)?
Financial planner, Tom Corley, studied over 350 wealthy—and not-so-wealthy—people for five years and wrote about it in his book Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.
“During his research he identified over 200 daily activities that separated the ‘haves’ from the ‘have nots,’” according to his Amazon.com bio.
By implementing the “rich habits” he learned in his own life, Corley increased his salary 100 percent and lost weight. He recommends doing even one “rich habit,” if not all.
Everyone from Dave Ramsey to Marketplace Money has featured Corley’s advice, and it’s about time we all do, too.
Below are eight of his strategies that any of us can adapt. All we need is some discipline and to reprogram our brains. Some say it takes 21 days before something becomes a habit, and I think the below are worth trying.
1. Get Up Early
How early? At least three hours before work, Corley’s research found, to do self-improvement-type things, like exercising or reading. He does it, too, waking up at 4 or 5 a.m. to write for 1-2 hours.
His study found that 44 percent of the wealthy woke up three hours before work, while three percent of the non-wealthy did. “But I’m not a morning person,” you may be saying.
I doubt many people were before they started to see the added benefits to being one. As someone with many writers as friends, nine out of 10 wake up early to write before they go to their daytime writing jobs or before their children wake up.
“I start to relish this ‘me’ time,” my friend Kate says. I think, if all these people can do it, why can’t I? Or you?
2. Time Management
You probably hear this phrase—“time management”—a lot. I know I do, but it’s true. Time management is key, I think, and Corley’s research proved it, too. No minute should go unused, and each should be productive.
3. Make A To-Do List… And Follow It!
How many of us make to-do lists, in a notebook or in our phone, and then don’t do all the items on the list? It seems like a no-brainer that actually completing the tasks is essential, but I feel too many people make the lists and do not follow through.
Corley found that completing the day’s list is key, and 81 percent of wealthy people in his study used them, while 19 percent of the less-wealthy did.
Personally, I prioritize my to-do lists and write the most pressing tasks at the top, then work my way down. Some are definite must-dos for the day while others can be done the next day.
4. Stay Healthy
Corley’s research discovered that wealthy people mind what they eat, they work out, and they don’t drink too much alcohol. In fact, Corley found that 70 percent of the wealthy in his study ate less than 300 junk food calories a day.
In addition, 76 percent of those wealthy people did aerobic exercise four days per week, while 23 percent of poor did.
5. Stay In For Lunch
Corley says his study found that it’s best to work through lunch—unless it’s a lunch to network. Otherwise, skip it and focus on your task(s) at hand.
In general, however, Corley doesn’t dismiss the idea of networking. He found that 79 percent of the wealthy he studied networked five or more hours per month, while 16 percent of the less wealthy did.
7. Don’t Gossip
Yes, just like your parents taught you growing up, “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.” Corley found this to be true and said the wealthy treat their relationships carefully, “like gold,” and did not gossip, while the less-than-wealthy gossiped a lot more, sixty percent of them.
8. Get Offline
I know, you’re online now reading this (thank you), but Corley’s research showed that wealthy people limit their Internet use to an hour a day… and keep it related to their work or business. (Gasp!)
Often when I am writing, I turn off my phone notifications and ringer, or turn off my phone completely, so that emails don’t distract me. Once an hour, I take a five-minute break, but often I get so immersed in work that the break happens a few hours later.
This may sound tough, but once you try it, you’ll get used to it. And when you see how much more productive you are, soon it’ll be no big deal to not send personal emails or log onto Facebook for the entire day. So, I agree with Corley on this one for sure… except when you’re reading Simplemost, of course.
You can check out more “rich habits” on Corley’s website.
Photo by Courtney Dirks