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David Ramos/Getty Images

13 Habits You Should Steal From Successful Business Figures

David Ramos/Getty Images
David Ramos/Getty Images

Just what does it take to be as productive as Thomas Edison or as financially successful as Elon Musk? A great routine, for one. MBANoGMAT, a search site for online MBA programs, gathered some of the unique habits of super-successful inventors and business leaders to analyze the behaviors that separate legends from the rest of us.

The keys, according to the infographic (there’s a bigger version here), are strict scheduling, plenty of reading, exercise, and the right mindset. Musk divides his days into five-minute blocks of time; Buffett says he spends 80 percent of his day reading; Richard Branson (like many of his wealthy peers) gets up at 5 a.m. to work out every day; Thomas Edison, who ended up with 1093 patents at the end of his life, famously touted the benefits of failure.

Your boss probably won’t let you use the excuse “but Warren Buffett does it!” when she finds you reading a novel at your desk in the middle of the day, but no one will blink twice if you start marking off your calendar obsessively like Elon Musk or Ben Franklin. Or, in many modern offices, if you adopt Mark Zuckerberg's hoodie uniform.

The Habits of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs [Infographic]
Source: Habits of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs

MBANoGMAT (enlarged version)
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Why Your Phone's Airplane Mode Isn't Just for Flying
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There are plenty of steps you can take to boost your productivity: You can design the perfect home office, buy an organizer, and pack your schedule efficiently. But none of that matters if you can’t help but check your phone every five minutes once you finally start a project. To avoid this distraction, Tim Ferriss, author of the 4-Hour Workweek, uses a surprisingly simple trick that he recently shared on his podcast.

As Business Insider reports, Ferriss has his phone on airplane mode for 80 percent of his day. That includes the hours after he's finished dinner and is winding down for bed all the way through the morning hours when he's planning the day ahead.

Cutting yourself off from all calls, texts, emails, and social media isn't always practical, especially during the work day when your coworkers might need to contact you. But if you ever set aside time to be alone, either for mindful reflection, personal projects, or general downtime, the only way to make sure you're really alone is to unplug. Leaving your phone in another room or powering down all together might be agitating if you're addicted to your phone, and even on vibrate mode phones can still be distracting. By switching it to airplane mode, you can get the mental comfort of checking your phone compulsively without the actual notifications to pull you away from your task.

For some people, breaking their addiction to technology isn't as easy as activating a setting on their phone. If you're serious about reducing your screen time, try these tips.

[h/t Business Insider]

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The Only Way to Answer ‘What Is Your Greatest Weakness?’ In a Job Interview
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Thanks in part to the influence of Silicon Valley and its focus on the psychological probing of job applicants, interview questions have been steadily getting more and more abstract. As part of the interview process, today's job seekers might be asked to describe a vending machine to someone who’s never seen one before, or plan a fantasy date with a famous historical figure.

Even if the company you’re approaching isn’t fully on board with prodding your brain, at some point you may still come up against one of the most common queries applicants face: "What is your greatest weakness?"

"Some 'experts' will tell you to try and turn a strength into a 'weakness,' to make yourself look good," writes Inc. contributor Justin Bariso. "That advice is garbage."

"Think about it," Bariso continues. "Interviewers are asking the same question to countless candidates. Just try and guess how many times they hear the answers 'being a perfectionist' or 'working too much.' (Hint: way too often.)"

While responding that you work too hard might seem like a reliable method of moving the conversation along, there’s a better way. And it involves being sincere.

"The fact is, it's not easy to identify one's own weaknesses," Bariso writes. "Doing so takes intense self-reflection, critical thinking, and the ability to accept negative feedback—qualities that have gone severely missing in a world that promotes instant gratification and demands quick (often thoughtless) replies to serious issues."

Bariso believes the question is an effective way to reveal an applicant’s self-awareness, which is why companies often use it in their vetting process. By being self-aware, people (and employees) can correct behavior that might be affecting job performance. So the key is to give this question some actual thought before it’s ever posed to you.

What is your actual greatest weakness? It could be that, in a desire to please everyone, you wind up making decisions based on the urge to avoid disappointing others. That’s a weakness that sounds authentic.

Pondering the question also has another benefit: It prompts you to think of areas in your life that could use some course-correcting. Even if you don’t land that job—or even if the question is never posed to you—you’ve still made time for self-reflection. The result could mean a more confident and capable presence for that next interview.

[h/t Inc.]

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