THE BLOG
11/06/2014 08:39 am ET Updated Jan 06, 2015

3 Habits Highly Productive People Do Every Day, Even If They're 'Too Busy'

"Productivity" is such a buzz word these days that hundreds of books, apps and systems have popped up hoping to teach us the magic formula.

But at the end of the day, really getting the most out of your life comes down to the fundamentals.

Successful people have known for years that to stay productive, it's essential to build habits that organize your day and help you get the most out of your time.

Here are 3 of the most powerful habits that highly productive people do every day -- even when they're pressed for time.

1.) They're early risers.
There was probably a period of time in your life where it was easy stay up late into the night (or early into the next morning) trying to get things done. If your anything like me, however, that period was over a long time ago.

Recently, I've come to realize that all eight-hour periods just aren't created equally.

Going to bed at 10 p.m. and waking up at 6 or 7 a.m. is exponentially better than going to bed at 3 a.m. and waking up at 10 or 11 a.m., even thought the time frame is the same. I've tested this over and over again and the evidence is pretty clear: I don't perform well if I stay up past 11 p.m.-ish.

Early risers really do have a distinct advantage when it comes to mental clarity, acuity and energy. Simply put: Waking up early works better than any other strategy for becoming more productive. But you have to make sure you get enough sleep to back it up. So get to bed!

I've had to give myself a bedtime and be my own parent by ruthlessly enforcing it -- which is harder than it seems, because I've been programmed to stay up late for so many years.

2.) They start every day with an intention, focus or meditation.
Starting your day with a clear idea of what you want to do changes everything.

Have you ever had a day where as soon as you woke up, there were already missed calls, text messages and emails screaming for your attention -- and you felt like you were struggling to stay afloat before breakfast? Oh, that sounds like every day, you say? That needs so stop.

If you like, you can meditate. You know, cross-legged, a candle, with some nice music playing in your ridiculously expensive Beats headphones.

But if that's too much, you can just "take 10."

Take 10 quick breaths, think about your main objectives for the day, and then get moving. This seems too simple to have an effect, but it's not. If you're used to getting up already in battle mode, then you've probably forgotten how it feels to have a moment to yourself.

Take a few of those minutes back and refocus yourself. It really helps.

You can also use that time to create a better to-do list. Here's how to create a to-do list that practically does itself.

3.) They train their bodies.
Working out is probably the highest leverage tool in your arsenal that can make you feel predictably better and keeps you both physically and emotionally healthy year round. If you want to have the mental energy to take on a large workload, and you have a full calendar of to-do's that people want from you -- you have to be in the gym.

Period.

Training yourself physically not only gives you benchmarks to hit on a regular basis, but it also creates a predictable backbone in your daily life that you can count on, even if everything goes wrong. Mentally, that's very comforting.

Trust me, I know that integrating these habits into your life won't be easy at first. But if you're not healthy, your business can't thrive anyway. Consider them a long-term investment in your business.

This article was originally published at Rich20Something.

Daniel DiPiazza is a bodybuilder, book nerd and professional waffle maker who writes at Rich20Something.com. Join his free newsletter and get actionable tips to help you start a business you care about and live a happier life.