14 Essentials That Help Today’s Leaders Do Great Work

YEC (Young Entrepreneur Council) surveyed some folks about one thing they need to do good work. Here are the responses.

What one thing do you need to do your best work?


1. Exercise

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I need my morning workout. I always start my day with some sort of workout, whether I’m playing tennis, taking a spin class or going for a run. It gets my head in the game and allows me to organize my thoughts for the day. When I’m in a funk or feeling overwhelmed I tend to want to skip the gym, but I always force myself to go and am a much better leader when I do. – Gina MancusoLoveThatFit




2. Sleep

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A lot of people brag about their ability to go on little-to-no sleep. Not only is this not the case for me, but I’m pretty certain doctors would say that’s unhealthy. One adage I do not live by is, “you can sleep when you’re dead.” I’d prefer to sleep every night for eight hours if possible. – Darrah BrusteinNetwork Under 40 / Finance Whiz Kids




3. Lists

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When I am at my best, my mind is split into two sides: the thinking side and the doing side. The tool that connects those two sides together is a simple list. The hardest thing to do as an entrepreneur is to consistently think about all of the problems and opportunities your company faces. To get things done, you need to turn that side of your brain off and just get to it. Lists help me do this. – Lawrence WatkinsGreat Black Speakers




4. A Second Screen

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When I travel for extended periods of time, I realize how crucial a second monitor is to my productivity and workflow versus just using a laptop. My 30-inch monitor helps me complete tasks faster, review work from my team and accomplish so much more during meetings. Despite apps and systems to be more productive, the second monitor is the secret sauce in my highest levels of productivity. – Natalie MacNeilShe Takes on the World




5. Clearly Defined Goals

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The most critical piece for me to do my best work is to know exactly what I’m working towards. Taking the time to understand the outcome of my effort, how it will be used and why I am doing something helps me clarify my goals and build a roadmap to achieve it. If I know where I need to end up, I can almost always execute in creating what I want and doing my best work. – Andrew ThomasSkyBell Technologies, Inc.




6. Good Headphones

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Focus is sometimes hard to come by. Knocking out the background noise and zoning in requires some good earbuds to help bring in the good vibes. That and music obviously; pick what makes you feel good and allows you to focus on what you need to do. – Chuck ReynoldsLevers





7. A Great Routine

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Being an entrepreneur means a constant competition for attention from business opportunities, challenges, personal health, family and so on. If you can’t handle the “knowns,” the “unknowns” will knock you out. A steady routine to handle the controllable parts of your life is essential to give you the appropriate time and mental space to manage the highly variable parts of your life. – Jack HanlonKinetic Social




8. A Dry Erase Marker

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All I need is a dry erase marker and a surface to write on and I’m good to go. Add space to pace as a bonus. I like to write on whiteboards but like windows even better. – Mike Ambassador BrunyAmbassador Bruny Dot Com





9. Life Balance

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Most executives focus only on the business elements in their lives and forget about the importance of life balance. For me, I feel like I am able to accomplish more when living a balanced, healthy lifestyle. I always make time to exercise, spend time with important people in my life and rejuvenate. – Sean MarszalekSDC Nutrition, Inc.




10. A Supportive Team

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Nothing done well is truly done alone. From inspiring interactions to constructive feedback, the quality of the team is a huge factor in determining the quality of any one individual’s work. Even my most seemingly autonomous tasks are benefited by the fact that my team does their part, thereby allowing me the time and space I need to do mine. So, the best team makes my best work possible. – Manpreet Singhtalklocal




11. A Good Workflow

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To better manage my team and ensure high productivity, I need to have a good workflow. Currently we use several different tools to help improve our workflow. From an organizational standpoint, we use Asana. From a coding standpoint, we use GitHub. From an editorial standpoint, we use a WordPress plugin called Edit Flow. Having these three tools helps me do my best work. – Syed BalkhiOptinMonster




12. Time to Think

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As an entrepreneur with an up and running company, it’s easy to get caught up in the operations of the business. I’ve found that I do my best and most valuable work when I have time to myself. If you’re the visionary, it’s important to have time to think about the company, the market and what you can do to stay ahead. There’s a lot of competition, so you need to be creative and innovative to win. – Carlo CiscoSELECT




13. Pressure

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As selfish as this sounds, if I don’t realize the impact of what I am potentially doing, I won’t be able to work my best. We do so many things as entrepreneurs that sometimes we might be on “auto-mode.” I constantly remind myself on every project of the potential impact it can bring for our company and for the client themselves. This pressure allows us to give it our all and be hungry to succeed. – Kenny NguyenBig Fish Presentations




14. Time Limits

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Self-imposing deadlines is a great way for me to get my work done. Intuitively, you’d think this means I’m being rushed. But in reality it prevents me from getting distracted by going on Twitter, blogs, YouTube, etc. Most tasks don’t take nearly as long as you’d think they do if you train yourself to operate by self-imposed deadlines. – Adam StillmanSparkReel   Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.



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Young Entrepreneur Council

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective (http://businesscollective.com), a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

  • mtmdee (Deb Payson)

    Very helpful ! Thank you

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