10 Daily Rituals That Will Make You Work Smarter

Whether you plan out your to-do list the night before or designate certain times to "unplug," it's often the little changes in your routine that have the biggest impact on the productivity of your day. Follow these rituals to ensure you stay on-task.

A. Plan Your Day the Night Before


Every day before I leave the office, I check my backlog and assign the tasks I want to accomplish the next day. I use this opportunity to check my calendar and ensure I have the appropriate time to complete the tasks. When I wake up in the morning, I know exactly what I need to do and I can start my day without having to figure it out. - John Koht, kohactive

A. Keep a Rolling To-Do List


I keep a rolling to-do list for the week on a spreadsheet. At the beginning of each day I run through and prioritize the tasks for my day. At the end of each day I review what I managed to get through and re-order remaining tasks. This process helps me evaluate where I've spent my time and set more realistic expectations, and it serves as an inspiration to cut out things that aren't a good use of time. - Bianca Silva, Pajers

A. Do the Hard Stuff First


You know that thing you don't want to do? The task that makes you procrastinate? Do that first. Getting the tough stuff over with will make your to-do list instantly feel lighter and more manageable. Tackle tough tasks in the beginning of the day and it'll be smooth sailing until it's time to clock out. -Jaime Derringer, Design Milk

A. Make Your Bed


I make my bed. Starting the day with this simple, productive and moral daily ritual sets the tone for the rest of the day. After winning that battle (i.e. me out of bed, bed under control), I know it's going to be a great work day. - Adam Halper, Whatsgoodly Inc.

A. Multitask the Right Way


Multitasking is bad; however there is one caveat. I multitask every day at least once but I do it the right way. Every day when I hit the gym and the blood is rushing through my body, my mind is at ease and open for creativity. I put on my headphones and blast the latest podcast, TED talk or audible book I just bought. This is the best use of my time during the day, hands down. - Tim Grassin, Candy Banners

A. Read Books


Read a physical book daily. There are so many brilliant business books, and getting offline to read something each day is a great way to relax while still learning. It's easy to read an article online, but all the open tabs and notifications make it never be a truly focused, singular experience. Being able to focus on one piece of content -- away from a screen -- helps recharge you. - Mike Sheffer, First Dynamic

A. Develop a Proactive Game Plan


Take a few minutes at the end of each day to plan out the next one. Proactively choosing how you want to spend your time makes it far less likely that you'll let your inbox dictate your priorities. - Jules Taggart, Jules Taggart Marketing Strategy

A. Don't Check Your Email in the Morning


I get into the office around 8:30 a.m. and spend the first two-and-a-half hours of my day working on my most important tasks and avoiding my email at all costs. If you go down the email black hole first thing in the morning, it's unlikely you'll be able to be very productive when you come out. - Lisa Curtis, Kuli Kuli

A. Drink and Dine


Every morning I make sure to drink a large glass of water and have breakfast (which includes food that is chewed, not just caffeine). I find I am less distracted by my physical needs and can think clearly on the tasks at hand for the day. Research has shown that it revs up your metabolism, boosts cognitive function, as well as reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes. - Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs

A. Hit the Gym and Connect With Friends


As great as it is to be the boss of your own business, you don't want to be held captive to your desk all day -- even if you do work from home. Getting out and breaking up your day by hitting the gym or connecting with friends is a great way to take a mental break and increase productivity when you get back to work. We all work hard, so reward yourself throughout the day with something you enjoy. - Zac Johnson, How to Start a Blog

These answers are provided by members of FounderSociety, an invitation-only organization comprised of ambitious startup founders and business owners.