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Sun Dec 04 08:05:24 SAST 2016

Little secrets of the biggest nobs

©The Daily Telegraph | 2016-10-19 07:49:23.0

An early start appears to be key to success in business, according to a study of 27 famous figures by business loans company Fleximize.

Bill Gross, co-founder of investment firm Pimco, is dressed by 4.45am and begins work before trading starts at 5.30am.

Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up at 3.45am, handles e-mails at 4.30am, and heads to the gym at 5am.

Although many workers skip breakfast, the world's top achievers often pause for food. Arnold Schwarzenegger has coffee and a bowl of porridge, while Sony's Kazuo Hirai opts for eggs, fruit and a bagel, the research found.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wears the same style of grey T-shirt every day to save time.

Motivation is also important. Upon waking up, Steve Jobs looked into the mirror and asked himself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer had been no for too many days in a row, I knew I needed to change something," he said.

What about when you get into the office? We spoke to some CEOs to find out their secrets.

Split your working day in two

Silvio Kutic, CEO at Infobip, a global SMS messaging platform provider, works the equivalent of two days over a 24-hour period - from 9am-5pm then 9pm-1am.

"During this second shift I become a student again, filling my thoughts with books, blogs, and research papers on business growth and development. It's something I don't get a chance to address during the first half of my working day when my diary is constantly filled with meetings."

Take three deep breaths

"Rash decisions are far more likely to produce bad results," says Alexei Miller, managing director of technology consulting firm DataArt. "Three deep breaths keep children from saying something stupid and it helps execs avoid doing something stupid too."

Pucker up for difficult phone calls

Morag Blazey, UK CEO at Ebiquity, a marketing analytics specialist, says lipstick is her "little trick for difficult work calls. You know the type of call, the ones you keep putting off but have to do. Just put on your lipstick, stand up and make the call. It makes me feel in complete control, poised and ready for any difficult conversations."

Dress to impress

Simon Lewis, CEO of creative film house Magnafi, matches his outfit to his meeting. "I always dress for client meetings to co-ordinate with their logo or campaign. I recently won a campaign, based around having a big heart, after finding a Paul Smith shirt with hearts on two hours before the meeting."

Try a staff singalong

"Every morning, just to get everyone on the same wavelength, I get the team to stand up and sing along to whichever motivational song fits the tone of the day," says Brian Lonsdale, director of Smarter Digital Marketing. "It brings our team closer together."

Take a day a week out of the office

Aimee Bateman, CEO of Careercake.com, says: "I work from home, don't leave the house and cut contact with everybody. Part of it is to take a digital detox, but it's a great way to reflect on your business's progress without distractions."

A walk in the car park

Niall McBain, CEO at Spafax, the world's largest provider of in-flight entertainment, says a walk can relieve tensions "long after things appear to be irretrievable". After a heated meeting of two hours, McBain and his client went for a walk in the car park.

"As we meandered among the cars outside, we talked frankly about the positions we were coming from. We were able to return back to the meeting and conclude our business with some small changes that made everything more mutually agreeable."

Get up early for quality time with your children

Rob Hunter, managing director at Hunterlodge Advertising, says his work suffered from not spending enough time with his children.

"I now get up 20 minutes earlier and play table tennis with each one of my three kids before work."

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