10 Simple Daily Habits That Anyone Can Use To Become Smarter

Jennifer Chan
6 min readNov 30, 2017

Do these now.

There are two kinds of “smarts”: book smarts and street smarts. You need both in order to succeed.

Similar to success, developing your intelligence is not a result of one big fortuitous moment.

It is built upon a series of daily habits that slowly grind away the obstacles that lie between us and our goals.

Here are the top 10 things I incorporate into my life every single day that has paid dividends:

1. Wake up at 5:30 AM and read, write, or exercise.

I have a love-hate relationship with waking up early. My bed is the most comfortable thing ever. However, even though I loathe when I hear my alarm annoyingly buzzing beside me, I have to get out of bed then in order to start the day off right. I yawn, make coffee, and sit at my desk. For the next hour and a half, I write. I write for my blog. I write for Medium. I write for no one and everyone. Sometimes the piece does not turn out well. Other times, it turns out fantastic. Either way, the result is never as important as sticking to the process and I am able to begin the day doing something I love.

2. Make a To-Do List during breakfast that consists of no more than 5 tasks.

It is crucial to identify what needs to be done that day before you actually head into work. In my case, I limit myself to a maximum of 5 tasks. In most cases, I only accomplish 3 to 4. For me, this alleviates most of my feelings of overwhelm and I can simply focus on ensuring that a few things are done well.

3. Read or listen to podcasts during your commute to work.

If you have ever taken the subway in Toronto during rush hour, you would know that it is a nightmare. People in expensive suits are packed into each train like sardines. As much as I try, during the morning there is little to no chance that I have enough room to hold a book in front of me to read. Instead, I pre-load several podcasts on my phone — all of which are educational. A few of my favourites are The Garyvee Audio Experience, The Art of Charm, The Chase Jarvis Live Show…

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Jennifer Chan

Productivity, craftsmanship, and the pursuit of excellence at work. Writing now at jennifertchan.substack.com.