How to Win in Business

5 daily habits that help Warren Buffett and other business leaders stay successful

Longtime friends Warren Buffett and Bill Gates
Spencer Platt | Getty Images

Billionaire and legendary investor Warren Buffett starts his morning every day with a Diet Coke and one of three McDonald's breakfast items: A bacon, egg and cheese biscuit; a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit or two sausage patties.

While that high-sodium habit probably isn't one you want to adopt, there are a number of daily rituals Buffett and other highly successful people follow that are scientifically-proven to help boost your career.

Here are five lifestyle habits business moguls use to stay productive:

1. Buffett makes time for his hobby

Warren Buffett
David A. Grogan | CNBC

When Buffett isn't busy being the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, he enjoys playing the ukulele.

His musical hobby has surprised many audiences. He's played the ukulele on live television, at charity events and in front of investors.

Besides drawing a lot of surprise and a few laughs, Buffett's hobby has likely helped him in other ways as well. Research shows that professionals with hobbies are more satisfied with their jobs and have a lower likelihood of burning out. A study in the National Library of Medicine shows that regular leisure activities helps a person manage negative feelings like stress.

Former Google executive and career coach Jenny Blake encourages professionals at every level to make time for a fun activity after work or on the weekends.

"[Hobbies] are often one of the most effective ways to come up with those 'aha' moments," Blake says.

2. Bill Gates reads, a lot

Bill Gates
Lacy O’ Toole | CNBC

Both Buffett and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates read voraciously.

Buffet starts his mornings reading The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Forbes, and checks in on The Financial Times, The New York Times, the Omaha World-Herald and American Banker throughout the day.

Gates reads every night, making his way through about 50 books every year.

"Reading books is my favorite way to learn about a new topic," he writes on his blog. "I've been reading about a book a week on average since I was a kid. Even when my schedule is out of control, I carve out a lot of time for reading."

Reading has several scientific benefits. Research published in the Journal of American Academy of Neurology finds that people who engage in mentally stimulating activities like reading experience slower memory decline than those who do not.

It also boosts creative thinking. Brain scans taken of college students who had read a thriller showed increased activity in the areas of the brain related to language comprehension and sensation.

If you're interested in cracking open a new book, check out these business and entrepreneurship classics.

3. Richard Branson exercises

Sir Richard Branson
Julian Finney | Getty Images

Billionaire Richard Branson wakes up at 5 a.m each morning to work out. He's an avid runner, tennis player and cyclist. In fact, the Virgin Group co-founder completed a marathon and has his own charitable triathlon.

"I definitely can achieve twice as much by keeping fit," Branson tells FourYourBodyPress. "It keeps the brain functioning well."

Exercising helps the brain reduce stress, which helps you focus. A research team based at Princeton University found that physical activity actually "reorganizes the brain so that its response to stress is reduced and anxiety is less likely to interfere with normal brain function."

It also helps you think outside the box. Stanford researchers found that the act of walking boosted a person's creativity by an average of 60 percent.

4. Jack Dorsey meditates

Twitter Chairman and Square CEO Jack Dorsey
Bill Pugliano | Getty Images

Twitter co-founder and Square CEO Jack Dorsey takes 30 minutes to meditate every day, according to New York Magazine. It helps him manage the demanding life of a Silicon Valley tech leader.

Research also shows that meditation boosts areas of the brain related to paying attention. It's also been shown to help in stress management.

If you're interesting in starting a meditation practice, bestselling author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss has some great advice:

"Start small, rig the game so you can win it, get in five sessions before you get too ambitious with length," Ferriss says on his podcast. "You have to win those early sessions so you establish it as a habit, so you don't have the cognitive fatigue of that practice."

5. Arianna Huffington does yoga

Arianna Huffington
David Orrell | CNBC

The media mogul regularly makes time for early morning yoga and meditation, according to Vogue.

A University of Texas study found that yoga helps reduce fatigue, which almost every professional could use. And according to a growing body of research, the ancient practice helps people manage stress and has been linked to positive changes to the immune system.

"When I practice yoga, I feel aligned," Huffington writes on Facebook, "a balance that stays with me long after the mats are rolled away."

Check out the key takeaway from the business classic Bill Gates and Warren Buffett say you need to read

How Warren Buffett overcame his crippling fear of public speaking
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