Daily habits of Chevening leaders: how to boost your productivity in 2024

It’s a new year, which brings new opportunities, new hopes, and new goals. To help you make the most of this fresh start, we asked our Chevening community to share their top tips on how to seize the day and make the most of your precious time.

Everyone knows that a good day starts with a good morning. Chevening Alumna Deepti Ameta studied at the University of Sussex in 2012 and has since worked as the Chief Operating Officer of Udyogini, a women’s empowerment NGO in India. Today, Deepti is a successful independent consultant and recognises how important it is to start the day right, especially when you’re responsible for managing your own time:

‘I maintain a regular morning routine which includes a 5km walk, followed by a healthy breakfast while listening to current affairs. This keeps me fit, focused and up-to-date and helps me to feel emotionally anchored in a stressful world.’

Setting up a morning routine can be the key to setting yourself up for daily success. Focus on what works for you – it could be something as minor as taking the dog for a walk each morning. A few small positive actions like this can quickly add up and make a real difference to your daily wellbeing.

So, once you’ve conquered your morning routine, what can you do during your workday to improve your leadership skills?

We asked Mahmoud El Sakka, a 1990 Chevening Alumnus who today holds the prestigious position of Advisor to the Prime Minister of Egypt on privatisation.

As a leader, Mahmoud emphasises the importance of showing up for your team on multiple levels:

‘Try not to miss any social gathering with your team and colleagues. This can help to solve a lot of problems and promotes a sense of togetherness and team spirit.’

He also adds that it is important to read widely in your field and share your learnings with colleagues:
‘Read an article every week and share it with your team. The article could be on a wide range of topics, whether it’s managerial, social, or political.’

It can be especially important to maintain good daily habits during times where you feel particularly busy or stressed at work. When you have a high workload, it’s common for ‘self-care’ routines to be sacrificed in the name of productivity. Chevening Alumnus Mustafa Marwan is a writer and works for the International Committee of the Red Cross. He has a top tip to prevent feelings of overwhelm around work:

‘I do “Pomodoro rounds” on the days where I feel like I’m struggling with time management.

This means 25 minutes of work followed by a 5-minute break. When I have a large workload, it helps me to organise my work in segments of time like this, instead of by task.’

No matter what the habit is, the key to building a successful daily routine is identifying what works for you. Why not take some time in 2024 to evaluate your old habits and experiment with building new ones?

Find more tips on becoming a Chevening leader here.