Regardless of lifestyle, industry or profession, successful people share many of the same rituals. Instead of getting wrapped up in all the office drama and politics, they tend to work behind the scenes. Here are some tips to help you work more quietly and diligently, making you more productive and successful.
Start your day with a calm, consistent morning routine: When you start the day in a calm, mindful state, it’s easy to focus and get the right things done. If you wake up and stress is already upon you; your phone’s ringing, emails and texts dinging, fire alarms going off, you spend the whole day reacting, instead of being proactive.
This means you’re not in the driver’s seat working on your priorities, which is what drives success. You’re simply responding to what gets thrown at you, whether it’s important or not.
Try to have the first hour of your day vary as little as possible. A trusted routine can be extremely effective in helping you feel in control and non-reactive, which reduces anxiety and stress, and therefore makes you more mindful and competent. How you start the day has an enormous effect on your overall effectiveness.
Eliminate all needless busywork: At some point we all wonder, “Why is it so impossible to get everything done?” But the answer is stunningly simple: We’re doing too many of the wrong things.
Several research studies have shown people never get more done by blindly working more hours on everything that comes up. Instead, they get more done when they follow careful plans that measure and track key priorities and milestones. So, if you want to be more successful and less stressed, don’t ask how to make something more efficient until you’ve first asked, “Do I need to do this at all?”
If you think about it, it’s actually kind of ironic that we complain we have so little time, and then we prioritize like time is infinite. So, do your best to focus on what’s truly important, and not much else.
Do what needs to be done, TODAY. While everyone else is talking about it, successful people are quietly doing it. It doesn’t matter if you have a genius IQ and a PhD in quantum physics, you can’t change anything or make any sort of real-world progress without taking action. There’s a huge difference between knowing how to do something and actually doing it. Knowledge and intelligence are both useless without action. It’s as simple as that.
Successful people know that a good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed someday. They don’t wait for the “right time” or the “right day” or the “right circumstances,” because they know these reactions are based on fear and nothing more. They take action here and now, today – because that’s where real progress happens.
Stretch yourself to the edge of your ability, sometimes it needs to be hard and uncomfortable. That’s how your brain grows. We learn when we’re in our discomfort zone.
When you’re struggling, that’s when you’re growing stronger and smarter. The more time you spend there, the faster you learn. It’s better to spend an extremely high quality 10 minutes growing than it is to spend a mediocre hour running in place. You want to practice at the point where you are on the edge of your ability, stretching yourself over and over again, making mistakes, stumbling, learning from those mistakes and stretching yourself even further.
Use your obstacles for growing and learning: Many of the most iconic novels, songs and inventions of all time were inspired by gut-wrenching pain and heartbreak. Therefore, the silver lining of these great challenges is that they were the catalyst to the creation of epic masterpieces.
An emerging field of psychology called Post-Traumatic Growth has suggested that many people are able to use their hardships and traumas for substantial creative and intellectual development. Specifically, researchers have found trauma can help people grow in the areas of interpersonal relationships, contentment, gratitude, personal strength and resourcefulness.
When our view of the world as a safe place, or as a certain type of place, has been shattered, we are forced to reboot our perspective on things. We suddenly have the opportunity to look out to the periphery and see things with a new, fresh set of beginner’s eyes, which is very conducive to personal growth and long-term success.
Stretching yourself to your limits: You learn best when you’re stretching yourself beyond your previous level of comfort.
Turn to your intuition when making tough decisions. Intuition is very real and something that is never wise to ignore, because it comes from deep within your subconscious and is derived from your previous life experiences. When faced with difficult decisions, seek out all the information you can find, become as knowledgeable as you possibly can and then listen to your God-given instincts.
Successful people know that trusting your intuition is equivalent to trusting your true self; and the more you trust your true self, the more control you have of making your goals and dreams come true.
Keep some kind of personal notebook: Successful people track their progress, set goals, reflect and learn from their mistakes. They also often use some kind notebook to accomplish this. If you want to get somewhere in life, you need a map, and this notebook is that map. You can write down what you did today, what you tried to accomplish, where you made mistakes and so forth. It’s a place to reflect. It’s a place to capture important thoughts. It’s a place to be able to track where you’ve been and where you intend to go. It’s one of the most underused tools, yet it’s an incredibly effective one.
Have a mentor to consult with. Regardless of what you’re trying to achieve, you cannot do it alone. It can be hard to learn from books.
Sometimes the Internet makes it difficult to separate truth from fiction. You need someone who has been where you want to go to show you the ropes, your own personal mentor or coach.
Yes, 10,000 hours of diligent practice can make you an expert, but what makes you dedicate 10,000 hours to something in the first place? The answer is having a great mentor or two. If you study the lives of enough successful people, it becomes obvious that most world-class performers in all fields…athletes, musicians, entrepreneurs, artists, and others, have incredible mentors, coaches or role models who made the activity of practice worthwhile and rewarding.
Sometimes, just observing a mentor works wonders too. When we observe someone we want to learn from and we have a crystal clear idea of what we want to create for ourselves, it unlocks a tremendous amount of motivation.
Human beings are socially inclined and when we get the idea that we want to join some elite circle up above us, that is what really motivates us to achieve greatness. It may sound overly simplistic, but spending time studying people who are great can be one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself.
Always welcome honest feedback and criticism. It is good if you are being criticized for doing, saying or thinking something that’s out of the ordinary. That means you’ve taken a stand for something. That’s a huge part of being successful.
Follow in the footsteps of enormously successful people by learning to effectively process the criticism you receive. Hateful and negative criticism should be received, assessed and then let go, while constructive criticism should be evaluated and acted upon.
Solicit feedback from people whose opinions you value, people who have been where you want to go. Remember to be gracious when receiving feedback; when you are, all the people around you will be more likely to give you their support and honest insight in the future.
Keep your pride in check: Admit when you make a mistake. Say you are sorry. Know that you can’t possibly know it all. Have big dreams and follow them. Admit you owe your success to others too. Poke fun at yourself from time to time. Ask for help when you need it. Make mistakes and fail. And then try…try again!
There are no permanent jobs or absolutes on this planet. We are all just interning and exploring here. Learn from everyone, remain humble, and don’t forget to have a good time along the way.
That’s what successful people do.
If you want more tips for living more productively, read “The Angel Affect,” and like the Project Fit Families Facebook page for daily tips. Watch for my new book “Shine: Illuminate Your Life’s Pathways” coming soon.