Successful people realise that they can’t do everything. They can’t be everything to everyone. The secret to their success is being good at prioritising and good at delegating. Delegation may be to someone else or it may be to a tool or resource that automates functions that you require.
In the 19th century the Italian economist and philosopher Vilfredo Pareto worked out that, no matter what we are working on, only a small number of items provide the most results. It’s called the Pareto effect but more commonly known as the 80/20 rule;80% of your results come from only 20% of your effort For example 80% of sales come from 20% of customers. 80% of a manager’s problems come from 20% of their workers.
So it’s important to identify the small things that bring most of the results you desire. It is those things that you need to give your focus to and to prioritise over others.
1. THEY MINIMIZE AND GET RID OF THE RUBBISH
Successful people get rid of the things that do not serve them. Professional organisers who help people declutter will ask their clients 3 main questions;
1. When was the last time you used it?
2. Doesit serve you?
3. Can you replace it if you needed to?
Clutter, is a distraction, whether it be in your physical space or digital space, whether it be mental or relationships. Yes, even relationships! Do you have some clients you need to let loose as they consume too much of your time or friendships that have run their course and no longer fulfill you? Successful people live minimally; will remove all things that do not serve them and are not essential.
2. THEY LIVE A LIFE ON TRACK AND ON PURPOSE
You will be most productive, most effective, doing something that fulfills your highest values. We value things that are easy, that we are good at. Or because we value them highly, we do them over and over until we are good at them. For example, the things I value highly involve organising, for creating order out of chaos, for making sense of things. I will constantly seek knowledge in this area and be good at organising. If I focus in this area, things magically (or not) fall into place for me, I am acting on purpose.
You can follow the values of someone else, the dreams and aspirations of someone else, but when you are true and aligned with your own purpose, your own vision, and your own mission, things will fall into place far more often.
3. THEY STAY ON TRACK
It’s easy to become distracted, to stray off course. It’s worth giving yourself regular “check-ups” to monitor where you are at. Now check-ups can apply in health, but it can also apply to goals, career paths, business plans, financial plans. It doesn’t hurt to stop, take stock, reassess and re-evaluate. In the same way, you may say “oh, my health is just fine”, you may say “my goals are clear”. Be willing to change course if it’s needed, to reconsider whether your plans are still relevant and ring true to your needs.
4. THEY USE THEIR BRAIN, NOT THEIR BRAWN
This was a favourite quote of my grandfathers. A highly intelligent man who left school at an early age. He could have been anything he wanted but the depression drove him into the labour workforce. He taught himself how to do many things, including building his own house despite not being trained in this area. But his motto in his labour work was to find the easiest way to do something with as little effort or muscle work required. Find the most economical use of energy and time by focusing on the results, not the work. Consequently, successful people will delegate, outsource and automate as soon as they can, eliminating their personal effort.
Rather than getting paid for time, successful people are compensated for the value they produce.
5. THEY HAVE ROUTINE AND SYSTEM
Systems create habits and allow you to become more automated. Becoming more automated allows you to improve your productivity. Part of habit and routine can include a killer morning routine. Exercise is a great method for fast tracking the brain into action, while meditation or reading allows creates a positive mindset for the day.
6. THEY HAVE A LIMITED DAILY TO-DO LIST
This one might seem quite surprising but there is great psychology behind this. Those that are able to tick off and complete all things on their to-do list have a greater sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. They experience less stress by not dwelling or fretting over tasks not complete. Their task list will typically consist of only 1–5 things that really need to get done. These things are usually done before midday, leaving the rest of the day to attend to urgent and life stuff that naturally pops up.
7. THEY SEE FAILURE AS AN OPPORTUNITY
Successful people know when to drop stuff that isn’t working. Too often people don’t want to let something go because of the investment they have made into it. I know when I made the decision to end my career in the film industry, it was a hard decision to make. I had invested so much energy, time and money to reach a certain level of success. It seemed such a waste to turn my back on it but I knew it was the right decision and I’ve never regretted it.
Successful people know when they are traveling to a dead end; when to count their losses. Most importantly, they don’t see this as a failure, rather take value in the lessons that have been learned along the way, perhaps what not to do next time.
8. THEY MONITOR HOW OFTEN THEY CHECK THEIR EMAILS AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Successful people will check their email and social media just a few specific times each day. Constantly checking emails and social media can put you in a stressful, constant reactive state. Subconsciously, this places you at the mercy of other people’s agendas.
Most people wake up and immediately check their email and social media. They put themselves in a reactive mental state. Subconsciously, they’ve committed their day to other people’s agendas. Using systems to control your emails, and limiting the times you check on both emails and social media, will increase your productivity and reduce the amount of times you “brain switch”. Turning off email alerts is integral to this process.