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7 Things The Most Productive People See Differently

7 Things The Most Productive People See Differently

We all get 24 hours in a day. Yet some people seem to accomplish so much more. Its because they know how to optimize their day for better performance. There are seven things the most productive people see differently.

1. They see the long term effect of every little thing they do through the day.

Daily routines and habits are important. It’s been proven that we have more willpower in the morning or as soon as we wake up. Every little decision you make from the time you wake up to when you go to bed will deplete the amount of willpower you have. Productive people have an investor’s mindset with almost every action they take.

Just take a look at how Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg almost wear the same shirts everyday. They know better than to waste their willpower and time on deciding what clothing to wear. They know it won’t matter in the long term.

President Obama said “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”

Focus on the things that will actually help you in the long term as soon as possible. Which brings us to our next point.

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2. They see the hardest tasks as top priority.

They know their willpower is at it’s highest as soon as they wake up and they use that to their advantage by tackling the toughest tasks first. Productive people also know that putting off the hardest things for last will become a habit and carry over to other areas of their life.

As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe puts it “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least”.

Don’t do the easy things first. Save the easy tasks for last when your willpower has gone down and you are tired.

3. They see learning how to learn as an important skill to master.

The most productive people know that continual learning is important for their own personal success.

Benjamin Franklin said “If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest”.

Highly productive people take learning a step further and implement memorization techniques to help them retain more information, speed read, and they use the Pareto 80/20 principle to their advantage. For example when reading a book, read the table of contents, the back cover of the book, the beginning, the end, and whatever parts in between that sound interesting. It’s been said that one should never read a book from cover to cover unless they enjoy it.

The 80/20 principle can be applied to your schedule and your income as well. Use this to your advantage and put more focus on the 20% of things that generate 80% of the results. Also, read books about how to learn faster and apply what you learn.

4. They see technology as a tool.

Tim Ferriss wrote “Get on a strict low-information diet and focus on output instead of input; your wallet and weekends will thank you for it”.

Many of us today simply let technology distract and control us. We let the funny viral videos on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram suck away massive amounts of our time. We let our phones constantly steal away our attention with emails and text messages. They are all time drainers. Stop checking your news feeds. Turn off the television. Set up an email auto-responder. Choose specific times to check email and other messages so they won’t steal your focus away at random times of the day.

5. They see even the worst days as days to make the right choices.

In his book, On Writing, Stephen King said “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work”.

Productive people find ways to get their work done regardless of whether they feel like doing it or their circumstances. The process of getting where you want to be or finishing work will not always be smooth sailing. Highly productive people stay focused on the long term result and not on short term relief.

They know that everything we do either brings us closer to our goals or farther away from them.By law if you are not moving in one direction you must be moving in another. Work to acquire the self-discipline to persevere and stay focused even in the worst of times.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it “Do the thing and you will have the power”.

Consistent good habits are one of the most important things that separate productive people from procrastinators. Produce good results, not excuses.

6. They see the value in getting help from other people.

Highly productive people don’t waste time doing things they could get someone else to do. Bill Gates said he never did anything alone.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson said “I have a personal philosophy in life: If somebody else can do something that I’m doing, they should do it. And what I want to do is find things that would represent a unique contribution to the world – the contribution that only I, and my portfolio of talents, can make happen. Those are my priorities in life.”

This one definitely applies to entrepreneurs and business owners. You can’t do everything yourself. Put as much focus as you can on the high priority tasks that generate the most results.

7. They see the benefits of daily meditation and routine breaks.

Jon Kabat-Zinn said “Most people don’t realize that the mind constantly chatters. And yet, that chatter winds up being the force that drives us much of the day in terms of what we do, what we react to, and how we feel”.

When we practice meditation and mindfulness, we are actually becoming aware of this chatter and stilling our minds.

Lao Tzu said “If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place”.

Even though mindfulness originated in Buddhism, it has little or nothing to do with religion. The benefits of mindfulness and meditation are grounded in science. Daily meditation practice can help us stay focused longer and therefore allow us to get more done. Being a workaholic and trying to plow through work with no breaks actually makes you less productive and is bad for your health in a multitude of ways.

You may think you are too busy to meditate, but that is all the more reason to start doing it. Sit down somewhere comfortable, close your eyes, get into a rhythm of breathing, and focus on the feeling of the air entering and leaving your body for about 10 to 20 minutes. This will relax you, reduce stress, quiet your mind, and will eventually make you an overall more productive person. Practice meditation everyday.

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

  • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
  • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
  • Answer a few Superpower Questions

Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

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This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

5. Embrace Your Inner Weirdo

Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

  • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
  • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
  • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward.

Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

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“You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

Final Thoughts

Eleanor Roosevelt said,

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

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Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

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