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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 March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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