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10 Mistakes Successful People Refuse To Make

10 Mistakes Successful People Refuse To Make
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Successful people use many strategies to obtain and maintain high performance. Learn about these inspirational practices and look for ways to improve yourself starting this week.

1. They Don’t Start Their Day Without A Plan

While no plan is perfect, it is a vital tool to maintain focus. For example, many successful people use the 5 Minute Journal which asks yourself, “What are 3 things that would make today great?” Keeping to a small list of key tasks is a great way to plan your day. As an alternative, you can use a 3×5 index card to write your day’s top priorities. This is a method that author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss has used for years.

2. They Don’t Focus on Perfection

Working toward perfection is often a trap — one that successful people have learned to avoid with practice. Instead of aiming for perfect, complete and deliver quality work. To learn more about this concept, read about the Learn Startup methodology. It is better to take chances, make mistakes, and learn to do better next time.

Resource6 Reasons Why Perfectionism Kills Your Productivity.

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3. They Don’t Obsess Over Failure

Successful people encounter failure as much as anyone else. However, they take the time to study the failure and learn how to do better next time. In the business world, continuous improvement is used to learn from errors and become more effective each time. Once you have extracted lessons and improved your ideas from failure, move forward with your life.

Learn More10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

4. They Avoid Spending Time With Negative People

The people we surround ourselves with make a major impact on our outlook on life. For example, if you regularly train with an award winning coach, you are likely to be inspired to reach higher levels of performance. Unsuccessful people often struggle to see possibilities because they are surrounded by negative news and people constantly talking about negative events and opinions.

Resource9 Helpful Tips To Deal With Negative People.

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5. They Refuse To Slow Down During Slow Periods

From time to time, many companies have slow periods. For example, August and December are slow periods in many organizations because many people go on vacation. Instead, successful people start a summer project to learn new skills and improve the organization. During these slow periods, use the extra time to organize your work and take a course.

6. They Never Say, “That’s Not In My Job Description”

Unsuccessful people avoid work by citing their job description over and over again. In contrast, successful people push the boundaries at work to acquire new skills and abilities. After all, successful people are interested in growing their skills. Being inflexible at work means you are less likely to be promoted and receive interesting work assignments.

7. They Refuse To Become A Workaholic

Successful people know that work matters in making the world a better place and earning income. However, they also understand that it is only one part of a full life. That’s why it is important to pursue hobbies, spend quality time with your family, and work through your Bucket List.

Get Ideas To Start Your Bucket List – The Ultimate Bucket List: 60 Things You Should Do Before You Die.

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8. They Don’t Set Vague Goals

Successful people work to translate their dreams into concrete action. A properly written goal is easy to measure and has a deadline. Instead of vaguely thinking about earning more money, a better income goal might look like, “I will earn $100,000 in 2015.” You can apply the same approach to learning goals – instead of “learn Spanish,” you could set a goal to complete 2 Spanish courses this year.

If you are unsure about how to achieve your goals, consider taking a goal achievement course. I recommend Michael Hyatt’s course called 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever. I have used the course to conceive, set, and achieve multiple goals in 2015.

9. They Don’t Ignore Their Health

Successful people value and work on their health for multiple reasons. For example, they use exercise as a stress management technique. In addition, successful people invest time in seeking out regular appointments with dentists and their doctor. It is far cheaper and faster to spend a little bit of time on keeping up health, rather than waiting for a crisis to appear.

Resource11 Post-Workout Mistakes That Are Ruining Your Fitness Goals.

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10. They Don’t Coast On Their Knowledge

Knowledge is a valuable resource that needs to be renewed over time. That’s why successful people do not coast on the knowledge they learned years ago. Instead, they invest time and money to buy new books, attend conferences, and reflect on their experience. It is absolutely vital to seek out new knowledge, especially if you are a professional and want to grow your contribution over time.

Tip20 Places to Educate Yourself Online for Free.

Featured photo credit: Happiness/pixolga via pixabay.com

More by this author

Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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