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15 Small Things You Can Do Every Day To Become Highly Successful

15 Small Things You Can Do Every Day To Become Highly Successful

Have you ever wondered what the secret to success is? For most people, it’s not one specific thing. Rather, it’s the result of many daily habits that are repeated over and over. Here are 15 small things you can do every day to ensure that you’re being intentional with your time and spending it on your priorities. Incorporate these tips into your daily routine and watch your success soar!

1. Define your priorities.

What are your main three priorities in your life? What three things do you do with the majority of your time? Do your priorities match up with where you’re spending your time? If so, awesome. If not, you’ll need to work extra hard to be intentional about spending more time on your priorities, and getting rid of the junk that prevents you from doing what’s important to you. Really think about how you want to spend your life – you will likely only feel successful if you spend your time on what matters most to you.

2. Set a schedule for the following day.

Time is our most precious resource, and it’s irreplaceable. If you really want to be successful, you’ll need to plan how you’re spending your time.

One way to do this is to take time each evening to write out a schedule for the next day. Writing out your schedule helps for three main reasons: It helps you maximize every hour you are awake; it helps you set aside time to focus on your priorities every day; and it helps you discover if you waste a lot of time. I recently read that the average American spends 5 hours a day watching TV. Setting a schedule will help you avoid the trap of time-suckers like TV.

3. Eat the frog.

“Eat a live frog first thing every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain

If you’re like most people, there is a task every day you procrastinate because it scares or overwhelms you. This task is your frog, and according to Mark Twain, you should eat it right away in the morning.The problem with procrastinating eating your frog is that it’s hard to concentrate on getting other things done; you’re too busy thinking about the frog you need to eat later. Also, putting it off makes it seem even more overwhelming because you have time to imagine every possible thing that could go wrong with the task.

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Eating the frog early in the day gives you a sense of accomplishment, and it’s great to start the day feeling successful. Finishing your dreaded task immediately can give you the momentum you need to get other tasks done throughout your day. Plus, they’ll all seem easy compared to the frog you started with.

4. Be honest with the person in the mirror.

Now that we’ve talked about eating the frog, I want to encourage you to be honest with yourself. Just because there’s a frog to eat at the beginning of your day doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to get up way earlier than you normally do to start eating it.

Some people do their best work before sunrise, and others are incredibly productive late in the evening. If you love starting your day at 5 a.m., wonderful – go ahead and eat your frog in the early hours of the morning. If you prefer to sleep in, that’s fine too – go ahead and eat your frog early in YOUR day.

Successful people are honest with themselves. They know that setting a goal of working out every morning at 4:30 a.m. isn’t the best idea if they’ve never been a morning person. They set their goals based on their most productive times.

5. Give yourself deadlines.

Take advantage of a major productivity hack: Parkinson’s Law. Parkinson’s Law states that work will expand to fill the time available for its completion. If you have less time to complete a task, you’ll likely increase your effort. Think about how clean you can make your house when someone calls and says they’ll stop by in 20 minutes, and how intensely you can focus when you have a an assignment due the next morning. Your effort significantly increases when time is limited.

Giving yourself deadlines to accomplish tasks can help you achieve your goals. As you set your daily schedule, it can help to use Parkinson’s Law to your advantage. One way to do this is by using time blocks. Give yourself 55 minutes to accomplish a goal, and then take a planned 5 minute break. Knowing you have limited time will help maximize your productivity during the 55 minute work session. Also, the mini mental breaks from your hard work every hour can re-energize you.

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6. Minimize distractions.

Get rid of as many distractions as possible while you work. If the internet distracts you, set your computer so it’s locked from certain sites during set times of the day. Shut off your phone. Your messages will be there when you’re done with your to-do list.

7. Pause.

Plan time every day to take care of yourself. Set aside time in your schedule for you to give yourself the gift of exercise, quiet time, or ideally both.

8. Plan backward.

One way to move forward toward your big goals is to plan backward when setting goals.

For example, say you want to lose 26 pounds. After you set an initial long-term goal of losing 26 pounds by one year from now, start planning backward and breaking the goal down into doable chunks. If you want to lose 26 pounds in one year, you’ll need to lose 0.5 pounds (1750 calories) each week. This is 250 calories per day. Many people have 3 meals and 2 snacks per day, which means you can decrease your intake by 50 calories every time you eat. That’s a totally doable goal! You’ve now taken a large, overwhelming aspiration and you broke it into very small, achievable daily goals.

Planning backward to move forward works for all kinds of big goals. I have a financial goal I want to meet this year, and I know exactly how many dollars and cents I need to earn each day to hit my mark.

9. Write it down.

Research shows that just by writing your goals down, your chance of achieving them increases significantly! Write down your goals, post them somewhere easily visible, refer to them frequently, and you have a much higher chance of success.

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10. Find an accountability partner.

Accountability partners are great; they encourage and support us as we work toward achieving our goals. Maybe you’ve always wanted to write a book, exercise regularly, or start a home-based business. Tell someone who will help keep you accountable and check in with you weekly to review your progress. It works great to have an accountability partner who has some similar goals.

11. Compare yourself to others only to fuel your determination.

You really want to feel good about your life? Quit comparing yourself to everyone else if it makes you feel bad. Being envious of others can quickly decrease your happiness and make you feel unsuccessful.

That being said, comparing can be helpful if you’re doing it out of admiration instead of jealousy. If your friend is constantly getting promoted at work, study his habits at the office. Does he always arrive early and stay late, and offer to take on extra projects? Emulating his work ethic may help you get the raise you desire. Is your coworker the picture of perfect health? Comparing your habits to hers may make you realize she takes a walk every day over the lunch hour while you munch on snacks at your desk. Join her for a walk if you aspire to improve your fitness.

‘When we compare in a healthy way (they have that, I’d like it, how can I learn from them to get it?), it can fuel our determination to become more successful.

12. Seek out a mentor.

If there’s a specific area in your life you are passionate about, choose a successful mentor to help you grow in that area. You may find that you have different mentors for different areas in your life – I know I do. Consider hiring a coach; the right coach can make a world of difference in your life by giving you the inspiration and tools needed to reach high levels of success.

13. Delegate.

“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.” – John C. Maxwell

As difficult as it can be, it’s important to give up some control and delegate certain tasks. After all, there are only 24 hours in the day, and if you really want to focus on your priorities and become wildly successful, you’ll need to trust others to take care of the things that are less important to you.

A few years ago, I wrote out my weekly tasks, and realized there were 56 tasks that I completed each week. No wonder I felt overwhelmed at times! I began evaluating the importance of each of those tasks and decided to delegate the tasks that weren’t imperative for me to perform, yet still needed to get done. Now I have more time to focus on my priorities. When we delegate some tasks to others, we are able to focus on what’s important to us – a key to becoming successful.

14. Choose your company wisely.

Aside from having one specific accountability partner, choose your entire tribe with care.

According to businessman Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Are you hanging out with people who are encouraging, positive, and supportive? Or, do you spend most of your time with people who are toxic? Choose to spend your time with people who inspire you to be your best.

15. Read.

Want to be highly successful? Read. Read frequently. Reading invigorates us and opens our minds. Read material that inspires you and lights your fire. Delve into self-development. Absorb as much information as you possibly can. There’s always more to learn.

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Do these things every day and you will quickly be on the path to wild success!

Featured photo credit: Between the warp and weft /Between the warp and weft blog via picjumbo.com

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

The world has become a very distracting place, you don’t need me to tell you that. Where once we could walk out of our house or office and disappear into our own world with our own thoughts, we are now connected 24 hours a day to a network that’s sole purpose is to make us available to anyone and everyone at any time they choose to disturb us.

Of course, it is very easy to sit here and say all you have to do is turn off your electronic devices and just allow yourself several hours of quiet solitude; but the reality is far harder than that. There is an expectation that we are available for anyone whenever they want us.

However, if you do want to elevate yourself and perform at your best every day, to produce work of a higher quality than anyone expects and to regain control over what you do and when you will need to regain some control over your time, so you can focus on producing work that matters to you…

The good news: You do not have to become a recluse. All you need are a few simple strategies that will allow you enough flexibility in your day to stay focused to do the work that matters and still allow you to deal with other people’s crises and dramas.

Here are 7 ways you can stay focused and be less distracted.

1. Find out When You Are at Your Most Focused

According to research, brilliantly documented by Daniel Pink in his latest book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, our brains have a limited capacity to stay focused each day.[1]

From the moment we wake up to the time we turn in for the day, we are using up our brain’s limited energy resources and, depending on the time of day, we will be moving between strong concentration and low concentration.

This means that for most people, their optimum time for sustained concentration and focus will be soon after they wake up. For others, it could be later in the evening—a kind of second wind—but that is rare.

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Once you understand this, you can take time to learn when you are at your best and to protect that time on your calendar as much as possible. If you can, block it off and use that time for the work you need to do that requires the most concentration each day.

2. Get Comfortable Using ‘Do Not Disturb’ Mode

We have the ability to switch our electronic devices to do not disturb mode. Where all notifications are off and your phone or computer will not alert you to a new email or message.

Now after testing this function for a number of years, I can happily report that it does work.

When I sat down to write this article, I put all my electronic devices to do not disturb, closed down my email and began writing. I am safe in the knowledge that until this article is written, and I turn do not disturb off, there will be no interruptions or distractions.

Of course, it is not really about whether do not disturb works or not, it is whether you are willing to turn it on or not.

Most people believe they have to be constantly available for their boss or customers. This is not true at all. What has happened is because of your always available status, you have conditioned these people to turn to you first whenever they have a problem.

You are not actually helping them at all. You are preventing them from having to think for themselves and develop the skill of problem-solving. By not being so readily available, you help them a lot more.

What it comes down to is your boss and customers are going to be far more positive with you, if you deliver your work to the highest quality and on time than you being available 24/7. Trust me on that. I also tested that one.

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3. Schedule Focus Time Every Day

This technique is a lot easier than you may think.

First, you figure out when you are least likely to be disturbed. For me, that is between 6 and 9 am. for a lot of my clients, they find the first 90 minutes in the morning at their workplace is when they are not likely to be disturbed. This is important because you want to be building consistency.

Most people start their day by checking their email and other messages. While they are doing that, they are not going to be bothering you. Now there is no rule about when you should be checking your email. The chances are email is not going to be where you want to spend your most focused time, so you can decide to check your email at say 10:30 am.

Dedicate 30 minutes from 10:30 am to 11:00 am for email processing and use the first 90 minutes of your day for doing your most important work. You will surprise yourself by how much work you get done in that ninety minutes.

4. Plan Your Day the Night Before

One of the inevitabilities of life is there is always a plan for the day. The choice is whether the plan you have is a plan of your own making or not. If you don’t have a plan, then the day will take control of you. Other people’s priorities, urgencies and dramas will fill your day. As the late Jim Rohn said:

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

If you take control and make it a habit to plan out what you want to accomplish the next day before you go to bed, you will find yourself staying more focused on your work and be less likely disturbed.

Now when I say plan your day the night before, I do not mean you need to spend an hour or so planning and mapping out every minute of the day. Planning your day should only take you around 10 to 15 minutes and you only need to decide what 10 things you want to complete — 2 “must do” objective tasks and 8 “would like to do” tasks. What I call the 2+8 Prioritisation Technique:

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Do not be tempted to go beyond 10 tasks for the day. When you do that, you do not have enough flexibility in your day to handle crises and other unknown issues that will pop up throughout the day.

When you do not build in flexibility, you will soon stop planning your day. Only plan tasks that will have the biggest positive impact on your work and projects.

5. Learn to Say “No”

I am sure you’ve been told this before. We are wired to please and this results in us wanting to say yes to every opportunity that comes our way. The problem is we cannot do everything and every time you say “yes” to one opportunity, you are saying “no” to another opportunity. You cannot be in two places at the same time.

Jay Shetty shared an inspiring video on JOMO “Joy Of Missing Out”. Here’s the video:

Rather than allowing ourselves to be succumbed by FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out), we should replace that ‘fear’ with the “joy” of missing out. Because of our need to please, we say yes to things we really don’t want to do; yet when we do that, we miss out on doing things that bring us joy—creating something special, spending time educating ourselves and just having some quiet alone time with ourselves.

Learn to say “no” every time you get a notification to your phone. Ignore it. Learn to say “no” to your colleagues when they want to gossip. Learn to say “no” to volunteering when the thing you are being asked to volunteer for does not excite you. Just learn to say “no”.

By saying “no” to opportunities, distractions and interruptions, you are saying yes to better and more meaningful things. Things you do want to focus your attention on.

6. Create a Distraction-Free Environment for Your Focused Time

This has been possibly the most powerful tip I learned when it comes to focusing on what is important. Have a place where you do only focused, high-concentration work.

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Now this place needs to be clean and only have the tools you need to do your work. If it is writing a report or preparing a presentation, then it needs a table and a computer, nothing more. Files, paper and other detritus that accumulates on and around people’s desks need to go. A clean, cool and well-lit environment is going to do a lot more for your focus and concentration than anything else.

The dining table in our home is where I go for undisturbed, focussed work. I take my laptop or iPad, and only have my writing app open. Everything is closed down and the computer is in “do not disturb” mode. There is nothing else on the dining table just my computer and my water tumbler.

Because that is my designated focus area, I only go there to work when I have something that needs total focus and concentration. I am there right now!

7. Be Intentional

The reality is, if you absolutely need to get something done then you need to be intentional. You have to have the intention of sitting down, focusing and doing the work.

There’s no magic tricks or apps that will miraculously do all your work for you. You need to intentionally set aside time for undisturbed focus work and do it. Without that intention, you can read as many of these articles as you like and you still will not get the work done.

It is only when you intentionally set yourself up to do the work, turn off all notifications and do whatever it takes to avoid distractions will the work get done.

The Bottom Line

The strategies and tips I shared in this post will go a long way to helping you become better at focusing on the important things in your life. No matter what they are, you are in control of your time and what you do with it and where you spend it, never give that control away to anyone else.

Protect it and it will be your servant. Give that control away and it will become your master and that is not a good place to be.

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Featured photo credit: Manny Pantoja via unsplash.com

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