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8 Things Super-Achievers Routinely Do To Be Insanely Productive

8 Things Super-Achievers Routinely Do To Be Insanely Productive

The super-achievers amaze the normal people in every way possible. They have the same 24 hours per day that an average Joe has, but they manage to use those hours much more effectively.

Oftentimes, they not only thrive in one particular area but develop incredibly well in most of the fields. Be it mental and physical health, relationships and social life or business and career, these individuals manage them all in an exceptionally good way.

Now, to avoid creating a picture of a perfect human in your mind, these people tend to fail as well. In reality, they fail a lot. However, what separates them from the crowd is embracing the learning process and taking notes from every breakdown.

So it is no surprise that these confident people have eight things they regularly do, which all have a tremendous impact on their productivity.

1. They work out daily (yes, daily).

Don’t get me wrong, they don’t complete a hardcore training session every single day. It can just as well be stretching, low-impact cardio or yoga. The key message here is not the way of exercising, but the fact that top performers realize the importance of treating their bodies like a temple.

Whereas typical people tend take care of their physical health intermittently, high-achievers set it as one of their highest priorities.

Let’s take Barack Obama as an example. Although there are countless people in his team that contribute a lot to his daily effectiveness, there’s still no doubt that he’s among the elite of super-achievers.

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And do you know how his day starts?

It begins with a workout session, of course. If the president of United States is able to find an hour a day for working out, there’s no reasonable excuse you could use for not doing it yourself (unless you don’t care about increasing your productivity).

2. They schedule their days wisely and strategically.

I’m sure you already know that to-do lists are unbelievably helpful. Nonetheless, just throwing a few things you wish to accomplish at a sheet of paper or in your calendar app won’t get you too far.

If this strategy would work well, the majority of people would achieve their new year’s resolutions. In reality, however, almost 40% never make them.

In his book, “The One Thing”, Gary Keller shares one of the most crucial lessons to productivity. To find out your one thing, you need to ask yourself a very important question; namely, what’s the one thing I can do, that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

Once you determine that very thing, you’ll already be ahead of the majority of wannabe productivity freaks.

What you need to do is realize and then apply the difference between being effective and being efficient. Whereas plenty of people want to be more efficient, which means doing things the right way, the super-achievers focus on being effective, also known as doing the right thing.

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3. They plan a daily session for learning.

The process of becoming a super achiever is a long journey. Some people claim it’s given, but in reality, it’s earned through constant attempts of getting better after each failure. You can’t just sit down and expect to experience a sudden stroke of genius.

What you can do, however, is learn something new every single day. While wealth is not necessarily the number one factor when it comes to determining success, it definitely is a sign of productivity, effectiveness and achievement.

When asked about their reading habits, almost 90% of wealthy people said they read on a daily basis. Reading is one of the most simple ways to improve. Whatever your current toughie is, there’s at least one decent book discussing the issue and offering the answers you look for.

I can’t stress out how many times I’ve experienced a moment of enlightenment during reading, listening to a podcast or watching an educational video.

4. They separate themselves from the negative energy.

If you surround yourself with negative people who waste their time and complain a lot, there’s no way you’ll ever become successful. Super-achievers understand that they are the average of the five people they spend the most time with.

When your goal is to become more productive, the best source of inspiration and motivation to keep going is finding like-minded individuals who also embraced the journey of self-improvement.

It’s not an accident that super successful people know each other and join hands. They inspire and learn from each other, while at the same time removing the toxic environment from their lives.

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5. They leave their comfort zone day after day.

If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that top performers aren’t afraid of being uncomfortable in order to achieve long-term success. Instead of choosing instant pleasure, they are able to hold off on the gratification and experience a vein of discomfort.

The reason behind it are the amazing things which will happen once you step out of your comfort zone.

Great things never come from laying on the couch and eating your favorite ice cream. They happen once you decide to take action and challenge yourself on a daily basis.

If you are a newbie, there’s no need to start big. Choose one activity which causes discomfort and question your ability to do it. My favorite one is taking a freezing cold shower, preferably at the times I least want them.

6. They have a morning routine.

A morning routine is what helps you to run your day the way you want. Your morning actually determines the rest of your day. That’s why the highly successful people pay a lot of attention to their morning rituals.

Once you wake up, there’s no need to rush but you can’t linger either. Including a morning routine to my daily schedule made a huge difference. Personally, once I wake up, I make my bed immediately, then I head to the kitchen to drink a glass of water. Next is in the bathroom and the day then begins with a cold shower.

There’s an interesting correlation I noticed, though. Whenever I neglect to stick to my routines, my productivity legitimately suffers and I can’t get anything done.

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7. They use proper systems.

Instead of relying purely on their motivation levels, high-achievers depend on the right systems, which help to automate their daily routines.

The vast majority of people can’t use the technology in their favor. Social media, mobile games or pointless news apps distract them day after day. On the opposite side, though, are top performers who use technology to make their lives easier.

Applications and software help them to manage their time, cut off distractions, get more done and have a better overview of their progress.

This list will help you to get started (remember, the key isn’t to get them all, but to adopt the ones that work for you).

8. They say no consistently.

Being able to say no at the right moment is a skill which can guarantee you wealth, health and happiness. It’s not easy to learn but it’s absolutely possible. Saying no to one thing is actually saying yes to the other.

Say yes to exercise and diet and you will say no to being out of shape. This rules applies to every area of your life. Saying yes to being insanely productive involves saying no to a lot of things, such as distractions and needless commitments.

In addition to that, super achievers refuse to seek others’ approval. By doing so, they ensure that with each no they say, they won’t experience any doubts about their decisions.

Featured photo credit: Phil Roeder via flickr.com

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Oskar Nowik

Oskar is a blogger and the author of "Brightening: The Positive Attitude That Will Change Your Life"

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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