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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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Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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