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8 Habits of Highly Successful People

8 Habits of Highly Successful People

When most people think of the millionaires and billionaires of the world, they usually see them as superhuman individuals who were destined for success from the moment they were born. While successful people certainly do have natural talents that have helped them along the way, they’ve also spent their entire lives working hard for what they’ve earned. An overwhelming majority of wealthy individuals have said they practice similar habits on a daily basis, including:

1. Waking up early

You’ve probably heard Ben Franklin’s famous saying: “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

While so many of us use as much time as we can in the morning to sleep until we absolutely have to get up, successful people use the morning as a time to get things done. One survey showed that almost half of wealthy individuals within the study wake up three hours before they actually have to be to work. This gives them enough time to wash up, eat a filling breakfast, and mentally and physically prepare for the day ahead of them. Think of that the next time you spill your coffee all over yourself while speeding down the street because you woke up with ten minutes to spare (and I’m not judging; I’m guilty of it, too!).

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2. Using time wisely

Novelist Vanna Bonta once said, “There is only now. And look! How rich we are in it.”

As I just mentioned, wealthy people wake up quite early, and they don’t spend this extra time sitting around. They understand that every second that ticks by is a moment they’ll never get back, so they get in the habit of using time to their advantage. Think about all the time you waste throughout the day waiting for a bus or for water to boil for your coffee, scrolling through your Facebook, or watching sitcom reruns. It might not seem like much to take 2 minutes of your time to check your phone when it beeps, but if you do that 30 times a day (which isn’t out of the realm of possibility), well, you do the math. No matter how little time you have between tasks, there’s always enough time to be productive in some way.

3. Staying focused

Even if you don’t stop what you’re doing every time your phone buzzes, your attention will most likely be taken away from the task at hand until you do so. Successful and wealthy people eliminate distractions when they have pressing business to attend to. Why do you think CEOs have offices with locked doors and secretaries to answer their phones? They do take time to return calls and check their email, but it’s often at a set time during the day. In doing so, they don’t unintentionally divert their attention to five different things at once; they’re able to focus on one issue at a time, resolve it, and move on to the next big thing.

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4. Networking

Another saying that’s been around forever, but is sometimes overlooked, is “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”

Think of the last time you were introduced to someone new: Did meeting them change your life in any way? Did you have anything to offer them? Wealthy people surround themselves with other successful people, and constantly bounce ideas off each other. Even during leisure activities, such as a day on the golf course, successful people discuss ideas, trade business practices, and forge mutually beneficial relationships. They actively seek out others who have mutual interests, ideas, and skills in order to expand their own ideas and abilities.

5. Reading

The most successful people in the world love to read. I previously discussed how wealthy people spend their time wisely. Whenever they get a spare moment, they often use this time to read something new. And they don’t read drivel, either. Wealthy people read to learn and expand their perspective on issues. An astounding 86% of wealthy people reported they are avid readers, compared to 26% of non-wealthy people. Reading helps people stay current and informed, and because of this, successful people are able to stay on top of trends and ideas. In doing so, they are able to become the producers of “the next big thing” that is loved by the masses, and make a killing doing it.

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6. Planning their day

Successful people make a gameplan for every day of their lives. 81% of the wealthy people surveyed reported they create a to-do list either before going to bed each night, or immediately upon waking up each morning. These people also tend to overload their lists, so they don’t leave themselves with too little to do. 67% of the wealthy people who said they create to-do lists reported that they finish, on average, over 70% of the items on their list. If you’re anything like me, you feel relieved when you finally check off that last item on your list of errands so you can put your feet up for a while. On the other hand, wealthy people would rather have too much to do, and be able to spend their time improving themselves in some way, shape, or form.

7. Taking risks

Successful people love to stretch their comfort zones as much as possible. They’re not afraid to put themselves “out there,” even if they run the risk of failure. They embrace vulnerability, because they know that without taking a risk, they will never get further in life. This isn’t to say that wealthy people just haphazardly put themselves in risky situations. On the contrary, they analyze each situation they face, and calculate the chances of success for each decision they make. And they always have a “Plan B” in case things don’t go as they had hoped. By taking risks, and knowing how to handle themselves if they falter, wealthy people continue to rise up in the world.

8. Working smarter

Successful people are successful because they work smarter, not harder. They find the easiest way to go about a task while maintaining excellent performance, which in turn saves resources for other tasks. They also understand that working too hard will lead to burnout and an ineffective use of time. Wealthy people work in spurts, and then take short breaks once they notice their attention and focus weaning. By doing so, they rejuvenate their body mentally and physically, and can come back to a task refreshed and ready to work. When taking these short breaks, they let their mind wander to other possible solutions, and may come back to their workstation with a breakthrough that makes completing the task that much easier.

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Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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