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Let High-Achievers Tell You How These 10 Rituals Shorten Your Distance To Success

Let High-Achievers Tell You How These 10 Rituals Shorten Your Distance To Success

Success doesn’t just come to anyone. It has to be attained through hard work, dedication, and relentless drive. The most successful people in the world are often more than happy to share the methods to their madness, and it’s no coincidence that many of them practice the same methods on a daily basis. Staying disciplined and regimented is a large part of why certain people are able to transcend the masses, and rise to the level of success they’ve attained throughout their lives. The most successful people in the world:

1. Make a daily to-do list

Many people make a to-do list; that’s nothing new. However, the way in which successful people approach their to-do lists is much different than the way others do. While many people (myself included) make a to-do list that is relatively underwhelming, successful people tend to overload their to-do list, giving them too much to do. This doesn’t mean they actually finish everything on their list; it just means they always have something to do. The most successful people always have something productive to do, and make it so they are always improving upon their former self. CEO of Omada Health Sean Duffy actually utilizes a “running” to-do list which spans not just the following day, but lists goals he wants to tackle within the next couple of weeks.

2. Schedule their time

Benjamin Franklin was famous for not only creating a daily to-do list, but also for scheduling his time by the hour. Doing so helps in a variety of ways. First of all, it gives you an idea of how much time you’ll have to spend on specific activities or projects. Secondly, while scheduling your day, you’ll actively visualize yourself completing the tasks, and finishing them becomes much more likely. To-do lists can be incredibly intimidating, as you run the risk of thinking “there’s just not enough time in the day.” When you schedule your day out completely, you’ll realize you have all the time you need. Furthermore, you won’t waste time scrolling through your phone or watching TV if you’ve set deadlines for yourself.

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3. Quantify their time

It may sound unbelievable, but Jeff Margolis, chairman and CEO of Welltok, claims he knows “exactly how many (hours) I have spent working, with family, exercising, or on community activities.”

Along with making a to-do list and scheduling their time, successful people add up time spent on various projects, analyze them, and manage their schedule accordingly. For example, if you gave yourself two hours to complete a task, but it actually took three, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, when a similar project comes along in the future, you’ll know better how to schedule your time. Conversely, if you schedule two hours of your day to do a task that only takes one, you’ll have an hour of time left over that isn’t being utilized to your advantage. Not only that, but successful people understand that if they check their phone 10 times a day “just for 5 minutes,” they’ve wasted almost an hour of their day.

4. Wake up earlier

Ben Franklin was also never short on words of wisdom, such as the famous proverb, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Successful people wake up much earlier in the morning than most others. While some of us hit the snooze button at least twice every morning, most wealthy people wake up at least two or three hours before they need to get down to business. Doing so allows them to take advantage of the body’s natural energy cycle. The mind is most productive a couple hours after waking. This explains why many of us need that cup of coffee every morning to jolt ourselves awake, and why others seem to be ready and raring to go by 8:30 a.m. every day. We might see early birds as “morning people,” but the reason they’re up and moving so early is because they’ve been awake for more than fifteen minutes, and wiped the sleep from their eyes hours ago.

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5. Prepare for their day before working

Successful people don’t just wake up early and stare at the wall until their body and mind is ready to work. Neha Sampat, CEO of Built.io, says she always gets one major task out of the way before 8 a.m., even on weekends. By waking up early (around 5 a.m.) on a daily basis, she’s ready to get moving by 7 a.m. at the latest. Early morning is also a good time to get other things done, such as exercise that you won’t want to do after a long day’s work, or reading up on news that you won’t have time for throughout the day. Most people (especially college-aged) use the phrase “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” as an excuse to stay up late partying with friends; successful people use it as an excuse to forgo sleeping in late in favor of getting things done.

6. Avoid getting in ruts

Rodney Williams, co-founder and CEO of LISNR, reports that he avoids habits that eventually lead to ruts. This advice might seem like it gibes with the previous sections discussing to-do lists and schedules, but since you’re in control of your own schedule, don’t be afraid to change it up. Think of high school: How boring was it to go through the same progression of classes day after day? It made everything so monotonous, and by the end of the day you were completely fried. Take control of your life! If you find yourself getting bored with your schedule, start going to the gym before work instead of after, or take a different route to work. Even the smallest changes can refresh your perspective, and make the rest of your day just a bit more exciting.

7. Pay attention to relationships

Novelist George A. Moore once said, “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.” Being successful isn’t all about money, fame, and fortune. It’s about what you can do for your loved ones after attaining those three things. When putting your daily schedule together, make sure you include time to spend with your family. And don’t schedule this in pencil; make sure you never cancel on a date with your daughter, and always find time to pick your son up from soccer practice. After all, your family is the reason you work so hard in the first place. Don’t lose sight of that while you’re busy checking business-related tasks off your list.

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8. Communicate with colleagues

Vikram Aggarwal, CEO of EnergySage, believes it’s incredibly important to be transparent with your employees, colleagues, and bosses. You should never find yourself being “just a colleague,” but should work to forge a relationship that goes beyond the walls of your office building. Be a teammate and a friend, and treat your co-workers as family. Doing so will open doors of communication when working on difficult projects that require input from a variety of specialists, and will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and has a common goal. When your team succeeds, you can feel a sense of accomplishment knowing you helped them get there.

9. Exercise

Jason van den Brand, co-founder and CEO of Lenda, finds time to exercise his body at least five times a week. By now it should go without saying that this time is usually before he gets to the office, around 6 a.m. on a daily basis. And he switches it up, too: Sometimes he’ll hit the gym, and other times he’ll take his bike out for an hour spin. Not only does exercising early in the morning start your day with an adrenaline rush, but it also starts your day with another task checked off your list. With one less thing to do before you even start your work day, your head will be clear to focus on other obligations.

10. Meditate

Ernie Capobianco, CEO of Sq1, meditates on daily basis, sometimes twice a day. You might be thinking “I thought successful people didn’t spend any time sitting around.” This is a complete misunderstanding of what goes on in the mind when meditating. Sitting quietly and preparing for the day in the morning or reflecting on the day’s events in the evening helps you gain perspective and insight that you can’t possibly have when you’re engrossed in a project. Spending time meditating is the best way to come to realizations that will lead to breakthroughs in your work, especially if you’ve recently hit a roadblock. If you’re going to spend your time doing nothing, do so mindfully.

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Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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