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7 Invaluable Lessons From World-Class Achievers

7 Invaluable Lessons From World-Class Achievers

Becoming hugely successful isn’t easy. It requires hard work, dedication, and perseverance. While some people are gifted with specific abilities that give them an advantage over the rest of us, they wouldn’t have gotten anywhere if not for their drive and commitment to excellence. Think of the people you idolize; it’s more than likely they exhibit many of the same traits. They all live by certain maxims which guide them to use every moment they have as a chance to do better. Follow these words of advice, and forge your own path to success:

1. Stay disciplined

Among many other achievements, Benjamin Franklin is well-known for crafting, and adhering to, a strict schedule every day of his life. Successful people understand how important each moment they have on Earth is, and never take a second of their time for granted. They wake up early, and hit the ground running. They rarely take time off, and even if they’re vacationing, they still find time to exercise, read, or partake in an activity that will further their skills in some way. World-class achievers treat their bodies as finely-tuned machines, programmed to strive for success at all times.

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2. Set daily goals

Swami Vivekananda said it best: “Arise! Awake! and stop not until the goal is reached.” Successful people know there is no time to lose if they want to be the best they can be. But they don’t go about bettering themselves haphazardly. They set goals on a daily basis in order to focus their attention on increasing their abilities. They also focus on addressing their weaknesses.

3. Keep moving

Thomas Edison believed that “Everything comes to those who hustle while they wait.” In other words, though patience is a necessary virtue, it’s not necessary to sit around doing nothing while you wait for your efforts to pay off. Instead, you should focus your energy elsewhere after putting a plan into motion. For example, if you apply for a job it will certainly take a few days to hear back from the company, but that doesn’t mean you should kick your feet back and relax. Instead, use this time to research the company to the best of your ability, and apply to other jobs. Don’t stop moving forward, or someone else will surely pass you.

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4. Be different

Steve Jobs famously said, “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” The second part of that quote represents everything he stood for in his career. Jobs was an innovator who was never afraid to think outside the box, even when it cost him his job at Apple. (He sure showed them, am I right?) Through the use of the word “foolish”, Jobs is referring to being the one who believes in an idea even when others have dismissed it. It’s having faith in yourself, and the courage to push forward even when everyone else around you tries to dissuade you. If we all were the same, there’d be no innovation in the world.

5. Scare yourself

Author and speaker Brian Tracy believes the secret to success is to “move out of your comfort zone.” He says, “You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” Unfortunately, too many of us fail to realize this, and instead choose to stay in our comfort zones our entire lives. What ends up happening is we wake up one day and realize we’re past our prime, and have lived a mediocre existence because we were too scared to take a chance. The worst thing that can happen is we fall short of our goals. But that’s nothing to be ashamed of, because…

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6. Failing isn’t failure

Like I said, so many of us are afraid of falling short of our goals that we never even try to attain them. Bill Gates once said, “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” Even if you fall short, you can still learn something by taking a chance. However, you’ll never achieve anything if you quit forging ahead. The greatest innovations of our time weren’t magically pieced together perfectly the first time someone sat down to invent them. The process of innovation is a series of trials, most of which don’t pan out as hoped. But if Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs hadn’t kept working on their respective inventions, you wouldn’t be able to be reading this article right now.

7. Always strive for more

Author Maureen Dowd has said, “The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.” The reason successful people achieve so much is because they’re never happy with what they have. This isn’t to be confused with greed. High achievers simply don’t become complacent. After accomplishing something incredible, they immediately look to what else they can do to push themselves even further. Michael Jordan could have been the best basketball player of all time even if he only gave 95% every game. Instead, he pushed himself to give 100%, every second he was on the court. He wasn’t satisfied with just being the best player on the court; he wanted to be the best player he could possibly be. That’s why he achieved the things he did.

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Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm5.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on November 3, 2020

How to Use the Prioritization Matrix When Every Task is #1

How to Use the Prioritization Matrix When Every Task is #1

It takes being productive to get things done correctly and on time. So how do you know which tasks are essential and which can wait? The answer is in the Prioritization Matrix, also known as the Eisenhower Matrix.

The matrix took its name after Dwight David Eisenhower.

Eisenhower was a general in the US army and the 34th President of the United States from 1953 to 1961. As a five-star general and a Supreme Commander in the US Army, he drafted the strategy for an Allied invasion of Europe.[1]

Eisenhower had to make tough decisions every time about which tasks to prioritize out of many he needed to focus on daily. So, he came up with the famous Eisenhower Matrix, or the Prioritization Matrix.

What Is the Prioritization Matrix?

The Prioritization Matrix is a tool for rating your tasks based on urgency. It helps you know the critical activities and those tasks that you should bypass and can be useful in project management, small businesses, or personal tasks.

Eisenhower famously said of the matrix:

“Most tasks that are urgent are not important, and most tasks that are important are not urgent.”

This quote became the maxim for Eisenhower in managing his time.

There are four quadrants in the Prioritization Matrix, which help in comparing choices of what to do first and last, allowing you to prioritize projects and create strategic plan[2].

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Eisenhower Matrix Template

    The quadrants are:

    • Do
    • Schedule
    • Delegate
    • Eliminate

    Do

    Do is the first quadrant in the Prioritization Matrix, and it incorporates important activities. That is, those tasks you need to carry out urgently — crises, deadlines, and issues that need your urgent attention and are highly relevant to your life mission.

    Hw do you know which task falls into this quadrant?

    Start by analyzing your priorities, and then establish if it falls within the ‘do it now’ criteria. If the task is achievable within a day, or within 24 to 48 hours, it’s urgent.

    Another approach you can adopt in prioritizing tasks in this category is to adopt the “eat the frog” principle by Mark Twain. This principle recommends that you do the most urgent activities as soon as you wake up.

    Here’s a practical example.

    Let’s say you need to draft a content strategy and submit a report to your manager. It’s Saturday, and the deadline for submission is Monday. Can we say the activity is urgent? Definitely!

    Schedule

    The second quadrant of the prioritization matrix is Schedule. The Prioritization Matrix classifies tasks in this category as important but not that urgent.

    They are long-term objectives and tasks with no immediate deadline. Those tasks could include meditation, journaling, studying, family time, and exercising.

    You can plan out activities in this quadrant for some other period. For instance, you should exercise for good health, but you can allocate time to do it.

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    Schedule these activities in such a way that they don’t transfer to the “Do” or “Urgent” quadrant. Ensure you have sufficient time to carry them out.

    Delegate

    The third quadrant of the prioritization matrix is Delegate.

    These tasks are not important to you but are quite urgent for others. This is where teamwork comes into play.

    You can technically perform tasks in this category, but it makes sense to delegate them. Delegating tasks will ensure you have more time to pursue activities in your first two quadrants.

    You should also monitor the tasks you have delegated. It will only amount to a sheer waste of time if you don’t have a tracking system for delegated tasks.

    Eliminate

    The last quadrant highlights your productivity killers. They are tasks that are not important to your goals and not urgent. The only way to boost your productivity is to eliminate them.

    Some examples are constantly checking your phone, watching movies, or playing video games.

    They could also be bad habits that you need to identify and delete from your daily and weekly schedule.

    Successful people have learned how to prioritize and stick to what’s important. They have learned to find a better person for a task or eliminate less significant tasks.

    Let’s consider two inspiring personalities that have designed their prioritization system.

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    Warren Buffet developed a two-list prioritization model to determine which task deserves his best attention. The bottom line is bypassing things that are important and useful but not top of the priorities.

    Mark Ford, a business advisor, marketer, self-made millionaire, and author devised his strategy:

    “Start work on the most crucial priority, take a break, work on the second most important task, take a break, then sort out the less important activities and any tasks he received from other individuals by afternoon.” [3]

    How to Use The Prioritization Matrix

    Using the Prioritization Matrix can be tricky if you’re new at it, but by following a few simple steps, you can learn to utilize it in the best way possible.

    1. List and Rank Your Priorities

    Highlight all the tasks you need to carry out in a day. Then, classify them with weighted criteria based on urgency and importance.

    Identify any activity that requires prompt action. I’m referring to a task that if you don’t complete that day, it could produce a grave consequence. For instance, if you don’t submit your content strategy, other content writers cannot work. It means you need to check for high-priority dependencies.

    2. Define the Value

    The next step is to examine the importance and assess which of them impacts your business or organization the most. As a rule of thumb, you can check which tasks possess higher priority over others. For instance, you need to attend to client’s requirements before you take care of any internal work.

    You can also estimate value by examining how the task impacts the people and customers in the organization. In a nutshell, the more impact a task has on people or the organization, the higher the priority.

    3. Take out the Most Challenging Task

    Procrastination is not a symptom of laziness, but avoidance is. The truth is that you will typically avoid tasks you don’t want to do. The former CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, once said he would take out the most dreaded task first thing when he got to the office.

    Brian Tracy called these tasks the frogs you need to eat. That will remove the nagging dread, which mounts pressure on you when you postpone necessary tasks[4]. This is where the Prioritization Matrix can help; eat the “Do” frogs immediately.

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    If you need help overcoming procrastination, check out this article.

    4. Know What’s Important to You

    As long as you are in this cosmos, you will always encounter different choices that may be contradictory to your goals. For instance, a fantastic promotion that requires excessive travel will isolate you from important relationships. If you are not priority-conscious, you may accept it, even though your family is your priority.

    Therefore, it makes sense to identify what is important to you and to prepare yourself not to compromise those important things for immediate pleasure or gain.

    Yogi Berra captioned it this way:

    “If you do not know your destination, you might end up somewhere else.”

    5. Establish Regular “No Work” Time

    YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki established a rule not to check her emails between 6 pm and 9 pm. According to a CNN Business report, she was the first woman to request maternity leave when Google just got started. She prioritizes dinner time with her family despite being the CEO of YouTube[5].

    Is it possible to cut out time for our relationships and interests outside of work?

    Of course, and that’s why you need to set out your “no work” time. This approach will enable you to renew your energy levels for the next task. Also, you will be in the best position to introspect as you are not in your usual work zone.

    6. Know When to Stop

    You can achieve everything on your list sometimes. After you have prioritized your workload and assessed your estimates, remove the remaining tasks from your priority list and focus on your most urgent and important tasks.

    Conclusion

    It’s not enough to be successful at work. Ensure you make out time for your family and an important relationship in your life.

    Getting started and finding time may be tricky, but with some practice using the Prioritization Matrix, you’ll find that you are more productive and better able to divide your time between the things that are important to you.

    More Tips on Prioritizing

    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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