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Why Two People With Similar Abilities Can Have A Huge Difference In Their Achievements?

Why Two People With Similar Abilities Can Have A Huge Difference In Their Achievements?

Many of us have life goals whether it’s in our career or personal life; gaining new skills for a job, learning a new language, training for a marathon or simply personal goals for self-growth.

Isn’t it strange when two people with similar abilities and ambition can have a huge difference in their achievements? One may take much longer than the other, or one may fail altogether while the other excels. The success we gain from work or personal goals is dependent, not on how hard we work towards them, but on whether or not we have a good strategy for the achievement for these goals.

Developing a good strategy when setting goals is the most important and surefire way to achieve success. Here are three ways you can make sure your goals are on track to being fulfilled.

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1. Embrace Each Experience As Growth And Forward Movement

Achieving our goals is a journey and one that needs nurturing and developing. Our growth and onward progression towards our goals whether at work or personal development, is hugely based on the experiences we have. Positive and negative experiences are usually plentiful along the way and it can be hard to notice the ones that have taught us the most.

For example, someone might be aiming for a certain position at work and the next step towards that goal is a promotion. If a person doesn’t get that promotion they could see it as a failure or see it as an opportunity for more time to work on certain skills in order to get to that next step.

A person who is focused on the end goal will do what it takes and has the ability to recognise the worth in each experience they encounter. While positive steps are a win, some of the negative experiences can sometimes be where the most growth occurs. Embracing these experiences and realising that they are hard to replace and have generated growth towards your goal is a sign of forward achievement.

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2. Take Advantage of Both Vertical and Lateral Development

There are two types of growth and development when it comes to achieving our goals – lateral and vertical.

Lateral growth is when we exose ourselves to new ideas and experiences. This could be learning something new, travelling to a foreign country or reading up on a different subject but goal setting, drive and motivation are not the primary tools of this kind of growth. While lateral development is important, it is most important during the initial stages of goal achievement. It opens our mind up to new ideas and gets us used to thinking differently but where some people fail is using this type of focus as a way of achieving their goals in the long-term.

Vertical growth is the process of achieving, pushing ourselves and ambition. It is the negatively perceivable struggles, challenges and pressure that cause us to obtain our greatest achievements and victories. It’s about realising your potential and how far you can be pushed and in the process, gaining clarity to what you really want.

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If someone’s goal is to lose a certain amount of weight they may decide to take up running. One person could happily run with no real plan and lose the weight while someone else may go bigger and strive to run a marathon and go through the painful and challenging experience of marathon training. While both may achieve the goal of weight loss, one will most likely keep up the running and enter more and more races because they’ve experienced the pain and suffering and come out the other side – they are motivated to strive for bigger and better.

People who are stuck in lateral growth tend to take much longer to achieve their goals because they aren’t prepared to face challenges and grow from them. People who adopt the vertical development technique move along on their path much quicker even though the path may appear more rocky and dangerous.

3. Checking In With Where You’re Going

Is the road you’re walking on leading to a bright future? While we don’t always know exactly where we’ll end up or if we’ll change our minds along the way – something many of us face in our careers (we change and grow after all) – people who achieve their goals in life do more solid research into where their decisions and goals will lead them down the line. They take time to ask themselves if their path has potential.

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For some, it’s easy to choose a path and run as fast as they can to the end in order to achieve the goal much quicker. The problem with this is that they are running fast down a path they’re not actually sure is the right one.

That’s why it’s much better to spend time choosing the path first before you start running even if the path you eventually choose is a bit less smooth than the other one. By doing the ground work in the beginning, you are setting yourself up well even if, at some point, you decide to change course.

Setting goals is what life is all about – whether big or small, for your career or your personal life and development – the way in which you go about achieving these goals is paramount to your success. Check in with your mindset and make sure you are focused correctly. Remember to enjoy the journey towards your goals and realise the lessons you learn at every step.

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

Reference

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