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3 Unique Things That Successful People Do Differently

3 Unique Things That Successful People Do Differently

Are you already wavering on your New Year’s resolutions? It’s okay, you’re not alone. If you want 2017 to be the year that your resolutions stick, you are going to need some proven routines to keep you going. Where better to look than at the habits of highly successful people?

We all know the typical things that successful people do differently – wake up early, set goals, network – but what does the next level of successful behavior look like? No matter whether your passion is baking or real estate, everyone has something that they strive to be successful at. While there is no one defined behavior for successful people, anyone who has spent extensive amounts of time reading interviews of and articles by successful people can agree that there are similar attitudes and behaviors that they possess. There are universal traits and practices that are common to all successful people, regardless of their background and field of influence.

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If you want to create a culture of success in your life, here are the most common and effective habits of successful people to get you started:

1. They set daily goals.

Most successful people attest to the fact that they do not simply wake up to an agenda filled with random activities. Instead, most successful people come up with large, long-term goals. American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault, for example, states that “at the beginning of each year, I set the key priorities and key objectives”.[1] These priorities and objectives are a part of a larger, long-term vision, and are easily achievable when broken down into smaller pieces. Every day, then, successful people take the initiative to set themselves small, daily goals that contribute to the priorities, objectives, and long-term vision. They then plan their day ahead of time to ensure that they have activities and appointments planned that address each of their goals.

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2. They take care of themselves first.

The most valuable resource you have is yourself. Successful people, especially those in the service industry, understand that they need to continually work on their personal brand and physical appearance. They also understand that their social life is as important as their finances and, as such, set aside enough time for leisure activities with friends and family. They know when to stop working. They also know that their bodies need good food, hydration, rest, and sleep. On top of physical maintenance, they look out for experiences and relationships that will enhance their lives. They read widely from good authors and engage in positive conversations. They understand that you cannot change the world if you have not taken care of yourself first.

The concept of remembering to attend to one’s own needs is captured by the term self-care. It was coined by and remains a pillar of the work that mental health professionals do every day. There are countless resources that uphold the importance of the practice as well as provide resources in its pursuit. If you are unsure of where to start, I recommend an interactive self-care flowchart by Jace Harr entitled, “You Feel Like Shit: An Interactive Self-Care Guide”.[2] It walks the user through his or her needs, beginning with the most basic. As the landing page asserts, it is designed “for people who struggle with self-care, executive dysfunction, and/or who have trouble reading internal signals”.[3] It is a simple, straightforward, and effective first step at attending to yourself when you are not feeling your best.

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3. They meditate.

This may seem trivial to many people, especially given the number of things vying for our attention these days. However, successful people always make time to meditate. What they do during this quiet time varies by personal preference and time of day. If it is the end of a busy day, they might take time to reflect on their goals, as well as the day that has passed, their achievements and failures, the status of their personal relationships, and their spirituality. The successful people who do this understand that when so much is going on and you do not have time to reflect, it is easy to miss out on the lessons. Since they are continually seeking ways to improve themselves, they take time to reflect on their strengths and areas for growth. If they are feeling particularly drained or negative, they might use the quiet time for positive self-talk. Other times, if they are feeling particularly stressed or overworked, they might choose to focus on their breath and enjoy ten minutes of not thinking at all.

If you are interested in starting a practice but unsure of where to begin, there are many forms of support out there for you, beginning with the mogul Oprah Winfrey. She is a huge proponent of meditation, stating that it has shifted her life in ways that she never imagined. She is such a firm believer in the practice that she has instituted a period of “Quiet Time” twice a day in her network offices.[4] For those of you who do not work for Oprah, she has collaborated with spiritual guide Deepak Chopra to create a number of free 21-day guided meditations. There are others with free meditations available, including Tara Brach. If you prefer music or silence, there are free apps available that help you to time and keep track of your meditation sessions.

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While there is no script that successful people follow, there are traits that are common amongst them. If you are seeking practices that will give you a boost in your productivity and overall success in life, consider the importance of goal-setting, self-care, and meditation. Make each of these practices a pattern of behavior and you will surely be on the road to success.

Wheeler del Torro is a nutritional anthropologist and author. His most recent book, Boss Up!, provides a step-by-step guide to creating a powerful executive presence in order to be perceived as a leader and reap the benefits that go along with it. When he is not researching, lecturing, or hosting popups, Wheeler is out setting the next culinary trend.

Featured photo credit: Shuttershock via workitdaily.com

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Wheeler del Torro

Nutritional Anthropologist

3 Unique Things That Successful People Do Differently

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

15 Best Productivity Hacks for Procrastinators

15 Best Productivity Hacks for Procrastinators

Let me guess.

You should be doing something else rather than reading this article. But due to some unknown force of nature, you decided to procrastinate by reading an article about how to hack procrastination. You deserve a pat on the back.

Fortunately, procrastination is not a disease. It’s just a mindset that can be changed, however, here are some productivity tips you need to start getting work done:

First, you need to acknowledge that procrastinating is an unhealthy habit. Not only you’re prioritizing unimportant things, basically, nothing gets done. Still unsure if you’re a procrastinator? Check out this article: Types of Procrastination (And How To Fix Procrastination And Start Doing)

Second, your commitment to change is very important. You should be physically, emotionally, and mentally determined to change this habit. If not, then you’ll just succumb to the tempting lure of doing other things rather than your tasks or chores.

Here are sthe best productivity hacks to improve productivity and keep yourself from procrastinating at work:

1. Give (10+2)*5 a Try

Let’s start with a classic but very effective hack called (10+2)*5 created by Merlin Mann,[1] author of 43Folders.com. Don’t worry. This is not a complicated Mathematical formula you need to solve.

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The (10+2)*5 simply means 10 minutes work + 2 minutes break multiplied by 5, completing 1 hour. It is crucial to stick with the time limits and not skipping work and break schedules. The point of this is for you to create a jam-packed routine of work and break schedules. The result? You will eventually skip your break schedules.

2. Use Red and Blue More Often

Clean your desk and remove things that might distract you. According to a Science Daily study[2] about which colors improve brain performance, red was found out to increase attention to details while blue sparks creativity. Surrounding your workplace with these colors not only benefits your brain, it’s also pleasing to the eye.

3. Create a Break Agenda

List all the things you want to do on your break, be it surfing the web, checking your emails, snack time, taking selfies, Facebook/Twitter—everything.

Like the (10+2)*5 hack, squeeze these in between work time but the difference is you schedule these activities for ONLY 20 minutes. Eventually, you’ll take your break minutes wisely. You’re finishing tasks while sidetracking to doing the things you enjoy.

4. Set a Timetable for Your Tasks

Like any other habits, procrastinating is a tough wall to break. Replace this habit with another habit. When you’re assigned a task, set a timetable for each step. Let’s say you have a big research task. Here’s a sample timetable:

9:00 – 9:10 am – Set up all your tools, browser tabs, emails, coffee, etc..
9:10 – 10:00 am – Internet research
10:00 – 10:45 am – Look through existing files
10:45 – 11:00 am – Break time!
11:00 – 12:00 pm – Outline the research report

Deadlines are the best hack for getting things done. Setting a specific time to finish a task creates time pressure even if the deadline has passed.

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5. Take It Outside!

Do yourself a favor and don’t ruin the comfy vibe of your home. If you need to work on a stressful project, do it in a library or coffee shop. You’ll never finish it anyway. Your cozy sofa and toasty bed will just lure you into napping yourself to doom.

6. Become Productively Lazy

Instead of finding all sorts of ways to unproductively procrastinate, use your habit to look for shortcuts and new ways to finish your tasks. Staple multiple papers at a time or master the 3-second t-shirt folding technique. A strong drive combined with laziness sometimes bring out the productive and creative side you never knew you have!

7. Assign a ‘Task Deputy’

It could be your colleague, your supervisor, or your significant other, anyone who has the unforgiving guts to reprimand you when you procrastinate. You could go the extra mile by paying up unfinished tasks or times you open your Facebook or watch a funny cat video on YouTube. Let’s see how five bucks every time you procrastinate will change you.

8. Consider a Gadget-Free Desk

According to a study by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, average users check on their phones 150 times per day and having your phone just an elbow away just creates sizzle to this habit.[3]

Removing mobile devices and gadgets allows you to focus on your work without the constant interruption from notifications, calls, and text messages. It eliminates the very distracting ambiance and the urge to unlock your phone just because.

9. Prepping the Night

Before hitting the sack to oblivion, prepare everything you’ll need the next day. This will probably take you 15 minutes tops, saving you more time for coffee in the morning.

Spin class at am? Pack up your gym clothes, shoes, socks, etc. or better, create a checklist so you don’t miss anything. You can also prep your food into containers and just grab one before leaving.

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10. Do a 7-Minute Workout in the Morning

Exercising is proven to increase productivity and stimulate release of endorphin or “Happy Hormones”.

Take a jog outdoors and get warmed up for the day. Don’t feel like running outside? Hop on a treadmilli. It’s a great investment and there are a lot of ways you can use a treadmill like endurance running and metabolism training. On a budget? Here’s a 7 minute, no-equipment needed workout you can do at home:

11. Set-up Mini Tasks

If you’re given a big project, break it down into mini tasks. Create a checklist and start with the easy ones until you finish. Got an article to write? Just start with the title and the first sentence. Or perhaps you have a visual presentation to make?

Spend 15 minutes on your outline, take five minutes coffee break, then finish the first two slides. Accomplishing something, no matter how tiny, still gives you that sense of fulfillment.

12. Create an Inspirational Board or Reminder

I found these mini desk chalkboards from Etsy you can use to write motivating quotes.

Or you know what? Simply write “Do it now!” and stare at it for 10 seconds every time you feel like dropping by on Reddit.

13. Redecorate Your Room

Redecorating my room motivates me to maintain that ‘new’ look for some time until I get use to it and eventually stop. So I redecorate again and again, it became a monthly habit really. Here are some DIY ideas you can do to any room without spending much.

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14. Ready Your Nibbles

You know that trip to the pantry? It’s just seconds away but it took you several minutes just to get your fruit snacks in the fridge. Before starting a task, prepare your nibbles on your desk to avoid zoning out and losing yourself on the way to the pantry.

Bonus productivity hacks you can do at home:

15. Schedule Your Chores

Write down your chores in a weekly basis with matching day and time when you should be doing these.

For the artsy folks, you can create fun chore charts like these or simply stick the list somewhere visibly annoying e.g. mirrors, doors, TV. The trick is listing as many chores as you can for the week and including unfinished chores the following week. Who likes seeing a long list of chores first thing in the morning?

More Tips to Overcome Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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