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If You Want To Be A High Achiever, You Need To Adopt This Mindset

If You Want To Be A High Achiever, You Need To Adopt This Mindset

You’re driven. You achieve a lot of your goals. Like a tyrant, that little voice in your head demands your absolute commitment to achievement. Heck, you even wrote out plans for achievement. You may think these thoughts and actions are pushing you to achieve but are they the habits of high achievers?

You could also be just the opposite having to constantly tell yourself to stop using Facebook, be more productive, focus more. While these are definitely not the habits of high achievers, you really have the desire to become one.

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The real question is, when it comes to life do you just want to just “take it as it comes” or reach for something great? Hopefully you’re serious enough to choose the latter and ready to start your journey to truly become a high achiever.

How To Be A High Achiever

You must begin with discovering something that matters to you in a big way. It must mean enough to light a fire inside of you. Whatever it is, you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get there. You may already know what that is. The key point is having that passionate drive to really push yourself hard to accomplish your goals consistently.

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Next, set yourself a BANG – a Big Awesome Nervy Goal with your passion directly in the cross-hair. There is no brain surgery needed here. The goal just needs to be achievable but challenging enough to make you push the envelope so to speak, to get it done. Realize that every time you stretch your boundaries and push your limits, you grow as a person.

Learn To Become A Finisher Through The Completion-Centric Planning Approach

High achievers are obsessed with finishing. Once a project is given to them, they will work obsessively and compulsively to finish it. Some may go about it in an organized way, others may not. But one thing is certain – they will do whatever it takes to get it done.

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Cultivating a finisher mentality is not hard to do if you go about it the right way. Let’s start with one truth: real achievement requires you to push very hard. When you work on achieving something one task at a time, it’s easy to bypass these hard pushes by doing lots of easy tasks. Instead, adopt a completion-centric planning approach. With completion-centric planning, you are focused on the completion of projects instead of individual tasks as your daily constitution.

Here’s how it works. Sit down at your computer, open your favorite word processor and do the following:

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  1. Make an Active Projects List– List 5-10 of the projects that are most important to you from 3 related categories: professional (related to your job or school), personal (family, home), other (big projects like writing a book, starting a business).
  2. Mark each project with criteria for completion– For each project write a brief description of the actions that must be taken to complete the project.
  3. Make another list on the same page and name it a Holding Pen– Use this list to add new projects while working on the active projects. You can save them here until you’ve completed the current batch.

Working The System

Each day, review your project list and figure out which project that you can make the most progress on that day and do it. Do whatever it takes. If it requires a hard push, go for it. Your biggest goal is to work on completing projects despite other responsibilities outside of these project. Harness an obsession to kill the list.

Work as hard as you possibly can to finish your projects. Once you’ve completed a project take a rest for at least a week. Spend this time doing small amounts of work. Use this time to recharge your energy.

Some Final Thoughts

Following a system that creates a workflow rhythm that’s necessary for completion-centric planning is what high achievers do to accomplish their work. Sure, it doesn’t have the appeal of leisurely working on tasks at your own easy pace but achievement is not pretty. You need to learn to go after your goals with a fierce determination and gusto. This system will teach you to do that. Now, try it for yourself. You might be surprised at what you can achieve.

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Anthony Pica

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed, and exhausted. Therefore, if you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, it’s time to do something about it.

Here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm, leaving you calmer, in control, and a lot less stressed at work.

1. Write Everything Down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when work feels overwhelming is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s occupying your thoughts[1].

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind, write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind.”

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will help you stop feeling overwhelmed at work. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have emptied your head, go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. You can learn how to create a more meaningful to-do list here.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago to help when work feels overwhelming. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and we humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take[2]:

When feeling overwhelmed at work, use Parkinson's Law.

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad. It’s more wishful thinking than bad judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage when we’re feeling overwhelmed at work. If you have estimated that to write five important emails will take ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is that you put yourself under a little time pressure, and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time, so it plays tricks on us, and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our team members to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening, and we get more focused and more work done. This will help when work feels overwhelming.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos to avoid getting overwhelmed at work. Schedule time for each task, especially high priority tasks, while also grouping together similar tasks. This will help relieve stress and anxiety in your daily work life.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done, and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer, and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one[3]. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend, or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss or a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away and will only make you feel more overwhelmed at work. You need to make a decision to deal with it, and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved.

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed, and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend about the problem.

    He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem, and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I pay a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first was: don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second: there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we are feeling overwhelmed at work (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

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    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

    It also means that, rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible, and you can make decisions about what to do about them.

    Often, it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be that you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    When work feels overwhelming, it’s not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work. It can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    It’s easy to feel like you have too much on your plate, but there are things you do to make it more manageable. 

    Make a decision, even if it’s just talking to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution.

    When you follow these strategies, you can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Josefa nDiaz via unsplash.com

    Reference

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