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15 Ways Successful People Think Differently

15 Ways Successful People Think Differently

What determines if one is successful or not? It is all in how one thinks and approaches situations. Are you one to actively go all in or do you wade in the water, testing it first?

1. Focusing on What Matters

There are only 24 hours in a day, but of those hours, where are you spending your time? Successful people know what has to happen day in and day out. It’s getting the necessary work done before watching viral YouTube videos.

2. They Don’t Have Endless To-Do Lists

To-Do Lists exist but they include only the top projects that need worked on today. Usually completing three key items a day will mean that the day has been productive. If you complete those, then you can continue on to the other projects. Looking at an infinite To-Do list is not how people think. Make the tasks at hand manageable and they will get completed.

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3. Bouncing Off Ideas with Other People

Have a great idea that you want to launch? Well, do not keep it a secret. Start sharing that idea with others in your industry, friends, strangers, people at the coffee shop. See what their feedback to the idea is. Maybe they will point out something that you have never thought of before and help make your idea soar.

4. They Use the 80/20 Rule

The Pareto Principle is that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. Identify that 20% and focus on it. Tim Ferriss recently explained it with Lifehack here.

5. Learning to Quiet the Mind

Meditation is key with successful people. It’s taking time out whether it be 5 minutes or 30 minutes to clear your mind and set the day off on the right foot. We are inundated with information and your mind must have a way to cut through all of the noise.

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6. Having an Optimistic Outlook

Stop thinking of all the ways that your project or idea will not work and believe in the one that will work. When you think positively, the project will have a better possibility of being successful. Negative thoughts just destroy your mind and everything that you work on.

7. They’re Not Afraid to be Unconventional

Popular thinking does not always lead to the expected result. It takes being unconventional and risks to get the result that you want. If the conventional thought does not lead to your intended result, maybe it is time to start doing things differently.

8. They Follow Through

Successful people always follow through. If you say that you are going to do something, do it. The other person or organization will recognize this, and you will rise above the crowd.

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9. They Collaborate with Others

Have a great project that you want to launch? Perhaps partnering with someone to make it even better and have a greater reach will make a world of difference. Many successful people realize that their project can use an added creative spark from others. Maybe you are a photographer who ends up partnering with a graffiti artist and a writer to create an amazing project.

10. They Know They Can do It

If you think you can, then it is possible. It all starts with believing in yourself. If you want to be a NY Times Best Selling Author, you first have to believe that you are a writer. Believing is key to your success.

11. They Develop Their Thoughts

That great idea may not happen overnight. It takes willingness and time to let it develop. It’s not a one day project that leads to that successful launch, but it takes patience in making sure that the idea is fully developed and that you have put in 150% effort to make it your best.

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12. They’re Not Afraid to be Different

Doing the same things as the top person will not get you where you want to be. As Chase Jarvis says, “Be different not better.” Don’t be an exact replica of someone. Be yourself and be unique.

13. They Stand for What They Believe in No Matter What

Successful people are willing to make a stand for what they believe in. You’re not always going to have an army of people supporting you, but it takes a willingness to stand up for your ideas and beliefs no matter what the situation.

14. They Go All In

No, we are not playing a game of poker here but instead, the game of life. You must be willing to risk it all at times to do what you believe in. Will it work every time? No. However, you must be willing to learn from what happened. You never know if it will work or not unless you try it.

15. They Learn from Their Failures

Whether something worked or not, you must analyze the situation afterwards. What went well? What did not? What can be improved? Successful people always step back from projects after it is said and done, look at the results and learn from their failures so it does not happen again.

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Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

There’s a dark side to the conveniences of the Digital Age. With smartphones that function like handheld computers, it has become increasingly difficult to leave our work behind. Sometimes it seems like we’re expected to be accessible 24/7.

How often are you ever focused on just one thing? Most of us try to meet these demands by multi-tasking.

Many of us have bought into the myth that we can achieve more through multi-tasking. In this article, I’ll show you how you can accomplish more work in less time. Spoiler alert: multi-tasking is not the answer.

Why is multitasking a myth?

The term “multi-tasking” was originally used to describe how microprocessors in computers work. Machines multitask, but people cannot.

Despite our inability to simultaneously perform two tasks at once, many people believe they are excellent multi-taskers.

You can probably imagine plenty of times when you do several things at once. Maybe you talk on the phone while you’re cooking or respond to emails during your commute.

Consider the amount of attention that each of these tasks requires. Chances are, at least one of the two tasks in question is simple enough to be carried out on autopilot.

We’re okay at simultaneously performing simple tasks, but what if you were trying to perform two complex tasks? Can you really work on your presentation and watch a movie at the same time? It can be fun to try to watch TV while you work, but you may be unintentionally making your work more difficult and time-consuming.

Your brain on multi-tasking

Your brain wasn’t designed to multi-tasking. To compensate, it will switch from task to task. Your focus turns to whatever task seems more urgent. The other task falls into the background until you realize you’ve been neglecting it.

When you’re bouncing back and forth like this, an area of the brain known as Broadmann’s Area 10 activates. Located in your fronto-polar prefrontal cortex at the very front of the brain, this area controls your ability to shift focus. People who think they are excellent multitaskers are really just putting Broadmann’s Area 10 to work.

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But I can juggle multiple tasks!

You are capable of taking in information with your eyes while doing other things efficiently. Scientifically speaking, making use of your vision is the only thing you can truly do while doing something else.

For everything else, you’re serial tasking. This constant refocusing can be exhausting, and it prevents us from giving our work the deep attention it deserves.

Think about how much longer it takes to do something when you have to keep reminding yourself to focus.

Why multitasking is failing you

Multitasking does more bad than good to your productivity, here’re 4 reasons why you should stop multitasking:

Multitasking wastes your time.

You lose time when you interrupt yourself. People lose an average of 2.1 hours per day getting themselves back on track when they switch between tasks.

In fact, some studies suggest that doing multiple things at once decreases your productivity by as much as 40%. That’s a significant loss in efficiency. You wouldn’t want your surgeon to be 40% less productive while you’re on the operating table, would you?

It makes you dumber.

A distracted brain performs a full 10 IQ points lower than a focused brain. You’ll also be more forgetful, slower at completing tasks, and more likely to make mistakes.

You’ll have to work harder to fix your mistakes. If you miss an important detail, you could risk injury or fail to complete the task properly.

This is an emotional response.

There’s so much data suggesting that multitasking is ineffective but people insist that they can multitask.

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Feeling productive fulfills an emotional need. We want to feel like we’re accomplishing something. Why accomplish just one item on the to-do list when you can check off two or three?

It’ll wear you out.

When you’re jumping from task to task, it can feel invigorating for a little while. Over time, this needs to fill every second with more and more work leads to burn out.

We’re simply not built to multitask, so when we try, the effect can be exhausting. This destroys your productivity and your motivation.

How to stop multitasking and work productively

Flitting back and forth between tasks feels second-nature after a while. This is in part because Broadmann’s Area 10 becomes better at serial tasking through time.

In addition to changing how the brain works, this serial tasking behavior can quickly turn into a habit.

Just like any bad habit, you’ll need to recognize that you need to make a change first. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to adjust to a lifestyle of productive mono-tasking:

1. Consciously change gears

Instead of trying to work on two distinct tasks at once, consider setting up a system to remind you when to change focus. This technique worked for Jerry Linenger, an American astronaut onboard the space station, Mir.

As an astronaut, he had many things to take care of every day. He set alarms for himself on a few watches. When a particular watch sounded, he knew it was time to switch tasks. This enabled him to be 100% in tune with what he was doing at any given moment.

This strategy is effective because the alarm served as his reminder for what was to come next. Linenger’s intuition about setting reminders falls in line with research conducted by Paul Burgess of University College, London on multitasking.

2. Manage multiple tasks without multitasking

Raj Dash of Performancing.com has an effective strategy for balancing multiple projects without multitasking. He suggests taking 15 minutes to acquaint yourself with a new project before moving on to other work. Revisit the project later and do about thirty minutes on research and brainstorming.

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Allow a few days to pass before knocking out the project in question. While you were actively work on other projects, your brain continues to problem solve-in the background.

This method works because it gives us the opportunity to work on several projects without allowing them to compete for your attention.

3. Set aside distractions

Your smartphone, your inbox and the open tabs on your computer are all open invitations for distraction. Give yourself time each day when you silence your notifications, close your inbox and remove unnecessary tabs from your desktop.

If you want to focus, you can’t give anything else an opportunity to invade your mental space.

Emails can be particularly invasive because they often have an unnecessary sense of urgency associated with them. Some work cultures stress the importance of prompt responses to these messages, but we can’t treat every situation like an emergency.

Designate certain times in your day for checking and responding to emails to avoid compulsive checking.

4. Take care of yourself

We often blame electronics for pulling us from our work, but sometimes our physical body forces us into a state of serial tasking. If you’re hungry while you’re trying to work, your attention will flip between your hunger and your work until you take care of your physical needs.

Try to take all your bio-breaks before you sit down for an uninterrupted stint of work.

In addition, you’ll also want to be sure you’re attending to your health in a broader sense. Getting enough exercise, practicing mindfulness and incorporating regular breaks into your day will keep you from being tempted by distractions.

5. Take a break

People are more likely to head to YouTube or check their social media when they need a break. Instead of trying to work and watch a mindless video at the same time, give yourself times when you’re allowed to enjoy your distracting activity of choice.

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Limit how much time you’ll spend on this break so that your guilt-free distraction time doesn’t turn into hours of wasted time.

6. Make technology your ally

Scientists are beginning to discover the detrimental effects of chronic serial tasking on our brains. Some companies are developing programs to curb this desire to multitask.

Apps like Forest turn staying focused into a game. Extensions like RescueTime help you track your online habits so that you can be more aware of how you spend your time.

The key to productivity: Focus

Multitasking is not the key to productivity. It’s far better to schedule time to focus on each task than it is to try to do everything at once.

Make use of the methods outlined above and prepare to be more effective and less exhausted in the process.

If you want to learn more about how to focus, don’t miss my other article:

How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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