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22 Hardest But Most Important Things You Must Do To Achieve Success

22 Hardest But Most Important Things You Must Do To Achieve Success

How many successful people do you personally know in the world? Most people can’t list more than a handful. Why is achieving success so hard and what is it that sets the successful apart from the less successful?

If you study the biographies of successful people, you will find that it is not where they came from or started out that influenced their success, but rather their habits and ways of thinking. Success has a lot to do with doing what you probably don’t want to do now, so that later on you can do what you really do want to.

If you only do the easy things in life, life will be hard, but if you do the hard things in life, life will be easy. Here are 22 of the hardest, but most important things you must do to achieve success and reach all your goals.

1. Taking big risks

“Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.” – Frederick Wilcox

Taking risks is scary for almost everybody, but you don’t reach success by playing it safe. You have to go after what you want; it isn’t going to miraculously appear on a silver plate in front of you. The bigger the risk, often the bigger the success!

2. Trusting your gut and following your intuition

“I rely far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics.” – Sir Richard Branson

Don’t always overthink everything and try to be as logical as possible, sometimes your intuition is far more accurate in making the best decision for you, according to most successful people. It isn’t easy to do when all logic is telling you otherwise, but learning to trust your gut feeling more could be the best thing you do; it somehow already knows what you already want.

3. Fighting your fears 

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby

If you want to succeed, you have to learn how to overcome your fears and deal with them so they don’t undermine your success. If you don’t master your fears, they will certainly master you and rob you of success.

4. Setting and sticking to goals

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

Most people don’t set and stick to goals because it takes discipline and that extra effort. Did you know that the majority of the most successful people in this world regularly set goals? Goals are your roadmap to success. Don’t overlook this important success habit.

5. Taking responsibility for your results

“Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.” – Les Brown

You cannot be a victim and blame others for the results you have in your life. You create the results you want, you can’t expect somebody else to achieve your goals and get you what you want. If you want success, you have to take responsibility for you achieving it or not, you can’t blame others.

6. Waking up early

“Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it.” – Richard Whately

This is on top of most people’s list, it is often just so hard! It is true though, that by waking up just one hour earlier every day, you’ll have an extra five hours a week to work on achieving your goal. Statistics don’t lie and most successful people don’t sleep in, they rise early.

7. Getting up after getting knocked down

“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” – Vince Lombardi

You don’t have control over what happens to you, but you do have control over how you deal with it. To be successful, you have to keep going when you feel like giving up. You can’t give up on your goal because one thing didn’t work out, that is like slashing your other three tires when one goes flat.

8. Stop procrastinating

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” – Pablo Picasso

Procrastinating can seriously sabotage your chances of success. You lose opportunities, money, damage your reputation and confidence. Deal with your procrastination if you know it is holding you back, don’t let procrastination steal your dreams and success, it happens too often to too many people.

9. Putting results before comfort

“The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work.” – Vince Lombardi

You need to work harder if you want more success in life: the extent of your efforts is the extent of your rewards. It’s not about working long hours and getting as much done as possible, it is about working smarter. At the beginning you need to put in that little bit extra and work harder to give you that boost you need starting off. What you put in, you will get out.

10. Getting it going

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt

It is easy to come up with a million reasons why you should put off taking ‘certain’ actions that you should be taking. How often do you say, “The time isn’t right,” or “I’m not ready”? You just have to get it going, it doesn’t have to be right or perfect, but you need to keep taking continuous steps closer towards your goal. There is always something you can do to take you closer to your goal.

11. Dealing with change

“Change is vital; improvement is the logical form of change.” – James Cash Penny 

It is hard to change and accept it at times, but it is necessary to reach certain goals and be more successful. Strive to embrace change and find ways to adapt to it easier. You need change if you want more success, otherwise, you would be successful now. Don’t resist it, welcome it!

12. Avoiding mindless gossip

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

You and your success are largely influenced by your environment and your circle of friends. The conversations you have with them are the seeds of thoughts, and you want successful thoughts. Talk about ideas and have inspiring conversations and don’t resort to mindless conversations with nothing positive to them that only pollute your mind.

13. Reaching out to others

“The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being.” – Pearl S. Buck

Nobody becomes successful alone, it is not possible. Reach out to others and build relationships on the way. Ask others for guidance when you need help and help others too. It isn’t easy to find and build strong relationships, it takes effort and commitment, but they are super important for success.

14. Not worrying about what other people think

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

It is hard to not let other people’s comments and opinions get you down at times, you are human after all. However, it clearly doesn’t help you when it comes to reaching your goals; with no confidence it becomes twice as challenging. It is up to you whether you will allow others to make you feel less, it is your choice. Simply smile at the people who doubt and put you down and keep moving forward.You can’t strive to have everybody like you in this world.

15. Doing what you truly love

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs

One of the biggest keys to success is to love what you do. You already have the motivation, inspiration and commitment to support you from the outset and along the way. It is challenging to actually do what you love in life and make a great living from it at the same time, but don’t put limits on your life. You decide what is possible in your life; get creative and find ways to make it work if that is what you really want.

16. Planning effectively

“Nobody ever wrote down a plan to be broke, fat, lazy, or stupid. Those things are what happen when you don’t have a plan.” – Larry Winget

You need to have a plan and you need to plan effectively as well. If you don’t plan, how do you know where you are going? You need to set goals, plan how you will reach them and execute your plan. Learning to plan effectively is important as well, it is easy to undermine your efforts with bad planning and therefore undermine your chances of success.

17. Staying enthusiastic

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

Staying enthusiastic when things don’t look good is much easier said than done. In the face of adversity, keeping that spirit of enthusiasm will give you the strength you need to keep going. What you focus on expands, so don’t focus on what isn’t working, put your focus on what you can do to make it work and be enthusiastic about the next possibility.

18. Finding the courage to follow your dreams

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

You need to look fear straight in the eye and move past it. You can reach all your goals and have all the success, if you have the courage to take all the action required with a courageous mindset to back it up. Have the courage to follow your dreams and don’t give up until you reach them.

19. Taking on all challenges

“To be successful you must accept all challenges that come your way. You can’t just accept the ones you like.” – Mike Gafka

You attract the exact challenges that you need to overcome in order to reach your goals and be successful. You can’t pick and choose which ones you get to have, you have to take them all on. They are there to support you in growth and in reaching your goals, they are all equally important to your success.

20. Always taking continuous action

“Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso

When you go to gym, you have to go regularly to really see new results and the same goes for success. You have to take a lot of regular and continuous action if you want to have more than ordinary results. Dreaming, willing and planning alone will not get you there, continuous action will.

21. Always believe in yourself

“Belief in oneself is one of the most important bricks in building any successful venture.” – Lydia M. Child

If you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t expect somebody else to either. You have to be your own cheerleader and toot your own horn. Having confidence in yourself is what makes you successful. Don’t doubt yourself, believe in yourself and you will succeed.

22. Going that extra mile

“Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” – Jim Rohn

The only difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little bit more effort you put in. It is hard and takes much more energy, but how badly do you want success?

 

Success is possible if you are willing to do the things you need to do to get you where you want to be. Don’t give up on your goals and dreams of success; know that they are truly possible if you really want them to be. We all have the same chances of success, whether we take those chances when they come is our first choice.

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Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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Published on January 16, 2019

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

  • Are you a great strategist?
  • Are you an effective planner?
  • Is Project Management your strength?
  • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
  • Are you the ideas person?
  • Is Implementation your strength?

Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

4. Take Time for Planning

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

You can take the time to think about:

  • What’s the purpose of the project?
  • How Important is it?
  • When does it need to be delivered by?
  • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
  • What are the KPIs?
  • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
  • Who is working on this project?
  • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
  • What tolerances can I add in?
  • What are the review stages?
  • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

5. Focus on Priorities

Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
  4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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    The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

    If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

    If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

    6. Take Time Out

    To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

    If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

    Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

    In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

    Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

    7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

    Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

    I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

    Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

    If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

    8. Stop Multitasking

    Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

    So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

    When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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    If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

    9. Work in Blocks of Time

    To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

    I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

    Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

    Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

    Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

    Then take another 10-minute break.

    Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

    By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

    10. Get Rid of Distractions

    Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

    “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

    Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

    If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

    11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

    You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

    Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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    Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

    12. Take a Time Audit

    Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

    Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

    You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

    Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

    Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

    At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

    If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

    13. Protect Your Confidence

    It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

    When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

    Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

    When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

    Final Words

    A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

    The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

    If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

    Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

    Reference

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