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7 Common Things The Most Successful People Do

7 Common Things The Most Successful People Do

If you like to say that successful people “have it made,” please stop. Most people are leading a life that is a direct result of their thoughts, behaviors, and actions. And what is “success” anyway? This article isn’t about success in the form of a bulging bank account or sweet ride. It is about doing fulfilling work that makes a positive impact on the lives of others. Keep on reading to discover the 7 common things the most successful people do.

Successful people know their priorities.

The world is full of places to visit and things to do, but unless you are a cyborg that never sleeps or a fortunate recipient of the Fountain of Youth, there is no way you can do ALL THE THINGS. Be ambitious and aim to accomplish whatever makes you happy, but spreading yourself too thin will wreck your focus before you can say “burn-out.” If you’re not sure how to get your priorities straight, ask yourself, “What do I want to be remembered for long after I’m gone?” Think that over for a few days – change your answer as you please (expect to change it a lot as the months and years go on) – and do the thing that makes you happy.  

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Successful people focus with all of their might.

As Ron Swanson said, “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.” Multi-tasking is just a slightly more productive version of procrastination. Whereas no work gets done during procrastination, lots of work gets done (but badly) while you multi-task. Every day, give yourself a list of one to three important tasks that you will complete no matter what happens. Focus on the important things, and the rest has a way of falling in place.

Successful people take time to recharge.

I have to confess I’m sometimes guilty of working beyond my limits (I am secretly the Energizer Bunny, shhhh). While the grind makes me feel happy and productive at first, pushing too hard just leaves me exhausted and sick of everything. Your hard work won’t vanish if you walk away for a few minutes, hours or days, so take a breather. You will come back refreshed and ready to succeed. Also, if you are working on a creative task and run face-first into writer’s block or experience a severe drop in brain power, this probably means you need to walk away.

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Successful people put the needs of others first.

You will be hard-pressed to achieve great heights of success without a team of friends and colleagues cheering you on. The best way to build a team of people who want you to succeed is to treat them the way they want to be treated (imagine that!). Connect with like-minded folks in your field to make new friends who you can absorb knowledge from. Offer to help your friends, fans, or followers for cheap or free while you put the finishing touches on the brilliant product or service you plan to offer (and then ask them for testimonials!). And a bit of tough love: a lot of mushy self-help gurus like to say you can succeed doing whatever your heart desires as long as you try hard enough. This is a load of garbage. If you’re not offering something that your target audience finds useful or appealing (or if you couldn’t even tell me who your target audience is), you need to do some soul-searching. Be relevant to people’s needs, or fail.

Successful people adapt to changing scenarios.

Don’t you wish you could predict all of life’s inconveniences, curveballs, and catastrophes? It would be nice to have a heads up about hurdles headed our way so we could brace ourselves for the high jump, but life would get awful boring if it was so scripted all the time. Because I have no crystal ball to offer you, you need to improve your ability to adapt. Life isn’t fair and it never will be fair. But no matter what happens, remember that you (and only you) have full control of your life. Success doesn’t typically come from what you do, but how you react to an ever-changing script.

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Successful people challenge their beliefs.

Your belief is only as strong as your willingness to challenge it. You don’t receive a gold star for being right. Your willingness to be wrong is directly proportionate to your odds of success. I don’t know about you, but I’m quite sure I don’t have it all figured out. The simple act of being wrong (and admitting it) can increase your knowledge, make you humble, expand your perspective, and help you succeed.

Successful people focus on the Big Picture.

The problems you’re facing today seem a lot bigger than they really are. If you’re stressing out about something right now, ask yourself, “Will this be a big deal next week/month/year?” Stop seeing every day as an isolated event but rather a mere piece of the jig-saw puzzle that is your life. All of the pieces might not be perfect. Some of them might even be discolored, torn, and rotten. But the quality of each singular piece is irrelevant. The important thing is the completed puzzle that is your life.

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Successful people do apply what they learn. Are there any takeaways from this article that you’re going to run with? If so, tell us in the comments!

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on November 3, 2020

How to Use the Prioritization Matrix When Every Task is #1

How to Use the Prioritization Matrix When Every Task is #1

It takes being productive to get things done correctly and on time. So how do you know which tasks are essential and which can wait? The answer is in the Prioritization Matrix, also known as the Eisenhower Matrix.

The matrix took its name after Dwight David Eisenhower.

Eisenhower was a general in the US army and the 34th President of the United States from 1953 to 1961. As a five-star general and a Supreme Commander in the US Army, he drafted the strategy for an Allied invasion of Europe.[1]

Eisenhower had to make tough decisions every time about which tasks to prioritize out of many he needed to focus on daily. So, he came up with the famous Eisenhower Matrix, or the Prioritization Matrix.

What Is the Prioritization Matrix?

The Prioritization Matrix is a tool for rating your tasks based on urgency. It helps you know the critical activities and those tasks that you should bypass and can be useful in project management, small businesses, or personal tasks.

Eisenhower famously said of the matrix:

“Most tasks that are urgent are not important, and most tasks that are important are not urgent.”

This quote became the maxim for Eisenhower in managing his time.

There are four quadrants in the Prioritization Matrix, which help in comparing choices of what to do first and last, allowing you to prioritize projects and create strategic plan[2].

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Eisenhower Matrix Template

    The quadrants are:

    • Do
    • Schedule
    • Delegate
    • Eliminate

    Do

    Do is the first quadrant in the Prioritization Matrix, and it incorporates important activities. That is, those tasks you need to carry out urgently — crises, deadlines, and issues that need your urgent attention and are highly relevant to your life mission.

    Hw do you know which task falls into this quadrant?

    Start by analyzing your priorities, and then establish if it falls within the ‘do it now’ criteria. If the task is achievable within a day, or within 24 to 48 hours, it’s urgent.

    Another approach you can adopt in prioritizing tasks in this category is to adopt the “eat the frog” principle by Mark Twain. This principle recommends that you do the most urgent activities as soon as you wake up.

    Here’s a practical example.

    Let’s say you need to draft a content strategy and submit a report to your manager. It’s Saturday, and the deadline for submission is Monday. Can we say the activity is urgent? Definitely!

    Schedule

    The second quadrant of the prioritization matrix is Schedule. The Prioritization Matrix classifies tasks in this category as important but not that urgent.

    They are long-term objectives and tasks with no immediate deadline. Those tasks could include meditation, journaling, studying, family time, and exercising.

    You can plan out activities in this quadrant for some other period. For instance, you should exercise for good health, but you can allocate time to do it.

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    Schedule these activities in such a way that they don’t transfer to the “Do” or “Urgent” quadrant. Ensure you have sufficient time to carry them out.

    Delegate

    The third quadrant of the prioritization matrix is Delegate.

    These tasks are not important to you but are quite urgent for others. This is where teamwork comes into play.

    You can technically perform tasks in this category, but it makes sense to delegate them. Delegating tasks will ensure you have more time to pursue activities in your first two quadrants.

    You should also monitor the tasks you have delegated. It will only amount to a sheer waste of time if you don’t have a tracking system for delegated tasks.

    Eliminate

    The last quadrant highlights your productivity killers. They are tasks that are not important to your goals and not urgent. The only way to boost your productivity is to eliminate them.

    Some examples are constantly checking your phone, watching movies, or playing video games.

    They could also be bad habits that you need to identify and delete from your daily and weekly schedule.

    Successful people have learned how to prioritize and stick to what’s important. They have learned to find a better person for a task or eliminate less significant tasks.

    Let’s consider two inspiring personalities that have designed their prioritization system.

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    Warren Buffet developed a two-list prioritization model to determine which task deserves his best attention. The bottom line is bypassing things that are important and useful but not top of the priorities.

    Mark Ford, a business advisor, marketer, self-made millionaire, and author devised his strategy:

    “Start work on the most crucial priority, take a break, work on the second most important task, take a break, then sort out the less important activities and any tasks he received from other individuals by afternoon.” [3]

    How to Use The Prioritization Matrix

    Using the Prioritization Matrix can be tricky if you’re new at it, but by following a few simple steps, you can learn to utilize it in the best way possible.

    1. List and Rank Your Priorities

    Highlight all the tasks you need to carry out in a day. Then, classify them with weighted criteria based on urgency and importance.

    Identify any activity that requires prompt action. I’m referring to a task that if you don’t complete that day, it could produce a grave consequence. For instance, if you don’t submit your content strategy, other content writers cannot work. It means you need to check for high-priority dependencies.

    2. Define the Value

    The next step is to examine the importance and assess which of them impacts your business or organization the most. As a rule of thumb, you can check which tasks possess higher priority over others. For instance, you need to attend to client’s requirements before you take care of any internal work.

    You can also estimate value by examining how the task impacts the people and customers in the organization. In a nutshell, the more impact a task has on people or the organization, the higher the priority.

    3. Take out the Most Challenging Task

    Procrastination is not a symptom of laziness, but avoidance is. The truth is that you will typically avoid tasks you don’t want to do. The former CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, once said he would take out the most dreaded task first thing when he got to the office.

    Brian Tracy called these tasks the frogs you need to eat. That will remove the nagging dread, which mounts pressure on you when you postpone necessary tasks[4]. This is where the Prioritization Matrix can help; eat the “Do” frogs immediately.

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    If you need help overcoming procrastination, check out this article.

    4. Know What’s Important to You

    As long as you are in this cosmos, you will always encounter different choices that may be contradictory to your goals. For instance, a fantastic promotion that requires excessive travel will isolate you from important relationships. If you are not priority-conscious, you may accept it, even though your family is your priority.

    Therefore, it makes sense to identify what is important to you and to prepare yourself not to compromise those important things for immediate pleasure or gain.

    Yogi Berra captioned it this way:

    “If you do not know your destination, you might end up somewhere else.”

    5. Establish Regular “No Work” Time

    YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki established a rule not to check her emails between 6 pm and 9 pm. According to a CNN Business report, she was the first woman to request maternity leave when Google just got started. She prioritizes dinner time with her family despite being the CEO of YouTube[5].

    Is it possible to cut out time for our relationships and interests outside of work?

    Of course, and that’s why you need to set out your “no work” time. This approach will enable you to renew your energy levels for the next task. Also, you will be in the best position to introspect as you are not in your usual work zone.

    6. Know When to Stop

    You can achieve everything on your list sometimes. After you have prioritized your workload and assessed your estimates, remove the remaining tasks from your priority list and focus on your most urgent and important tasks.

    Conclusion

    It’s not enough to be successful at work. Ensure you make out time for your family and an important relationship in your life.

    Getting started and finding time may be tricky, but with some practice using the Prioritization Matrix, you’ll find that you are more productive and better able to divide your time between the things that are important to you.

    More Tips on Prioritizing

    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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