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7 Habits Highly Effective People Don’t Have

7 Habits Highly Effective People Don’t Have
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Highly effective people, you know the sort. They’re always getting stuff done and having a good time doing it.

Annoying, aren’t they?

What’s so wrong with being ineffective anyway? Other than not getting stuff done and not having fun doing it, it’s pretty peachy. Why can’t they be like the rest of us?

Actually, maybe being highly ineffective isn’t all that great after all. Maybe things would be a little better if we dropped the habits (like these seven) that highly effective people never picked up in the first place.

1. They don’t see failure as the end.

For many, screwing up is the end of an endeavor. Give something a shot, see it fail (sometimes spectacularly) and give up.

Failure is not an end point, it’s a fresh opportunity. You can try things a different way. You can tackle things with a new approach. You can explore things with an open mind.

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Failure is just the start.

2. They don’t busy themselves with stuff that doesn’t matter.

Life is filled with distractions. There’s gossip to catch up on, that new box set to watch, and Facebook and Twitter aren’t exactly going read themselves, are they?

It’s easier than ever to occupy your time, but people who make wonderful things happen don’t simply pour their time down the drain. They choose how they spend it.

Make a deliberate choice to spend time productively engaging in something that matters to you. You’ll see how much of a gift the time you have really is.

3. They don’t blame others when things go wrong.

Life has too many variables for everything to work out perfectly. When things don’t go to plan it’s really tempting to blame everything and everyone else. He didn’t do what he was supposed to. They just didn’t get it. She should have done that better. The timing’s all wrong. They let me down.

But all that gets you is the notion that you’re in the right, often at the cost of some happiness, joy or learning.

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Always be ready to let go of the need to be right (or to be seen as right), and own your part however things turn out.

4. They don’t pull back from the edges.

When you’re at the edge of the unknown it’s natural to want to turn back to the familiar. It’s safe there. You know how things work there. You can be sure of yourself.

Of course, a life lived within the bounds of the familiar is not a life lived at all. Each time you turn away from risk, opportunity or possibility, you lose a piece of your self-confidence. Eventually, you’ll lose all heart and promise.

Take a deep breath, summon your courage and be willing to explore what’s next for you.

5. They don’t just drift from one thing to another.

Life has a way of carrying you on its ebb and flow doesn’t it? Before you know it, another year has passed and you’ve barely scratched the surface of what you wanted to do.

While being a goal-obsessed, hustling automaton isn’t recommended, neither is purposeless drifting. What matters then is context.

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Give your behavior, choices and actions a sense of direction toward something that matters to you and you’ll be able to make a difference in ways that matter.

6. They don’t take on the world by themselves.

Doing something that matters, finishing a project or creating something wonderful takes time and effort. Sometimes, huge amounts of each.

In today’s world where we’re increasingly measured and judged by arbitrary measures of success and what we appear to achieve, it’s easy to think that it’s all on you. You toil. You work. You endure. You think taking it all on is what strong people do.

That’s nonsense, of course. Sometimes, seeking help and gathering support is the bravest, smartest and most effective thing to do. The most meaningful success isn’t achieved in isolation.

7. They don’t get consumed by the details.

I can’t believe she said that. You’ll never guess what he did. Why can’t they just sort it out? I don’t want to feel like this any more. You simply don’t get it. She went and did it. Who do you think you are?

Too many people spend the bulk of their time wrapped up in the drama and detail of their lives and they forget all about the beauty and possibility right in front of them.

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That drama and detail might make a good TV storyline, if you’re into that sort of thing, but it will only hold you down and stop you from productively engaging in what matters

If you want to stand any chance of making wonderful things happen you need to stop being ineffective and drop these seven habits that highly effective people don’t have. You’re made of more. Just let it go.

Ineffective or effective. The choice between them is, as it always has been, is entirely up to you.

Which way are you gonna go?

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Steve Errey

Steve is a confidence coach who helps leaders build confidence.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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