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8 Things No One Should Overlook When Becoming Successful

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8 Things No One Should Overlook When Becoming Successful

Excellence is something we are all taught to pursue to our utmost. Many media platforms have categorized levels of success for modern society — e.g. Forbes 30 under 30, Time’s most powerful/influential person, richest man in (insert industry). And while these are all notable and worthy reasons to pursue success, it is very easy to get wrapped up in the end goal and neglect the things that matter most.

The new age philosophy is to be obsessed and insane about becoming successful. Today success is measured more by financial gain than anything else. Many Fortune 500 company CEO’s are self- proclaimed workaholics and YAHOO! CEO Marissa Mayer claims to work over 90 hours a week on 3-4 hours of sleep. Mayer’s success as a female engineer is notable and every bit worth aspiring to. Below are eight things we should never neglect when doing so.

1. Your Health

This cannot be overstated enough. A famous saying goes, “we spend the first half of our lives using our health to acquire wealth and last half using our wealth to maintain health.”

Whether you want to be on the cover of Times magazine or run your own successful business you need to be able to do so. Neglecting your health while in the pursuit of success or the next promotion at work is only detrimental to your own life. Adopting a lifestyle where you work on 2-3 hours of sleep, eat take-away and drink energy drinks is a medium paced path to stroke, heart attacks and future health problems.

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    Organizing our lives and trying to find better ways to treat our bodies should be a priority for all.

    2. Your Origins

    Too often people tend to forget where they came from in search of where they are going. No matter how badly you want to forget your childhood or past experiences/failures and mistakes, understanding where you have come from and how that has contributed directly or indirectly to the person that you have become today is crucial.

    Past failures, mistakes and bad judgement are not things to be ashamed of nor overly regretted. If you can take the time and understand the lessons that life is teaching you, perception changes and it brings light to events that occur. Not all perceived bad things are actually bad; they may take us out of our comfort zone but they are also a blessing in disguise. Think of where you are today and try to imagine where you’d be if not for the struggles that made you stronger.

    3. Your self- worth

    They say there has never been a generation more self-absorbed and vain as Gen-Y and words like selfie have become one of the most used in the English language. Maybe we are more self-serving than the people before us, but do we really value who we are?

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    self worth

      It’s very common to idolize someone successful and aspire to be like them. The media makes a point to remind us daily who we should aspire to be more like, but the problem with putting someone on a pedestal is that we automatically compromise ourselves. We belittle our abilities and wonder if we can ever be as good as the next person. Maybe it’s the top salesman in your office or Oprah Winfrey, but too often in the midst of the greats we tend to hold back for fear of being laughed at, public failure or due to a lack of trust in our capacity to perform certain tasks.

      It’s common to feel inferior among people more qualified, smarter or even better looking. But life requires one thing from you: to always strive for the best with whatever cards you have been dealt. You were not called here on earth to put people on pedestals, any more than you were called to belittle others. Remember what makes you who you are.

      4. Your appearance

      This is not just physical appearance (but that helps too). It’s more about the type of person you portray yourself to be. What perception do people have of you? I never preach being a people pleaser because we all know you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Now naturally some people will simply just hate. That’s their personal life mission and it’s who they are. The chances of being struck by lighting twice are higher than the chances of them changing, and that’s okay.

      We’ve all got jobs to do. The moral isn’t to be liked but to be pleasant. Sometimes, overachievers and intelligent people tend to have the least bit of patience when it comes to other people because they perceive them as slow and lazy.

      You may fall into one of two categories. Are you the person no one comes to for help because they’re scared that you will point them as idiots, or are you the type of person no one trusts with tasks because you always under deliver and produce mediocre work?

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      Sometimes, the perception people have of you is wrong, but where there is smoke there is possibly fire. Try not to be a person of drama and scandals. Be pleasant to people, even those who you do not always agree with. That’s what true class acts are made of. The more pleasant you are, the more pleasant people and situations become.

      5. Your self-assurance

      Self- assurance, as defined by Merriam Webster: great faith in oneself or one’s abilities. Often confused with this word.

      confidence

        There is this misconception that confident people are people who are miracle workers and possess innate abilities beyond human comprehension. In reality, confidence comes from trust in your abilities no matter who in the room is more qualified. Some of the world’s most memorable leaders were in no way exceptional. They just managed to keep a sense of equanimity in the midst of crisis and bring the people to the promise land, leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Nehemiah, Joshua and Martin Luther King to name a few.

        6. Your values

        These are the things you believe in and they have made you who you are. Have you ever wondered about the fact that one man will steal because he lacks and that another will pursue an honest living despite being under similar circumstances? It’s our core values that shape us. Do you think someone who stays up all night for work is being committed or could they use better time management?

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        Opinions we form of others and decisions we make are due to our values. Don’t compromise yourself or betray your beliefs in order to get ahead. Success isn’t so much about how much wealth you can accumulate, but more to do with becoming a person of character in spite of your achievements and material wealth. Growth and development are an essential part of life, but that process is only as meaningful as the foundations they are built on.

        7. Your family

        Family is so important. It cannot be overstated. As cliché and overrated as it may sound, they are important.

        family

          Think of all the choices you have in life, where to live, where to work, where to study, what food to eat, who to marry, to have kids or not, to apply for that promotion or not, what insurance company to go with. But you did not choose your family. Now you’re stuck with that annoying sibling who grates your cheese every chance they get or maybe your best friend is your brother/sister. Either way, if ever someone tells you they do not believe in fate, tell them family is fate. So do not neglect them in the pursuit of accumulating worldly wealth and status.

          8. Don’t be too hard on yourself

          Maybe you are not where you planned on being at 25 or 30 or 40 or even 50. So what if you didn’t do everything on your bucket list? There is this amazing God-given gift called life, and it goes on and on; so until you drop dead, you are not finished.

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          When you embark on a journey to be successful and achieve your wildest dreams, it can be the scariest and sometimes loneliest journey. Learn to drown out all the noise and focus on why you are doing what you are doing. Remember to never doubt yourself and have the utmost faith that Heaven is on your side.

          Featured photo credit: Businessman in Silhouette Walking in a dark tunnel. With room for your Text via shutterstock.com

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          Kayiba Mpoyi

          Writer by birth

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          Last Updated on October 7, 2021

          Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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          Are You Addicted to Productivity?

          “It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

          Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

          “Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

          Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

          Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

          “The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

          This is my mantra:

          I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

          But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

          Addiction to Productivity is Real

          Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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          “A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

          Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

          “It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

          Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

          “A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

          “There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

          “For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

          There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

          Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

          By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

          Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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          Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

          Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

          Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

          The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

          Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

          • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
          • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
          • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
          • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
          • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
          • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
          • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

          The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

          Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

          Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

          1. Set Limits

          Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

          For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

          2. Create a Not-to-Do List

          Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

          3. Be Vulnerable

          By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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          4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

          Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

          Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

          There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

          5. Don’t Be a Copycat

          Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

          That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

          6. Say Yes to Less

          Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

          That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

          Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

          7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

          “In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

          “That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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          • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
          • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
          • Establish realistic goals.
          • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
          • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
          • Hold yourself accountable.
          • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
          • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

          8. Simplify

          Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

          The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

          9. Learn How to Relax

          “Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

          “But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

          “And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

          But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

          • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
          • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
          • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
          • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
          • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
          • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
          • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
          • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
          • Visit a massage therapist.
          • Just breathe.

          “Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

          It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

          Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

          Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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