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The 10 Biggest Blunders That Keep You Away From Success

The 10 Biggest Blunders That Keep You Away From Success

Success. What is it and why is it that some people seem to be blessed with success all the time and others just aren’t?

It’s not magic. There are simple traps that many of us fall into that hold success just out of reach.

First of all, let’s define the word “Success”. According to Miriam Webster online there are two very different definitions of “Success”. Here they are.

Success:

“the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame”

“the correct or desired result of an attempt”

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If you want wealth, respect, or fame, the first one is for you. If you have a particular aim or goal in mind, definition number two applies.

In either case, success can be achieved by anyone, but you must be cautious, as there are some very real traps that can keep you from achieving your goals and success. Here are the main ones:

1. Ignorance

It sounds simple enough but you would be surprised at how many people are rock-headedly ignorant and think they know it all! Thinking you know it all already is a sure way to keep from learning anything about what you need to know to be successful. The people who are the most successful in their chosen fields have decided that they needed to learn everything they could about their field, and they never would have done so if they had already thought they knew it all.

I have seen people who are stone cold failures and still will not listen to anyone who tries to help them learn something. It is sad really because their situation will never change until they decide that there is something to learn, and then set about trying to learn it.

2. Too much useless or false information

This is a big problem because the question arises: “How do you know if information is true or not?” There is soooo much false information out there, so it can be difficult‒if not impossible‒to tell which information is true.

Well, I am here to give you a valuable piece of information and it is this: if you use the information as recommended and it works, it is true. If not, you either did not use It correctly or it is wrong. Try it out and see if it works. Then you’ll know.

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Another way of deciding whether information will be useful is to look at the source of the information. Is it credible? Has the person who is giving you the information had measurable success with it? These are simple quick and easy tests you can run through to see if information is valuable.

For example, imagine that a person is trying to sell a learning method. If they have a lot of successful students who can learn and apply the information and then become successful with it, you can bet that the claims they are making are true.

3. Being superficial

Whether you are studying for your field or working in your field, put your heart and soul into it. While learning, learn everything you can. While working, do everything you can. Find out about all the inner workings of the various aspects of your job. Be very curious and ask yourself why things are the way they are.

Remember, your work should be something you are passionate about. If you are not, your chances of success are limited. The passionate people are the ones who draw others to them and take the time and expend the effort necessary to get ahead. The absolute worst thing you can do is work just for a paycheck.

4. Taking shortcuts

This is similar to my last point except that even passionate people can be tempted to take shortcuts. Remember! If there is not enough time to do it right, there is even less time to do it over! Sit down and do the job properly. This is true with every job in life. Put your attention on it, send the distractions on their way and get it done right.

5. Listening to naysayers

You know those annoying people who come to you saying, “It can’t be done.” or, “Its been done before.” or, “What makes you think you can do it when so many others have failed?”

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These people are simply trying to stop you for reasons that they are not saying. Perhaps you being successful when they have failed makes them wrong in some fashion. Perhaps they are just jealous. Perhaps they have been listening to too many other naysayers. In any case, this has nothing to do with you. Their failures are their failures and have nothing to do with your success.

6. Settling for “Plan B”

Plan B is the plan that you were told you should have to “fall back on,” especially if you have chosen a career in the arts. I don’t know where this idiocy came from because when you look at it, there is art all around you. There are movies and films and music everywhere. It stands to reason that someone somewhere is paying for it.

If you have a passion for something other than a “real job” go for it! Find those who are successful and find out what they did to be successful, and then do that! It really is that simple. There are steps to success in any field and most people who are successful in their fields are willing to help an enthusiastic person find their way. Find out the steps that lead to success and take them.

7. Not keeping your focus.

It is so easy to get distracted in this day and age. Everywhere people and various media outlets are desperately trying to get your attention. A lot of what they are pumping out is really interesting too!

More than ever we have to manage our distractions and be ruthless about not allowing them to take over. Schedule your time for the things you know are distracting but do not lead to your goal. You don’t have to give up your favorite distractions but you do need to manage them and keep them from eating all your time and energy.

8. Failing to write out the steps you need to take daily to move forward toward your goal.

This is so important, and it ties in nicely with my last point. Distractions can easily creep in when you don’t have a clear idea of what you need to actually do to move forward.

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In my line of work, I have so many projects and I love taking on more. If I don’t write down a “battle plan” of the things I need to get accomplished every day, I can pretty much call that day wasted. I will get up and fog around the house doing nothing of value until I realize that it is time for my afternoon appointments.

If I have a battle plan or a “To Do” list, not only do I get more done, but I can look at it at the end of the day and see how productive I was. This aids morale because you are as happy as you are productive in life. When you see that you have gotten a lot done, you are a lot more motivated to do more.

9. Underestimating the amount of effort required to achieve your goal.

It is sometimes very difficult to know how much effort you need to expend to really get moving on a path toward success. In that case, it is safer to overestimate than underestimate. Assume that you will be working your buns off. If that large of an effort is not required, it will be a pleasant surprise. If it is, you will be ready.

Any goal that you are going after will require effort and in most cases, lots of it. If you are ready for it and willing to expend your effort smartly, you will succeed.

10. Thinking that someone else’s definition of success will work for you.

At the beginning of my post, I gave you two definitions of “Success,” but there is another definition that is infinitely more important‒your own, personal definition of success. Sit down and write it out exactly. What does success mean to you? Without a clear idea of what you are going after you will not be able to reach it. If you know exactly what you want, you will know with each and every action you take whether or not it is taking you closer to your goal.

Once you do that, look at the traps and make sure you are not falling into them. They can be insidious, meaning they can sneak up on you. Be aware and keep a copy of this article in hand and refer to it every so often.

Write me and let me know how it is going. You can put your note or questions in the comments section and I will respond.

Good luck!

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Chris Ellis

Successful Author, Life Coach and Musician

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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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