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Are You A Top Performer Or A Workaholic?

Are You A Top Performer Or A Workaholic?

What did you get done today?

Before you answer, I want you to be completely honest with yourself, because I don’t care that you did your laundry, or responded to 10 emails, or did your grocery shopping for the week. What things did you really get done? The things that lead to the big wins in life. The things that help you get your dreams off the ground. The things that help your business double its revenues this year. How many of those things did you move the needle forward on today?

Our society has an unhealthy relationship with work, which can be distilled down to this erroneous belief: more work means I’m a top performer which equals eventual success.

People who are actually top performers, who get truly valuable work done every day, and are on their way to realizing life’s great wins: financial freedom, time with family, successful careers and businesses, are playing a totally different game than the workaholics. Both groups of people are doing superficially similar work, but one group is bound for success, while the other is bound to wallow in the status quo while wondering what they’re doing wrong.

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Which group do you fall under?

Getting Things Done vs. Feeling Busy

How many times have you gotten to work in the morning, started checking and responding to emails, and all of a sudden four hours have gone by? You grab some lunch, and respond to the responses that have started trickling into your inbox from your previous volley. Your boss calls a couple of meetings which leave you mentally exhausted.

You return to your desk and mindlessly browse social media for a while. You knock off a few things on your to-do list. By now it’s 5 pm. You grab your stuff and brace for the commute home, not having accomplished anything of meaning or value and yet you’ve felt busy and stressed all day.

This is a chronic problem in our instant-communication and information overloaded society. But top performers don’t play those games. They’re completely honest with themselves and know that to move forward in critical areas, other mindless tasks need to take a backseat so they can focus on the important things that really need to get done.

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Priorities vs. To-Do Lists

A typical workaholic is guilty of creating to-do lists with 50 pointless items that need to get done at some nebulous point in the future. To-do lists lead to playing whack-a-mole with tasks that may or may not matter, and they often make us equalize the relative importance of everything on the list.

To narrow down what’s truly important, top performers take the time to prioritize and triage critical tasks that are going to result in discontinuous, big jumps in their lives and careers.This allows them to focus their limited time and energy to accomplishing what’s actually important.

Big Wins vs. Pointless Minutiae

Attaching the same level of value to tasks in our lives makes us unable to tell what true measures of success look like, and hide the big wins from us. This is why workaholics expend the majority of their energy on pointless minutiae like putting out fires over email for hours at a time.

Then, when they realize they haven’t gotten any meaningful work done, they turn to ‘productivity hacks’ or the latest apps for a solution.

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Top performers are able to cut through the noise of minutiae by clearly identifying strategic goals for themselves, their careers or businesses, and breaking down those goals into achievable mini-tasks by the week, by the day, and even by the hour. This lets them chip away at a problem consistently over the long term.

Grounded vs. Frazzled

The default state of mind for a workaholic is being constantly frazzled. Frazzled at an email inbox that’s permanently full. A forever growing to-do list. Mini taskings handed down by the boss. Errands. Appointments. Lunches. It never ends.

Top performers, on the other hand, are grounded and calm. They’re concerned only about things within their sphere of control and over which they can exert a level of influence. They know how to say “no” to pointless tasks that aren’t going to help with strategic goals.

If they’re not in a position to say no, they figure out a way to get it done efficiently, and then move on to more important matters.

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Values vs. Validation

Since grade school, we’re taught to play it safe in whatever task we’re assigned. Color between the lines. Do the problems quickly without error. Then sit quietly in your chair and wait for the teacher to praise you.

This reliance on external validation and praise carries over into our professional lives and careers, and it hobbles us into doing pointless work for the sake of superficial validation from our boss or co-workers.

Top performers play it differently. They act from a place of deep values. Values about themselves, their work, and their place in the company or their business. They take bold risks because they’re confident that doing so will either result in big wins, or lessons to be learned from to make the next attempt better.

Playing it safe is not an option, because playing it safe is what the masses do by performing trivial busy-work.

If you’ve read this far and realize you fall into the workaholic category, re-assess your personal and professional goals. Write down a list for each, stating where you’d like to be five years from now. Next to each one, write down what you need to be doing every day to make that goal happen. Then, execute.

Taking the time to do that simple exercise will put you ahead of the vast majority of people who are simply spinning their wheels and putting out fires. Differentiate yourself and do the daily, hard work. Just make sure it’s the right work

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

How to Achieve Goals and Increase Your Chance of Success

How to Achieve Goals and Increase Your Chance of Success

Does it ever feel like the things you want to accomplish always end up on the back burner? If the answer to that question is “yes,” you’re not alone. Only about 33% of people consistently work toward their goals. In some cases, their goals may seem too lofty to accomplish, or else they aren’t sure how to make a plan for them.

If you don’t come up with concrete steps to take toward your goals, they’ll remain dreams. There’s nothing wrong with being a dreamer, but being able to turn your dreams into goals you can realize will help you lead a happier and more fulfilling life.

Luckily, you can realize almost any dream when you harness the right goal-setting methods.

In this article, I’ll show you how to achieve goals and get closer you success.

1. Break your dreams down into specific and measurable steps

We couldn’t talk about goal-setting without mentioning SMART goals.

SMART goals are specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related.

Specific and measurable steps are so important because if we don’t know what our target it, how can we ever hit it?

Take all those beautiful dreams you have for yourself and make them into things you can actually do. If you want to be an entrepreneur, for example, a step toward realizing your dream might be researching what you’ll need to start your business.

Find out more tips about utilizing SMART goals here:

How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

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2. Have at least one clearly defined goal for every interest and role in your life

It’s so easy to become complacent or stagnate. We often think that our careers are the only places where we need to set goals, but we aren’t only what we do.

To make the most of your life, take the approach that you’re always learning and growing in everything you do. Anything worth doing is worth doing well after all.

Set goals whether you’re sponsoring an activity for your child, taking up guitar lessons or trying to prove your worth at work.

You’ll notice that this approach forces you to constantly develop new skills. It can also be fulfilling to put more focus and value into all areas of your life— not just the ones related to our careers.

3. Align your goals with your life’s mission, purpose and passion

Take the opportunity to do some soul-searching. What is it that you want to do with this precious life of yours?

Anything that conflicts with your life’s purpose is bound to cause discontent. Staying in a bad relationship, doing a job that goes against your values, or maintaining the status quo just because it’s comfortable are not options for you.

Thinking about your goals in this way can help you eliminate things in your life that don’t serve you. This frees up mental space that you can use to do the things you care about the most.

Many of us struggle to find the time to work on our goals, but this strategy enables you to make more time.

4. Create goals that ignite your spirit and inspire you to take action

If you can’t be fired up about your goals from the start, they might not be good goals for you.

The road to success is often tough. You’re going to have times when you might feel tired or discouraged.

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You need to feel inspired enough that you’ll be able to overcome obstacles as you encounter them.

If what you’re doing motivates you to be the greatest version of yourself, you’ll be much more resilient.

5. Write down all your goals in specific, measurable detail

This is your road map for what success will look like. The more you define what you want the finished product to be, the greater the chance that you’ll reach that vision.

When you write down your goals, you’re creating a document that you can revisit to make sure you’re on track.

When you’re in the middle of trying to achieve a big goal, it can be hard to see what’s working for you. The things you write in this step will help you stay on-message as you take your goals out of your mind and into the real world.

Don’t just write down your goals and stash them away in a folder somewhere. Take the extra step to put them somewhere where you’ll see them.[1]

If you have too many goals to post on your desk, write a summary or choose one or two steps to work on for the day. Just seeing them will keep them in the front of your mind.

6. Commit to hitting each of your targets without exception

You wouldn’t have created the target if you didn’t think it was necessary. Hold yourself accountable for taking the steps to succeed.

You can always adapt your strategy or break your targets into smaller steps if you find that they aren’t attainable as you originally wrote them.

Hitting even the smallest target is cause for a celebration. It’s a step in the positive direction. Your success will make you crave more success.

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We often make excuses when we get tired or overwhelmed. Take away the option to make excuses. You will only be satisfied with the best effort from yourself.

7. Share your goals with others to motivate each other

There’s something so powerful about people sharing their goals and dreams with one another. Doing so gives voice to some part of us that could remain hidden (and therefore never be accomplished).

When other people know about your goals, they can cheer you on and hold you accountable. When people share their vision with you, you can do the same for them.

This strategy is particularly beneficial when you’re trying to develop healthy habits. Post about your workout on social media, or do a healthy eating challenge with your best friend. You’ll be less likely to slack when temptation arises, and you’ll probably encourage someone else to reach for their goals too.

8. Set a series of daily, weekly and long-term goals, complete with starting times and deadlines

Many goals never reach realization simply because the goal-setter doesn’t check their progress. People tend to forget what they set out to do, or their goal gets crowded out by other obligations.

Forcing yourself to revisit your goals at regular intervals breaks them into smaller steps and it reminds you to think about them.

Giving yourself regular deadlines for smaller tasks related to your goals also helps you reflect on your strategy. You’ll figure out what works for you, whether your timeline is realistic, and whether or not you need additional help to stay on track.

In addition, celebrating small wins helps you stay motivated. Here’s how:

How To Celebrate Small Wins To Achieve Big Goals

9. Take 10 minutes every day to imagine how great it will feel to achieve your goals

Visualization is such a powerful tool. Some of the most successful athletes, celebrities and business people take time each day to think about how success looks and feels for them.[2] Imagining that feeling of satisfaction can be a great motivator.

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When you do meet your goals, take some time to be grateful. Thank yourself for showing up and doing the work. Be grateful when the stars align properly to help you advance to the next step.

It’s not just getting to the destination of your goals that matters. How you take the journey is important too.

10. Take an action step toward reaching your goals every day

Your goals can easily get buried in the hustle and the bustle. Even the smallest step in the right direction is still moving you forward.

Keep chipping away at the work every day and before long, you’ll start to see those dreams come to life.

Maybe you didn’t start your business today but you designed the logo that’s going to go on your website and business cards. Doing that task well is going to help you so much in the long run.

Concrete actions day by day draw your dreams out of obscurity and into the realm of possibility.

The Bottom Line

Dreams can inspire and overwhelm us. By turning our dreams into goals that we can work toward, we increase our chances of success. Things that once seemed impossible are suddenly within reach.

It’s time to start turning your dreams into goals and your goals into realities. Change begins today.

More Resources About Setting & Achieving Goals

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

Reference

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