What is it that separates people who are highly effective in work (and life) from those who are less so? Often it’s a few very specific (and learnable!) things. Acquire these eight simple habits and you won’t just get more done, you might actually change your life.
1. Visualize Your Success
Recognize your greatest goals and the successes that you want to achieve in work and life. See them, feel them, and imagine how wonderful it will be when you reach them. Visualize how you will get there, and make a plan to do so. Effective people know that you have to keep your goals top of mind in order to achieve them.
2. Focus on One Task at a Time
Don’t pile on too many projects at once. Each morning, jot down two or three things that you will focus on, and don’t let interruptions bog you down. It’s easy to allow new problems to distract you from wrapping up old ones. Understand the difference between what’s important versus (merely) urgent, and prioritize accordingly. Set deadlines for yourself—and keep them.
3. Get Active
Don’t be a prisoner of your desk, office, or workspace. Get outside in the morning, during breaks, or in the afternoon, and take a quick walk to get yourself moving. Let your mind wander as you enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Just 10 minutes a few times a day can make a world of difference in your productivity. As a rule of thumb, you should do something active to clear your mind each day.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
It’s hard to say no when faced with a new project or opportunity, but the most effective people know that they can’t do everything—especially not all at once. If you aren’t sure that you can take something on, say no, or defer the task, or delegate the work to someone on your team who has both the time and the expertise to complete it.
5. Value Your Time
Spend your time wisely, and do your best to avoid the distractions that you can control while in the office. Keep an open-door policy, but don’t allow people to monopolize your time on topics or issues that don’t mesh with the goals of your organization, your team, or yourself.
6. When You Need Help, Ask For It
Our egos sometimes get in the way of asking for help, but to avoid asking for help when we need it is a big mistake. Sometimes it only takes a fresh viewpoint to figure out a solution that seemed impossible. Ask for help judiciously, however, by seeking advice from people whose opinions and values are aligned with yours and those of the organization.
7. Be a Good Listener
Good listening skills are vital to your productivity, because listening well helps to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications that create needless work. If you’re talking more than you’re listening, you’ve got a problem.
8. Be Grateful
Appreciate what you have and the opportunities you have been given. When you’re satisfied with your job and your life, you’ll find that work gets accomplished more quickly. Take time each day to be thankful for what you have and where you are on your journey. But don’t get complacent. Continue to seek knowledge and grow so you’ll always be ready to take on new challenges.
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