“Work is hard. Distractions are plentiful. And time is short.” —Adam Hochschild
If you are like most people, you struggle and often fail to find enough hours in the day to juggle life’s numerous demands and still accomplish all the things you need to, let alone to make time for family, friends, and to just enjoy life.
It’s easy to get bogged down with dozens of disparate tasks, some valid but some meaningless minutiae that drain away precious time. You’ve probably developed some sort of management system already, but can you make better use of the precious commodity of time and truly maximize yourself? Take a hard look at your approach.
We all have blind spots and can stand to improve our ways of working. If you’re really going to gain control over your life and fast track your success you may have to eliminate your allegiance to old habits and techniques, and adopt some new methods.
1. SET GOALS TO CREATE A BLUEPRINT FOR BREAKOUT SUCCESS.
Most of us know about goal setting, but few people take the time necessary to do it. Goals are very powerful; once you put them in writing they take a life of their own. Goals give you those targets to aim for and provide the catalyst of desire, motivation, and persistence to reach them. As the late Earl Nightingale, author and personal development guru said, “People with goals succeed because they know where they are going. It’s as simple as that.”
2. IDENTIFY IMPORTANT TASKS
Learn to separate important tasks from nonessential ones. Be ruthless in decisions on how you use your time and the tasks you choose to tackle. Most people spend far too much time on unimportant tasks because they are often easier to handle than important ones. Don’t get bogged down with nonessential time wasters, which we call “junk.” Get rid of it all. Ask yourself regularly, “Is this task essential or nonessential?
3. SET ASIDE TIME FOR “THINK TIME”
This is uninterrupted high-quality time to do just that; to think! We often find too many people multi-tasking and buried by a multitude of distractions. Think Time requires eliminating all distractions and mental clutter so you can hyper-focus on your chosen project at hand and to plan your strategies for success more effectively.
4. DISCIPLINE YOURSELF
Once you have made a commitment to do something you have to muster the discipline to make it happen. Get out of your comfort zone and force yourself to do the things you need to do. At all costs, avoid leading an undisciplined life. Banish procrastination! Clear your head and embrace self-discipline; develop a do-it-now mentality. Don’t put off an unpleasant job; just jump in and do it.
5. BE DECISIVE
Smart people make quick decisions. Granted, you should make decisions carefully, but you never know for sure if you’re making precisely the right decisions, so don’t agonize over them. Often, going with your gut reaction eliminates brain cramps by overthinking and in most cases achieves better results than a self- induced “paralysis through analysis.”
6. GET ORGANIZED AND ELIMINATE TIME WASTERS
Most people spend far too much time and energy engaging in unproductive activities. Be sure to eliminate these top time wasters:
- Unimportant telephone interruptions and personal calls
- Lack of goals and strategic planning
- Drop-in visitors
- Frequent meetings
- Being unorganized
- Improper or overuse of digital technologies
7. KNOW YOUR HOURS OF PEAK PERFORMANCE
Everyone has an internal clock that influences peaks and valleys of performance. It’s natural for your energy to fluctuate during the day. Don’t fight it. Use it to your advantage. Make a mental note of your peak performance times—the times when you have the most mental and physical energy—and use these “power hours” to accomplish your most important tasks. Leave less important jobs for your lower-energy periods.
These 7 essential surefire techniques work remarkably well! Master them and be on your way to fast-tracking your Breakout Success.
Image of business scaffolding courtesy of nouspique, Flickr.
John Kuhn and Mark Mullins are business consultants with decades of corporate, entrepreneurial and academic experience. Their newly published book is: Street Smart Disciplines of Successful People – 7 Indispensable Disciplines for Breakout Success.