You can’t control if you get lucky. You can’t even control if you get a fair chance. Despite the best education, smart planning, and friends in high places, you can be blindsided by the worst of unfair conditions.
Your good ideas can be spoiled by petty people. Your honorable intentions can be undone by passive-aggressive peers. Your intelligence and insight can be copied and stolen and spoiled.
But no one can take from you your effort. No one can force you to not get things done.
It’s the biggest difference between champions and everyone else.
Champions put in more time. They work hard. Every day. And not just working hard for the sake of putting in the effort.
Champions put in effort for the sake of getting things done
They know the value of consistent progress towards success — no matter what that goal is.
The crazy thing about this entire discussion is that most people don’t really know how to get things done.
Don’t get me wrong, the internet is full of experts and gurus who talk eloquently about “working smarter” and the “need to get enough sleep”. They cite case studies about “needing to pace yourself” — all the while never really sharing with you the rulebook that champions use to get things done each day.
So, let me do that for you right now.
If you’ve been wondering how to be more successful — how to make more progress — here are a few rules to help you do just that:
- Go out of your way each day to improve your “mind game”. Everything you ever do — or don’t do — is a direct result of how you think — and what you allow yourself to keep thinking about. Be aware of which thoughts make you act which way. By the way, meditation is a great exercise to figure this all out.
- Take the time to build a list of everything that you need to do. Keep that list updated as new thoughts, ideas, and goals hit you. Make sure you have easy access to that list at all times so that you can quickly add to it. Pull tasks from your brain immediately to your task list.
- Make sure you know what matters now and what can wait until later. Build priorities. Label contingencies. Describe the outcomes you want to see. You can delete stuff later. Just get it all listed out in order of importance. Have tasks to “look at this” or “check out” or “explore” things that are fun and build new skills.
- Use smart technology to remind you of key events. Tools like repeating Google Tasks and Google Goals inside Google Calendar (all available for FREE) make it easy to set up alarms, reminders, and repeating events. You’re guaranteed to get more thing done when you are reminded of the most important things that you need to be doing.
- Build a “Minimum To-Do List”. Tag the items on your daily list that make up the bare minimum that you need to achieve each day. You’ll be surprised at how few items stay on the list, and you’ll be motivated to keep building momentum. A quick trick here is to create daily repeating tasks (or reminders) to do this minimum list of thins.
- Invest in the extra help you need. Instead of trying to do everything yourself, find key tasks – or parts of tasks – that you can hire someone else to help you with. Use online platforms like Fiverr and Upwork to find the help you need to be amazing. Invest in training these people so that you can truly get long term value for the relationship.
- Take time to get physical. Instead of eliminating regular exercise from your schedule, protect the time you work up a sweat. Run. Punch. Kick. Cycle. Just move fast. You’ll find yourself thinking of ideas you wouldn’t have considered. You’ll return to your work focused. And — you’ll eliminate a bunch of the frustration and pettiness you would otherwise direct at those around you.
- Refuse to waste a second on regrets or worries. It’s easy to spin out of control when you think about what you could have done or should have done. Replace those negative thoughts with specific thoughts for moving towards where you want to be. Again, this about you being aware of what you are thinking. When you recognize negative thoughts you pause and switch them to thoughts that help you get closer to where you want to be.
- Reduce (or eliminate) the time you spend on entertainment. It’s amazing how distracting a binge-watch session on Netflix can be. Instead of working toward success, your brain goes to mush when you call up the latest episode instead of working on the things that matter most. Sometimes, you need to take a break and reboot. But that shouldn’t be a “most of the time” thing.
- Be clear about what matters and why you want to achieve it. That state of “not knowing exactly what you want but feeling dissatisfied with what you have and where you are right now” is just a waste of your time. Hire a coach or a therapist. Join a Master Mind group. Find a new set of friends. Push yourself into doing things that are extreme and challenging. In that moment of weakness, what matters will become overwhelmingly clear to you.
- Get more sleep. Most human beings need 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night to operate at optimum performance. Your brain reboots. Your immune system recharges. Your body gets a bit more resilient. The more sleep you can get, the more likely you are to stay strong and healthy — and clear minded. When you do more, you need more sleep. Don’t overdo the sleeping part and don’t think you can cheat time by sleeping less. It’s guaranteed to backfire on you.
- Give time and attention to others. When you invest in others, your brain tells itself that you have more than you need. That sends a signal to the rest of your body to calm down. That everything will be ok. You’ll actually do better work. And., there is something inspiring about seeing others around you achieve progress.
- Pay attention to the details. Getting things done isn’t the same as getting things done well. Don’t just check things off your list. Make sure you’ve done the best that you can do. Take the time to reflect on what you can do better the next time. Dig deep into the success you want for yourself. Hone in on what other people who have achieved the success you want for yourself are doing. Always be learning and growing.
- Apologize when things don’t go the way you want them to go. When things are busy and you’re focused on you, it’s easy to make mistakes or hurt other people’s feelings. Instead of letting that negativity linger, make the smart decision to apologize early. And mean it. Then move on.
- Avoid everyone and anything who takes you off your game. It doesn’t really matter why or when or who — negativity and fear and worry and confusion will crush your ability to get to where you want to be. So avoid it. Don’t try to contain it. Or tolerate it. Get as far away from it, as you can.
Each day is an opportunity do things that matter.
Don’t waste your chance at being a champion because you don’t know how to get things done.
Move. And improve.
Plan. Work. Strategize.
And when you feel like you aren’t making enough progress, stop and return to this rulebook.
Which of these rules have you let slip?