10 September 2006

Inspirational Article - Reprint

TIPS for Extraordinary Living! Written & Published by Philip E. Humbert, PhD

Inch by Inch, Anything's a Cinch

On a daily basis, most of us wish we could get "just a few more things done." We have this sense that other people are more productive, more focused, more energetic or whatever, and somehow they manage to squeeze more into their 24-hour day than we do.

Personally, I don't think they really do. In fact, I've argued for years that highly successful people tend to do LESS, rather than more. The key is that they do the RIGHT things while other (less successful) people run around doing too many things, including too many unimportant things. This week, I want to talk about three critical steps that can help you become vastly more productive and, as a result, vastly more successful. Sound good? Here we go:

1. De-Clutter Your Life. Our lives tend to be too busy, too stressed and too confusing. To become more successful you must solve this problem. It may be hard or difficult, but there really is no other choice.

If you doubt me on this, take a look at any high achieving, highly successful person of your own choosing. Pick a friend or relative who has built a successful business or quickly moved up the corporate ladder. I think you'll find a variety of "keys" to their success, but one thing you will NOT find is chaos in their lives. I suspect you'll notice they tend to be well-groomed and well-dressed. They tend to be punctual, relaxed, calm and clear in their communications. Typically (though not always) they keep a clean desk, office, and personal environment.

Success and confusion simply do not go together. To achieve more, simplify your life. Resolve personal conflicts, resign from some committees or personal commitments. Take time to de-clutter your desk, office and your life.

2. Daily Discipline. Discipline has a gotten a bad rap, and I often prefer the term "self-direction," but whatever you call it, there is no success without the ability to control your personal impulses. In a world of increasing temptations and distractions, high achievers know what they want to accomplish and they have the ability to stay "on task."

Success people quickly develop a system for planning their days, writing down their top priorities, and delaying (or ignoring) the thousand and one daily temptations to do "something else." They know the "tyranny of the urgent" is very real. The ringing telephone, the "brief" conversations in the hall, that quick errand or lunch with a friend all threaten to interrupt us, and once our productivity and "flow" are interrupted, getting back on task can be difficult.

High achievers work from a schedule. They review their goals and priorities every morning, re-commit to achieving them, and have an attitude of self-discipline about moving forward. So should you.

3. Trust the Magic of Small Steps. Finally, high achievers understand a strange paradox in life, that often small steps can achieve better and longer-lasting results than giant leaps. They understand the fable of the "tortoise and the hare." They know that too often, "haste makes waste." In their eagerness to get things done, they know the value of small steps.

Highly success people know that often the quickest way to wealth is a slow, steady routine of regular savings and investment. They know that building a business requires that each step be taken with care and precision, so they take time to plan, think, and consider their options. They know that "fools rush in where angels fear to tread" and that "Rome wasn't built in a day."

One of my favorite examples is that health and fitness cannot be obtained by one dramatic work-out that leaves us stiff and sore the next morning. Rather, fitness is the result of work-outs that are challenging, fun, effective and repeated daily.

Achieving more in life is actually not "hard." It does, however, require an understanding of basic principles and the discipline to put them into practice. There are lots of tips and tricks that can be useful, but the basics never change. De-clutter your life so you can focus on "first things." Practice personal self-discipline to can take control of your own life. And finally, master the paradox of running life's marathon one small step at a time.

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