As I’ve considered what some of today’s greatest achievers – Richard Branson, Maria Shriver, Arnold Palmer, Tony Hawk, John Wooden and Colin Powell, among many others – have accomplished in their lifetimes, I’ve thought about why many of the rest of us work harder and put in longer hours without achieving the same big results. What makes the difference?
After a great deal of thought, I realized the key is not to do more or work harder; the key is actually to find ways to do less and think more, to be less busy and more productive. In this, I have struck upon the very secret to what separates the super-achievers from the rest of us.
I’ve started applying this strategy in my own life and work. And I’d like to share with you three of the principles I have found to move from stress-filled “success” to super-achievement and a more balanced lifestyle filled with joy, harmony and personal fulfillment.
Learn to Stop Doing
Reevaluate how you spend your time and stop doing the time-wasters. The only way you can gain more time is to stop doing something. If you don’t like what your life has become, you need to figure out what to stop doing so you can concentrate on activities that bring better results in your life.
Consider: if you spent just 40% of your time on your high-value activities, you could double your income. Spend 60% or even 80%, and you could multiply your income by four times.
Create and Protect Your Boundaries
For a workaholic, these are dangerous times. The natural boundaries of time allocated to work, personal and family have been obliterated. Technology has penetrated the walled garden separating these important segments of our lives. This breach provides for constant intrusions into our attention, keeping us constantly connected and at the mercy of a stream of information and demands.
Put a junk filter on your life.
To filter incoming requests, you must first become clear on what you want.
Who are you? Who do you want to become? What is most important to you in life? What direction do you want your life to take?
What are your three most important goals for the year? This month? This week? Today?
After identifying your values, goals and priorities, put a junk filter on everything else and keep it out of your in-box and off your to-do list.
Don’t Just Learn…
Knowledge isn’t power; it’s the potential of power. What you do with knowledge is where the power lies.
Don’t just read a book and put it down.
Read it, summarize the key ideas, then write out how you’re going to implement those ideas in your life. Now act, review and improve. Stick with the ideas in that book until you realize a desired transformation.
I hope you’ll take time to stop and examine your life and incorporate these principles into your daily routine on your journey to super-achievement. Remember: it’s not what you know; it’s what you do.