Success can be measured in hundreds of different ways. When asked about achievements, some professionals might look to their salary, their list of publications, or their charity’s social progress. Despite how an individual determines whether or not they are successful in their professional lives, or how that success might compare to someone else’s is a personal calculation. Here are seven habits of highly efficient professionals.
Successful people will agree — at least part of their success is due to their high level of efficiency.
Watching for and building on habits that bring success, most professionals continue to learn and grow in their craft throughout their whole lives. Here are a few of the habits that people put into practice for success. Many of these ideas are mentioned in great detail in books, business school, podcasts, content, and events.
1. Dedicate Yourself.
A key to creative, professional, and personal productivity is vision and being able to envision exactly what you’re working toward. Without vision or purpose, you’re going to spend an awful lot of time paddling about aimlessly in the proverbial river of life. As Jason Fried wrote in his bestseller REWORK, “When you don’t know what you believe, everything becomes an argument. Everything is debatable. But when you stand for something, decisions are obvious.”
The real secret to being effective in life is simple. You need to know precisely what you want and pursue that goal as you see it in your mind.
2. Eliminate Distractions.
Being a workaholic isn’t necessarily a good thing; it all depends on how you’re getting your work done. If you can do something in a minute that might take the next guy five minutes to complete, then it doesn’t matter if you work a four-hour day, just as long as you’re accomplishing your goals. Many find that making a morning routine helps.
Try to find efficiency in your daily routine. Creating efficiency is the same thing as eliminating distractions. Don’t get caught up in e-mail, Facebook, or all the other time-wasters on the internet. Instead, focus on the end task and nothing else.
3. Talk the Talk.
Communication is everything. To be an effective participant in a meeting or team, you’ll need to communicate effectively. Otherwise, your ideas and input might not be considered for what they’re worth, and then what?
Another part of “talking the talk” is being easy to reach. E-mails, phone calls, or text messages should be dealt with as they arise. If you’re working on something at a critical stage, you can eliminate all unnecessary communication.
4. Take Another Look.
If a problem seems unsolvable, taking a few steps back can make a world of difference. Genuinely successful people can create new perspectives for themselves. They learn to see issues, people, or situations from several angles and allow for a more coordinated response.
It’s rare today that a problem is black-and-white. Competent professionals can recognize the many facets and solutions to every question or issue.
5. Be Flexible.
A branch that can’t bend with the wind will break. Flexibility and the ability to adapt to uncertain scenarios makes you a valuable employee. The ability to see the entire problem and make spur-of-the-moment decisions can make a real difference in reaching one’s goals.
Be ready to embrace change as it comes. If you allow yourself to be open to opportunity, then an opportunity will make a habit of presenting itself.
6. Cool Down.
Living a life of high productivity or high stress can leave people a little high-strung or tightly wound. No one can work twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and walk away unscathed. Check yourself if you want the chance to be a highly efficient professional.
You should be able to detach from your work. Calendar time and fill that time with an activity that will allow you to recharge and rehab your body and mind. Take time to exercise. You’ll find that if you allow yourself time to recharge, you’ll do better work whenever you are working. The brightest flames tend to burn the hottest and the quickest, but there’s no sense in burning yourself out.
Organizing yourself doesn’t necessarily mean having a clear, empty desk and ten pencils sharpened and neatly arranged. Being organized is a state of mind, and it will manifest itself differently for everyone. Some people find productivity only in a clean, open space, while others need every surface of their work area to be covered in quotes and images before they can find inspiration.
The bottom line is that a successful individual knows how, when, and where their best work is done. A successful life is hard to measure. Remember that as the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre wrote, a man or a woman is only a sum of their actions, not a sum of their plans, hopes, or wishes.
If you want to be efficient and successful, you’ll make a plan. Calendar that plan, and follow the steps you’ve laid out for yourself. Most people out there would be millionaires already if wanting that goal was all you had to do. Wanting is the natural part — doing what’s required is a little more difficult.