Improving your chances of success

Improving your chances of success

Economic Times gives tips for success: Success is never easy and sustained winning at your career over a 30 to 40 year span is incredibly hard

Hack — an uncommon but clever technique to solve problems or create a favourable position. Success is never easy and sustained winning at your career over a 30 to 40 year span is incredibly hard. However, the most successful people seem to get there effortlessly every time. What's common to them is neither genetics nor luck but a set of common habits that create the momentum and circumstances for the dice to be loaded in their favour. You too can take responsibility for your success and achieve massive outcomes by making these small changes in your life that most people ignore. 

Kill the 'snooze' button
'Mind over mattress,' says Robin Sharma, life coach and author. A study says most top executives wake up daily between 4 am and 6 am. Apple CEO Tim Cook starts his day at 4.30 am and is in the gym by 5 am. The extra time you gain in the morning gives you an unfair head start over the rest of the world. You can choose to invest in your health and longevity through exercise, plan out your day to remain in control, spend time with your family or simply complete a few tasks before other people wake up. You will learn to go to sleep early, thus swapping an hour or two of non-productive tiredness for the early morning energy and lack of distraction. One hour every work day morning adds up to a 250 hour advantage or 6 extra working weeks in a year. Your evenings make your career: Quite simply, what you do with the time under your control is what determines where you will end up in life. Thus what you choose to do after work matters more than what you do at office where you have little choice. Instead of TV or social media, invest in yourself. Self-made billionaires like Warren Buffet, Elon Musk and Oprah Winfrey are all voracious readers, reading more than two hours a day as opposed to the average person's 20 minutes. Connect and catch up with people after work to create stronger bonds and grow your network. Do an online course and get certified. The hours invested add up quickly and pay rich dividends. 

First-half hack: 
Stack up your to-do list towards the first half of the day and reserve the second half for meeting people, following up on projects and tackling emergencies. Very successful sales people kick-start their day by making the toughest call first. By getting the most important tasks done when you are fresh builds up tremendous momentum for the entire day. Postponing heavy thinking or problem solving for the second half, when the team is distracted or tired, rarely works out. 

The four-hour game:
Replace four hours of watching cricket over weekends with a game of your own. Choose a skill that you would like to acquire but are never able to find time for. Start writing that book you always wanted to. Learn android programming because you want to be an app developer. As you find enjoyment in learning and growth you will look for opportunities to display and apply your new found skills during the work week. Four hours per weekend adds five working weeks to a year. 

Five minute rule:
 If a task takes five minutes or less, do it now. Else feel free to postpone it. If you remembered a pending follow-up sales call, do it immediately. Successful people are incredibly prompt with responses to requests. They learn to dash off an email while the request is fresh. Avoiding small tasks increases your mental overhead and your to-do list. Getting them out of the way eliminates nagging feelings that prevent you from focusing on big projects. 

When in doubt say 'Yes':
Successful people simply find themselves in the right place at the right time. They get there by saying 'Yes' more often than they say 'No' when an opportunity comes up. Volunteer for projects and activities even when the payoff is uncertain. As you become more accepting of half chances that come your way, your success rate takes off. Even where there is no payoff, you become a person to whom people say Yes when you need help. 

Schedule fun:
Treat your recreation time with importance. Schedule fun for your free time. Successful entrepreneurs and professionals either have a hobby they fall back on or know which activities energise them. If you love movies, schedule one a week. Block your calendar for playing football with friends. Make a family outing compulsory for Sundays. Your fun time relieves your stress and brings back joy and happiness that keeps you going through the week. 

Daily gratitude:
Look out for what is working well and express gratitude every day. When you look out for what is good in your family and team and praise someone daily, you boost their energy levels. Acknowledging others mentally relaxes you and increases their success rate which benefits you too. Counting your own blessings and expressing gratitude keeps you grounded and puts your troubles in perspective. 

OFFICE HACKS

The 'Write' Way  
Carry a notebook to meetings. Note down tasks, ideas, responsibilities and deadlines. This improves concentration and listening skills. You never miss out on responsibilities and have a written reference for the future. 

Find The Wheel
Don't waste time reinventing the wheel. Turn in high quality work while saving hours and days in doing it. Whenever you start a new task, look for the optimum way from someone who has done it before. 

Recap 
After a meeting, ask the person receiving instructions to summarise what was understood. By repeating and over communicating, you eliminate costly misunderstandings. By synthesising what was said, you engage your mind with the problem. 

One Last Time
Before submitting your work or sending email, double check for mistakes and language. If it is a critical task, have another pair of eyes go over it. If you are working on an excel or code, build checksums and automated unit testing mechanisms. 

Cooperate
Whenever you get a chance, lend a helping hand to team mates with deadlines and tasks. Mid and late stage career progressions is dependent on your ability to work with people. As you build bonds, you also receive support. 

Reminder System
For deadlines, put in a calendar reminder to follow up mid-way and closer to end of task. This helps everyone monitor progress and make corrections or add resources before an incomplete project becomes a crisis.

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