In 2007, Arianna Huffington collapsed and broke her cheekbone.
She was sat at home on the phone, when all of a sudden she collapsed. When she woke up, she lay in a pool of her own blood, and had what she would later discover was a broken cheekbone.
After several tests, her doctors told her that this episode was down to stress and exhaustion; a period that Ariana would later describe as the “wake-up call that changed my life.”
Before this, she worked 18-hour days.
She burned both ends of the candle.
She juggled this with family-life.
She “hustled” like all good entrepreneurs do.
And this, I’m afraid to say, is a mistake I see many success-seekers make.
Maybe you’re one of them, and if you are you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Because you see…
The One Thing Successful People Value Above All Else is…
Each day you’re given 1,440 minutes.
That’s it. That is all.
No more and no less, no matter how much or little you have to do.
In the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey, many people lose sight of this. They waste their time, lose themselves in the “hustle”, and damage their health, relationships, and so much more.
Then, at some point, they realise what a stupid thing they have done.
They have a wake-up call—like Arianna had—and they turn their time management and productivity woes into HUGE success.
What I’m about to share with you isn’t magic. It isn’t reserved for only those at the top of the pile.
EVERYONE (including you) can do this, and it begins by turning these three mistakes into big success.
Productivity Mistake #1: You Work From A To-Do List
Do you wake up each day and check your to-do list?
If you do, you are making a BIG mistake!
Working from a to-do list is a terrible idea, and this is why:
- It’s easy to keep adding tasks to a to-do list…
- A to-do list never ends…
- You become obsessed about ticking tasks off your list…
- You become enslaved by your list…
- You stop thinking about what you should be doing, and instead follow what your list tells you to…
So long as a task remains on a to-do list, it has no value.
It may say “write chapter three of my latest book,” but what does this mean?
Will it take me 10 minutes… 30 minutes… 2 hours… 5 hours…?
Instead, they add ALL their important tasks into their calendar/diary.
They prioritise their day based on this, and give each task a value.
They then get to work, and once their calendar says it’s time to move on, they move on.
By doing this, they take control of their day (instead of being a slave to their to-do list).
You can too, but only when you delete that dreaded to-do app.
Productivity Mistake #2: You Do The Same Task Twice
Let me ask you if this sounds familiar:
- You have a spare minute between meetings, so you check your email and read the new ones…
- But you don’t have time to reply to them, so you make a note to do this later…
- You do this a few times throughout the day (reading each email, but never replying)…
- Then, before you clock-off for the day, you re-read all these emails and finally reply to them.
You ever do this?
I’m guilty of it, and it drives me insane because it means I’m doing the same task twice.
If they read an email, they read it once, reply to it, and move on to the next.
They don’t waste their precious minutes re-reading emails. After all, if you add this up over time, it creates A LOT of waste.
So instead of checking your email every chance you get (and doing nothing about it), instead ask yourself whether you can do this task in under two minutes.
If you can, do it (don’t put it off until later).
If not, save it for later (but don’t read the email, or start, or do anything that you don’t have to).
Do yourself a favour and check your email less, but take action more often.
Productivity Mistake #3: You Flip Between Too Many Tasks
You have lots to do, and several projects going on at once.
I get it.
It’s one of the things that separates you from everyone else.
It’s fine to have a lot on, but what successful people DO NOT do is flip from one task to the other.
They start something.
They finish it.
And then and only then do they move on to the next item on their agenda.
This does take self-discipline. This is not easy to do. But after interviewing 200+ people over the last four years, I’ve discovered this is one of the biggest aspects that separates the best from the rest.
So if you find yourself spending thirty minutes on one project, thirty on another, and thirty on something else… STOP!
Successful people have more discipline than this.
They theme their days.
They dedicate slots of time for meetings, deep-focus work, email and social media, client projects, and everything else.
When they do one, they DO IT.
They go all in until they finish, or until their calendar tells them to move on.
They don’t spend their day flipping from one to the other, because this only achieves one thing: inadequacy.
How To Turn Your Productivity Mistakes into Success…
If you’re making one or more of these mistakes, fear not.
You’re not alone, and I’m happy to tell you that you can turn things around, learn from them, and craft your own success.
This is what successful people do.
They become the success story they are not in spite of their mistakes, but because of them.
To do this, you need to:
- Highlight the above mistake(s) you are making…
- Accept and embrace this…
- Commit to learning from them…
- Do the work and change your tune!
It may sound simple, but awareness is the first step to overcoming any and all of your mistakes.
These faux pas are what steal your time, create stress, and is what’s holding you back.
And if you have a question (or anything to share), head to the comments and let’s have a chat.
And be sure to get Turner’s book, The Successful Mistake, and his online pamphlet 11 Vital Questions EVERY Successful Person Asks – And Why You Need To, Too.
Read Matthew Turner/Turndog Millionaire every week here on The Good Men Project!
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