6 Tips to Become a More Effective Professional

May 20, 2014

What do the most successful people do that you don’t? 


With everyone offering their advice to be more productive, more profitable, and happier; we would like to share our advice to becoming happier and more successful in and out of the office.

1) Plan Your Day the Night Before

One of the most agreed upon tactics to success is planning your day (or at least your morning) the night before.  Before leaving the office or going to bed, write down the things you would like to accomplish the next day and read this first thing in the morning.  For instance, consider the following concept, referred to as a “Tomorrow List.”  Simple, three steps, repetitive.  Ready?

  • At the end of your day, write down the tasks you need to complete tomorrow.
  • Look at the list when you start the next day.
  • End your day by creating another list for tomorrow.

Not hard.  End your day today by creating this tomorrow list, and be sure to consider the following strategy.

2) Willpower is Highest in the Morning, Accomplish your Hardest Task

Mark Twain once said “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”  Pretty easy, right?

We all have that one item on our-to do list that we dread. It looms over you all day (or week) until you finally suck it up and do it after much procrastination. Instead of anticipating the unpleasantness of it from first coffee through your lunch break, get it out of the way. The morning is the time when you are (generally) well-rested and your energy level is up. Therefore, you are well-equipped to handle more difficult projects. And look at it this way, your day will get progressively easier, not the other way around. By the time your work day is ending, you’re winding down with easier to dos and heading into your free time more relaxed. Success!

Referred to as “Eating Your Frog,” many performance coaches and successful individuals swear by this advice to stop procrastinating. Getting things done is a habit, and if you start every day by accomplishing something important, you’ll get more done than 90% of the people in the office.

3) Read More

Experts agree that reading is the very last thing most successful people do before going to sleep.

Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of “You Can’t Be Serious! Putting Humor to Work,” says he knows numerous business leaders who block off time just before bed for reading, going so far as to schedule it as a “non-negotiable item” on their calendar. “This isn’t necessarily reserved just for business reading or inspirational reading. Many successful people find value in being browsers of information from a variety of sources, believing it helps fuel greater creativity and passion in their lives.”

Why? A major factor that cuts into sleep is not allowing your body to unwind from technology.  Find time to wind down at the end of each day, including a powering down point in which you turn off all electronics.  What better way to do this than to read a book?

4) Set Goals

Average success is often based on setting average goals.

Decide what you really want: to be the best, the fastest, the cheapest, the biggest, whatever. Aim for the ultimate. Decide where you want to end up. That is your goal.

Then you can work backwards and lay out every step along the way.

Never start small where goals are concerned. You’ll make better decisions–and find it much easier to work a lot harder–when your ultimate goal is ultimate success.

5) Detach from Your Inbox

Want to learn one of the biggest productivity killers? Obsessing over your email.  Email is a productivity killer and usually a distraction from tasks that actually matter–don’t fall into this productivity trap. For example, people often copy multiple people on emails to get it off their plate, but this is a sign of laziness and actually distracts everyone else by creating noise against the tasks they’re trying to accomplish.

Many of the most successful people refuse to check their email within the first hour of the day.  It adds unnecessary items to your plate, and these tasks are generally less important than those you hope to accomplish.  If you need to make sure the most important messages from select people come through instantly, AwayFind can monitor your inbox and get your attention when something notable arrives.

If you must check your email, scan for the most important things and do them. Then, close your email and go back to ‘eating your frog.’

6) Make the Most out of Your Morning

You will find this one to be one of the most unpleasant pieces of advice, but it is important to wake up earlier.  Consider this:

  • Margaret Thatcher was up every day at 5 a.m.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright woke at 4 am
  • Robert Iger, the CEO of Disney wakes at 4:30am
  • Starbucks President Michelle Gaas sets her alarm for 4:30 a.m. to go running.

Who else wakes up before 6 am? Aside from most recruiters (for you job seekers out there), here is a short list of 12 highly successful people who wake up early.

Yes, it’s unpleasant.  But you can do it.  Try to slowly but surely wake up 10 minutes earlier each day, maybe even get a good workout in before heading to the office.

These habits will help you to become not only more successful at your office, but more successful in life.  Allowing yourself to do these things will allow you to chip away at your goals and in essence, become more productive.

Contact us to learn where we find individuals who commit these habits to heart.

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