There are rules of thumb but there are no hard and fast rules. The ‘things people do every day to become successful’ in what they do has so many variables.
Some swear by morning coffees, others a 20-minute nap. Give or take, that’s almost always the story. Like I said, variables.
Routine, or better yet, discipline is what makes people successful. I will never claim to be a ‘successful person’ but what I HAVE been doing is working from home for the past 18 years. I hope you can share YOUR story about how you soften the rough edges off of your everyday work week too because it helps. Every little bit of advice helps, actually, because most successful people listen.
1. No Emails – Most people start their days off by rolling off their beds with everyone screaming at them. Your alarm is screaming. Your boss is screaming, your kids are screaming, your email is screaming. So, one of the things that I DON’T do early in the morning is to check my emails. People who know me know not to expect an instant reply from me early in the morning. That’s when I am trying to sort my shit together so that I can get stuff done for you throughout the day. So, no emails in the morning. Only coffee is allowed.
2. Stay Dressed – This one is for those who work from home. One of the things that I’ve noticed in nearly 2 decades is that I dress for work (even if I will be in my home office or living room) the whole time I am going to be working. I don’t know about you but the moment I slip on my cutesy ‘lil comfy clothes, my zest for life and roaring enthusiasm to get things done slithers off from me like a layer of dead skin cell.
3. Meditate -Oprah’s said it. So did Deepak Chopra and Cameron Diaz. It’s not the woo-woo-woo stuff, trust me. It’s more like sitting there in complete silence or with soft music gently caressing my ear, or just sweeping the floor (the movement is meditatively repetitive, try it!). Instead of thinking of it as a ‘new age fad’, think of it as Loading Your Gun Ready to Kick Down the Doors of the World. Badass when reworded, huh? I use an app to ‘help me along’ – Insight Timer. It has music, guided meditation, and… well… complete silence.
4. Don’t multitask – It’s something I was really proud of and multitasking was the only way for me to move the needle forward when the list of things-to-do was just way too long. I don’t do it anymore. Instead, I think doing things in spurts is far more productive. One example would be that if I found vacuuming the floor THE daunting task of the day, I would mindfully vacuum the living room and leave the rooms and kitchen for tomorrow.
Silly example, I know, but when applied to work, it’s pretty amazing when you give the tasks at hand short bursts of active, productive attention. When I am tired, I will come back with a whole lot more to contribute AFTER I’ve dealt with my brain fog instead of muscling through it. I mean, who am I to argue with the chemicals in my brain?
5. Coffee – I am just going to leave this right here. Explaining it any further is going to make me angry if you don’t understand it. It’s my survival poison.
6. Laugh a Little – A sense of humor provides a buffer against the build-up of stress and anxiety in your system. So, occasionally, load up your Tumblr or Twitter (where you are encouraged to follow people like 9gag – just a personal preference, of course) and just laugh a little.
Experts say that humor provides a powerful buffer against stress and fear. “Humor is about playing with ideas and concepts,” said Martin, who teaches at the University of Western Ontario. “So whenever we see something as funny; we’re looking at it from a different perspective. When people are trapped in a stressful situation and feeling overwhelmed, they’re stuck in one way of thinking: This is terrible. I’ve got to get out of here. But if you can take a humorous perspective, then by definition you’re looking at it differently – you’re breaking out of that rigid mind-set.”
7. Being understanding – I know this doesn’t fit into the normal mold of ‘things people do to be successful’ but I think it’s pretty important. Because most of us work with others, whether in the office or remotely, we often assume that people are being evil of mean when they’re being a little less than nice to us. Sometimes, it’s because they’re tired just like you, exhausted just like you, overwhelmed just like you, have to pay bills just like you, are worried about their kids/parents just like you, or simply had an argument with a friend/spouse just like you.
I think this point is particularly important in the digital world. With the digital divide, we sometimes forget that we’re dealing with human beings. Just like you.