Raise your hand if you feel as though you don’t have enough hours in the day.
Keep your hand up if you would be prepared to do less in your day which would, in turn, give you more time to do the things you enjoy?
I know that may sound a little unorthodox but trust me when I say that doing less may be the key to achieving more. Interested? I certainly hope so!
Now you’re about to read something which may come as a bit of a shock. You may even choose to stop reading this article and scroll on to something which is a bit more in line with your current way of thinking. That’s okay, but trust me when I say...this could be the biggest kept secret in business and in life.
The most successful people in the world do not focus on being busy.
But how do they keep the wheels turning? How do they keep the doors open? Where do they get clients from? How do they know what to do each day?
The answer is surprisingly simple, instead of focusing on being busy, day in day out, the most successful business leaders in the world focus on being more and more productive. They get done what they need to without the bullsh!t that comes along with the modern work environment. They don’t worry about creating another file to fuel the workflow or chasing another prospect around in circles, they focus on getting done what needs to get done minus the fluff.
We are constantly taught and shown throughout our lives that successful people are busy people and that those who are busiest are the ones who have the nice things, the fancy cars, the shiny watches, the Mediterranean holidays in crystal clear waters. The #HUSTLERS if you know what I mean. But the truth is that it is those who know how to work harder while also working smarter than anyone else in the littlest time possible, will experience real success.
It is those who say ‘no’ because although that juicy new client might mean that they hit their quarterly target by the end of the first month, they know there’s going to be a lot of time taken up in re-educating the client or fielding late night phone calls or dealing with a mountain of highly detailed, time-consuming emails from said client. They know the value of their time and they know that they will be better off working a little bit harder to achieve the right type of client who is perfect for them opposed to the one mentioned above.
But above and beyond knowing the value of their time, the best of the best know their limits and they know what they can and can’t control and/or influence and they know the things that matter.
Understanding your limits can take a bit of time and actually requires quite a large chunk of self-awareness. It takes a bit of practice. But in essence in life, there are two things, those which you can control and/or have influence over, and those things that you can’t.
That’s all there is to it.
For example, the weather, you can’t control whether or not it’s raining or sunny tomorrow, you have no say in what the humidity is going to like or if the wind is going to pick up. That’s a fact! But what you can control is whether or not you pack an umbrella in your car before leaving for work or if you take a jacket just in case it gets chilly later on.
You’d be surprised how much time people spend thinking, worrying and pondering over those elements of the universe we simply can’t control. By focusing on those things you can control and/or influence you are completely responsible for everything that happens or doesn’t happen. That’s it. Nuff said.
Lastly, those who live productive days over busy ones, know the things that matter. They don’t get upset when there’s a shot of coffee missing from their double shot cappuccino. They don’t get angry when they walk into the doctor's surgery and the waiting room is full. All because they understand that none of these factors actually matter, nor are they within their control (linking back to the last point). Instead, they drink their single shot cappuccino and take a seat and read a magazine at the doctor’s surgery whilst waiting patiently to be called because it really doesn’t matter and nor does anyone really care anyway.
The overlap between knowing what you can control and knowing what matters is where the top one per cent operate. Those who are the real ‘high performers’, not just someone who read Tim Ferriss’ 4-hour work week and thinks they know all the tricks yet doesn’t practice any of them. They know what they can control and they know what matters and they act on that. They don’t pretend to look busy, or worse yet create busyness just to please other people. Finally, they know the value of their time and allocate it accordingly.
Focus is the steering wheel that we turn to direct us where to go next. Focus on the right things and you’ll reach your destination via the shortest route. Focus on the wrong things and it’s easy to get lost, rack up a heap of tolls and get stuck in the traffic of the rat-race.