When Brian Tracy, author of the wildly-popular time management book, Eat That Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastination, was a young man, he asked successful people what they did that enabled them to be more productive and make more money. Tracy adopted their habits of mind as his own.
Tracy concluded that successful people “do the right things.” He explained, “The process of learning and what I had learned changed my life.” He concluded that successful people make far better use of their time than those who are not as successful.
The title of Tracy’s book, Eat That Frog, comes from a famous quote by Mark Twain. Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Tracy found that successful people did not postpone tasks, especially if the tasks were complicated or unpleasant.
“If it has to happen, then it has to happen first,” agrees Laura Vanderkam, time management expert and author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. Vanderkam added that successful people developed systems to take care of the most important tasks at the beginning of each day.
Successful people manage their time well because they have clear and focused goals. Dr. Gail Matthews, psychology professor at Dominican University of California, conducted a study to learn how commitment affected successful goal achievement. She found that individuals who (1) expressed their goals in writing, (2) developed action statements, and (3) held themselves accountable to a friend, colleague, or mentor were 76% more likely to experience success than those whose goals were cloaked in daydreams.
“All successful men and women are big dreamers,” explains Brian Tracy. “They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal or purpose.”
If you want to experience greater success and increased productivity, consider these inspiring tips by 12 successful people:
Define your purpose. Purpose is the conscious choice of what, where, and how to make a positive contribution to our world. It is the theme, quality or passion we choose to center our lives around. – Richard Lieder
Write and pursue focused goals. All things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation of all things. You have to make sure that the blueprint, the first creation, is really what you want, that you’ve thought everything through. Then you put it into bricks and mortar. Each day you go to the construction shed and pull out the blueprint to get marching orders for the day. You begin with the end in mind. – Stephen Covey
Make logical decisions aligned with your goals and core values. All successful men and women are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal or purpose. – Brian Tracy
Take decisive and immediate action. When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals. Adjust the action steps. – Confucius
Organize your time and stick to your schedule. Take care in your minutes and the hours will take care of themselves. – Lord Chesterfield
Be flexible. Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach. – Tony Robbins
Keep things simple. Success is simple. Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time. – Arnold H. Glasgow
Take risks. In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. – Bill Cosby
Ignore criticism. A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him. – David Brinkley
Learn from your mistakes. I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom. – Gen. George S. Patton
Spend time with positive people. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. – Jim Rohn
Maintain balance. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. – Stephen Covey
When I decided to change jobs, I had to figure out how carve out a new path and create a plan of action to successfully pursue new goals. The result of that work evolved into my personal goal-setting book, Dreams to Action Trailblazer’s Guide. The challenges I faced that seemed like overwhelming challenges at the time were actually the training ground that provided me with experiences I needed to help others create successful goals.
Get clear about what you want to do and why you want to do it. Allow time to regularly reevaluate and refine your goals. Make adjustments within your schedule to engage in goal-related activities. And, most importantly, do what successful people do:
What will you do this week to promote success?
Clarify your direction with tips from How to Write SMART Personal Goals.
You get what you expect. Read Stop Thinking About Lack and Focus on Abundance.
Need help creating your own plan for success? Check out the tools from my personal goal-setting book, Dreams to Action Trailblazer’s Guide.