Eight ideas for getting things done that produce results
By Anne Bachrach
A.M. Enterprises (The Accountability Coach)
As financial professionals, we all want more success, and the fear of failure can often be the driving force of our actions. We work long hours, sacrifice personal time, and even sleep on occasion. We put our heart and soul into what we're trying to achieve, only to find that we're simply spinning our wheels. We think we're getting things done, because at the end of the day all of our action list items are crossed out; but did we really get any closer to achieving our goals? The fact is, most of us accomplish a whole list of things by the end of the day, but have little to show for having accomplished these things. Your success depends on what you are doing and the way you are getting things done. If you're not moving closer to your goal achievement, you are not getting things done the right way.
The good news is that getting things done the right way requires only a simple shift in your actions. There are only two ways of getting things done: one way leads to your success, while the other keeps you in the same position you're in right now. There is no in-between. Getting things done right comes down to taking actions that support your forward progress and success. If you feel like you've been spinning your wheels, you probably have been. You might be getting things done, but your actions have been sabotaging your success. You end up working twice as hard, only to stay in the same place.
Getting things done the right way can take you from spinning your wheels to creating more time, expending less effort, reducing frustration and moving you closer to your goals with every single action. This is possible because success relies on one principle: success takes successful actions.
1. Organize your time for optimal performance. Success takes successful time management. Whether you're a corporate executive or an entrepreneur, you must optimize your performance. The universe will only deliver what you can handle, so if you want more, you have to do more without adding more hours to your day.
Ascertain what you need to do, delegate, or delay. Since you can't manifest any more hours in a day, focus on your highest pay-off activities. In other words, do just those things that will lead to the highest probability of achieving your goals in the quickest timeframe possible. Place these things in order by priority and then put them in your calendar. You will quickly realize you don't have time for anything that doesn't get you closer to achieving your goals.
2. Take action with the end result in mind. Maintaining a constant focus on your goal will help you achieve it faster. Remember, getting things done right means taking actions that are in support of your goals. As an example, watching TV for five hours a day is not an action in support of taking your business to the next level. You may have to learn to do the things you don't necessarily want to do, but you do them because they will get you to where you want to be.
Keep a working list of actions you need to do today and place them in prioritized order. Check them off the list one at a time as you complete them. This leads you to focus on your highest payoff activities, not the ones that are the easiest.
3. Act with 100 percent integrity. It's not always easy to do what you say and say what you do, but there is no way around it; acting with anything other than 100 percent integrity will sabotage your success. The truth isn't always easy, but it is the truth.
4. Act with the best interest of all involved. Achieving your goals does not mean you step on people to get there -- in fact it's quite the opposite. This principle follows the universal law of reciprocity: what you put out comes back to you. Getting things done right means you keep in mind the best interest of all involved at all times, so the reciprocal comes back to you. Every action you take has an outward effect, and long-term, sustainable success is only possible through acting by this universal law. Napoleon Hill explores the power of this law in great depth in his book Think and Grow Rich.
5. Think outside the box. What got you to where you are today typically isn't what will take you to where you want to end up. Especially in this current economic situation, you need to get creative and brainstorm ideas and possibilities. Ask friends and business associates for feedback. Ask them what improvements you can make to enhance your service and relationship with your clients. Study someone you admire. If you know someone who is successful and want to know how they did it, ask them. Think outside the box of where you are right now and learn how you can improve yourself to encourage your success.
6. Remove negative emotions. Taking action based on feelings of fear, anger or jealousy will get you nowhere and can even lead to goal regression. Negative emotions sabotage your success -- period. Remove them from your thoughts and actions and you will be getting things done the right way. Pay attention to what you say to yourself. Sometimes, we don't realize we're feeding our minds with negative thinking until we consciously pay attention. Ask a friend, peer or significant other to share what they hear you say or do. Having an occasional five-minute pity party is acceptable, but then you've got to get over it and move on. You have to get up each day with extra confidence and positive energy because clients and prospects, and even peers and staff, will take all your confidence and positive energy from you all day long.
7. Write an action plan. You don't have to know exactly what to do, some of it you will have to figure out along the way, but you must have a general plan of action. Say you want to add a specific number of ideal clients this year. Create an action plan detailing exactly what activities you need to do in order to add ideal clients and then figure out which parts of those activities you have to do each month and each day to achieve this goal. Create a detailed spreadsheet that identifies all the activities necessary and the goal for each week and each month. Then, compute your reality each month to see if your activities are actually producing the desired results.
8. Write self-evaluations and look for areas of improvement. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Did I focus on the highest pay-off activities that allowed me to be the most productive and efficient in order to achieve my goals?
- Did I effectively use and honor my calendar?
- Did I delegate and delay everything I could?
- Did I reduce or eliminate distractions so I could stay focused only on those activities that put me in the highest probability situation for success?
- Did I make decisions that delivered the best results for all involved? If not, how might I have reacted differently to improve end results?
- Did I act with 100 percent integrity in all of my personal and professional relations?
- Did I accomplish my goals? If not, where were my thoughts and actions focused?
- Did I allow myself to make excuses and then let myself off the hook? What will I need to do to change this?
Action is good, but it's the way you take action that makes all the difference. Action taken produces results: good and bad. Successful action produces positive results and brings you closer to your goals -- that's getting things done in the right way. Optimize your performance, act with integrity, keep in mind the higher good of all involved and every action you take will get you closer to your success. Results do rule!
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