What successful people do!

Giving it is the new year, there are habits that successful people do. I read Marc and Angel’s blogpost a while back. Their blog is amazing and very useful, inspirational. If you haven’t subscribed to it yet, go and do it NOW.

So what is it what successful people do? There could be a whole list of things and I am coming to them post by post, but essentially there a lot of people that are so successful yet don’t show it at all.

It is not about working in one industry or another, or having money or possessions. Success means being a good human being and having rituals in place that allow you to just be good and make a difference, living a life you enjoy.

As I don’t want to copy the whole post from Marc and Angel, let me pick my favourite 5:

1. They have calm, consistent morning routines.

Successful people, often they get up when it is quiet like 5 am or so, have a calm and consistent routine. Meditation, writing, exercising, reading. Anything that prepares them for the day and doesn’t get them stressed or excited first thing.

2.  They eliminate all needless busy work – they prioritise.

You can get a lot done if you apply a few rules. Anything that can be done within two minutes, do it now. Then prioritise the rest. Don’t keep busy with unimportant stuff, like returning the annoying sales call or worry about the neighbours’ attitude to life. Don’t spend hours on Facebook or Twitter. Concentrate on the tasks at hand. Get done what needs to be done today!

3. Pushing limits.

Learning is a process where you push boundaries or learn from new experience. Stretching yourself and your boundaries daily, make you learn a lot quicker. Successful people do exactly that. To challenge the routine. To challenge the status quo. Venturing beyond what you thought was possible.

4. Visual reminders for goals.

This is one of my favourite ones. I find it astonishing for people to just go with the flow and not saying “I want to be xyz” or be at a place or something, e.g. having little ambition. But that might just be me and not you as otherwise you probably wouldn’t read this post. And where ever you want to be, whatever you want to achieve, visualise it. Make it visible, create a visual reminder of what you want to achieve. Look at your values daily. Look at what you want to achieve daily. Look at your roots and your branches, like a tree, and see where you can grow to. Back to no. 3: push boundaries!

Those tangible reminders for goals are very useful.

5. Mentors and Feedback. (I combined Marc and Angel’s 10 and 11 here!).

Personally I like to call it calibration. To have mentors, tutors or friends who can give you an honest feedback. People who you can trust, they can trust you and you can have a candid chat about your industry, your new job opportunity, your dreams or what really annoys you. They can teach you what they learned and share their experience. Having someone, internal or external to your organisation, who helps you understand what is happening with you and where you want to go, is priceless. Buying them lunch or dinner is just a small token of appreciation, they can help you change your life.

In line with that is to accept feedback and criticism. To accept that you have done things wrong or made a wrong decision but also for you to accept that you learned from it (as you were pushing boundaries). Creating a culture at work that encourages this, is key too!


I guess that summarises my top 5 reasons as of what successful people do. And more of course 😉

But essentiatlly they don’t accept the status quo and push the boundaries whilst keeping a clear head, accept feedback and can bounce ideas over a pint or glass of juice.

Simple really 😉

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Evernote Video 1/5

This week I am sharing five videos about Evernote which I found useful. They are all around 15 minutes and worthwhile watching.

Again, like for anything I have said so far: find your own system and your own way of working with any available system. Evernote is a fantastic tool but people use it differently.

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Prioritise – Prioritize

Prioritisation is key to any job, any hobby and life in general. It start with the question of how to prioritise, which if you google it, gets you a lot of different results and answers. For me prioritisation starts with something more fundamental: passion.

What are you really passionate about? That is where your priority lies. I love productivity and personal development. I enjoy helping others and make a difference in other people’s life. That is what I am really passionate about and that is where my priority lies. Yet, looking at work, how can I incorporate this passion to my daily life?

Now that’s simple really: find a job that meets your passion. I did. I am passionate also about sales which incorporates helping others and improving other people’s life. Hence I am more interested in a win/win outcome as I don’t sell to make a quick buck but because I enjoy the relationship with people and the difference I can make.

We also want to look at the more day to day prioritisation. What about your task list, and how do you get on top of your todo? That is the million dollar question, as I am a big fan of “not one size fits all”. We discussed trusted systems which for some people is about the TASK list, for others the reminder in their calendar or their CRM. It varies.

For my daily todos I use two todo lists. The one I use towards mid day is the hand written one in my notebook. I look at my emails and look at which tasks still need doing and write them down. This way I can tick them off and write notes on it and make sure it gets done. This is usually in addition to my “uber todo list” if you like. It also helps me to see where I am still waiting for answers from internal or external for projects on external or internal, bridging the gap between the in-house team and the customer.

My “uber todo list” is 2do (2do app) which I started using after Apple’s todo list stopped syncronising properly and having difficulties. This little app which I haven’t bought for the desktop version but for my mobile/tablet is split in categories of

– Reminders (general reminders)
– Home Tasks (todo at home)
– Work Tasks (work related todos)
– PD (personal development)
– Clubs (organisations I work with like Rotary)
– tidWOWs (tasks related to this blog)

Those categories fit most of my tasks but of course you can create your own. Within those categories or individual days I can priorities tasks. I have simple ones in there like “doing your daily exercise” which have a medium priority and family related ones which have a high priority. I use this list to empty my brain (brain drain) and write down what all I need to do in general, then categorising it into the workflow of each area before reviewing it on a daily basis.

So that is my daily todo list. For my long term todo list, things I want to do in the future like Paragliding maybe, I would have a separate list in Evernote. In my daily todo list which I keep on me, on the phone, all the time and it is open most of the day, I just look at short term todos. This could be writing this or other blog posts, or looking at an article I saw and saved in my trusted system.

Depending on your overall goal you need to prioritise your tasks and you should remember one key thing: just because one task looks the same as another, this doesn’t mean it takes the same time! Every task might take a different amount of time to do, so don’t schedule three tasks a day, schedule them also based on amount and effort you need to put into them.

Importance vs. urgency. Important tasks should be done first. If something is urgent, so maybe meeting a deadline or doing an errand you can only do whilst the shops are open, ask yourself if it needs to be done today or can wait until tomorrow, as you might have a more important task that you need to do, like finishing a client piece or something like that.

In different articles, often there is talk about four quadrants (reference: I took this list from Alchemy for Managers):


Quadrant 1 – important and urgent

These are tasks that are essential to the functioning of the organisation and must be done urgently to avoid a potential crisis. These top priority tasks must be actioned ahead of all the rest. For example, you are working at your desk and the fire bell starts ringing. It is not a scheduled fire drill; there is a real possibility that the building is on fire. This is important and urgent; whatever else you were doing, you must now interrupt it and evacuate the building.

Quadrant 2 – important but not urgent
These are the tasks which are defined in your job objectives and which you are employed to carry out. Often, these tasks are projects of medium- to long-term duration and therefore lack urgency. However, you should be assigning regular chunks of time to these activities in order to fulfil your job role and your annual appraisal will reflect how well you have done this.

Quadrant 3 – urgent but not important

These tasks threaten to cause a negative impact or disruption if they are not actioned quickly. However, they may well be outside the scope of your job objectives and the extent to which they contribute to the functioning of the organisation may be questionable. Sometimes, the degree of urgency may have been defined by someone else, whose judgement may be inaccurate, or at least, different from yours.

Quadrant 4 – not important and not urgent

Tasks in this quadrant are not an essential part of your job objectives, neither will there be any noticeable impact to the business if they are not done at all. For example, reading trade journals and newsletters is a useful thing to do if you have time. However, if a pile of these has accumulated, all still waiting to be read, and some of them are now several months old, they could probably be discarded without causing any impact whatsoever.


Whilst I agree more or less, but also disagree as for instance for some jobs it is very important to read newsletters and industry news, it gives you some great examples of a priority list you can have with four quadrants.

GTD suggests that you also have other lists like based on location and online/offline access. So there are many ways to skin a cat yet the main thing for you must be that it works for you. Nothing else is more important than that. If you don’t travel and have a list “to read at the airport” then this could be the best system but it wouldn’t work for you. Again, urgency and importance have to be prioritised over location.


In summary, as we are having quite a long post this week, we want to prioritise based on importance and urgency, tasks that are important and make a difference to the outcome of your job when being done now. Following on from there are the important ones, then the urgent ones. This is a tricky one to differentiate as urgent doesn’t mean important. If a client thinks he needs some info today but you cannot get them to her today, then this is urgent but you might have more important things to do.

I sincerely hope this helps you prioritise your tasks. Makes you more efficient and a better organiser 😉

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