With the 2014 Winter Olympics launching in Sochi, Russia, in just a couple of weeks, it’s again time to be impressed by the incredible discipline, focus, and persistence of the world’s best athletes. I’m a firm believer that even the non-athletes among us can learn from their example. Without question, job seekers can benefit from taking an “Olympian-inspired” approach to their searches. So, how do you job search like an Olympian? First, let’s consider the four best practices athletes leverage to make it to the Olympic level. First, they establish clear goals and sustain that goal focus over time. They know exactly what they need to achieve in their training and competitive events, and they harness their energy and efforts to accomplish those goals. Second, they dedicate whatever time, resources, or money they need to succeed. If this means investing in new tools, coaching, or specialized support, they do so. Third, they practice their sport consistently. This single-minded pursuit of excellence is integrated into their daily schedule and they faithfully train their bodies and their minds to exhibit peak performance on an automatic level. Fourth, they learn to adapt to constantly changing environments and circumstances. They master the inner game of excellence while taking advantage of the shifts and changes around them to fuel next-level performance.
Want to be more productive but not sure how? Whether you are working or job seeking or both, using the following tips will help you bridge the gap between where you are right now and where you want to be in the future.
1. Time Management
Choose the best part of your day and use it wisely. Time management is a catch-all phrase for planning but without it very little gets done. I believe we must create our life and that goes with how and what we spend our time on.
For example, when I'm writing, I choose morning because that's when I feel most creative and can seem to channel my thoughts onto paper. When I was job searching, I would only accept an interview in the morning because I wanted to show up at my personal best and my energy is lower in the afternoon.
Not only will you look and feel better, but you'll also have a sense of accomplishment, which will create momentum in other areas. There are so many benefits to exercise and I'm a huge fan. Knowing yourself will help you engage in the right activity at the right time of day.
For example, I work out in the middle of the day because that's when I need a lift. I go to the gym because instructor-led group exercise is more motivating to me. Consider hiring a personal trainer or trying one of these activities: cardio, weight training, running, playing sports, yoga, Pilates, walking.
There are no excuses for not exercising. It is the single most important thing you can do for your health. It will also propel you forward in your work life and job search activities because you will feel good about yourself.
3. Being Reactive
Living in a non-stop world these days can wreak havoc on your health, relationships, and productivity. If you are someone who does whatever comes up and jumps from activity to activity, then chances are you aren't being very productive.
Multitasking is necessary at times, but I wonder if people actually accomplish more or less. I have seen incredibly people pull off multitasking and I'm in awe of their talent. Sadly, I'm not one of them. I'm someone who takes charge by starting and completing tasks before moving on to the next thing. Knowing which one of these people you are can work to your advantage and increase your productivity.
4. Priority List
It's a game changer. Either you run the day or the day runs you. Writing out a priority list on things that are most important to you right now will help you to stay focused on what you want and off of what you don't want. You've developed the criteria for making decisions and your life flows better because you're connected to what you want.
5. Setting Boundaries
I find it necessary to set boundaries with people because, when I do, it helps protect my energy and mood and I'm honoring my time. For example, I won't take phone calls in the morning. I have also stopped listening to victim stories because I find them very draining. I also choose to work from inspiration—not obligation—and this helps me eliminate time spent doing things I don't want to do and opens up time for activities that fill me up and move me forward.
6. Commuting And Traffic
Commuting can be such a huge productivity killer. People spend hours every week stuck in traffic. Do the research and see if there are ways that you can obtain the same results through an online meeting or phone call. Can you work from home? Plan what you will do to make your time in the car productive? These are valuable ways to reduce your time held hostage in traffic.
If you want to be more productive in life and in your career, focus on these six things first. Chances are at least one of these tips will work for you!
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.