Work...That Can Lead you to a Way of Success

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Offline Shamim Ansary

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Work...That Can Lead you to a Way of Success
« on: April 30, 2011, 03:16:18 PM »
Tips to Stay Focused

1. Clear All Unnecessary Distractions

A big source of stagnation is what we do in our daily lives which serve no true purpose except to distract us. If you want to stay focused on achieving your dreams, you need to find everything in your life that is distracting you from that.

Some of the big ones for me were:

    Video games
    Poor relationships
    Unhealthy food
    Other people’s drama

There were many more which I had to remove from my life, and there still is, but these were the ones that were having the biggest impact. All of these were taking my focus off of my goals when I participated in them.

Now of course some distractions are extremely difficult to give up, a lot of them are very addicting. Video games and television are extremely addicting, at least they were for me. But giving them up has been a true blessing in my life. No matter how difficult it is, know that it will be worth it in the end.
2. Keep a Journal

Writing in a journal has been a profound benefit for me. What helps best is writing down my goals and also my progress. Knowing that you’re progressing is a great way to stay motivated. Who wants to keep doing something when they think all their efforts are for nothing? Often times, our growth and important steps towards our goals are overlooked or ignored. Writing down every single positive step you’ve taken towards your goals, no matter how small it may seem, will always serve as a reminder that you ARE progressing, and that reaching your goals happens one step at a time.

Write down some areas in your life and go through them. Note how you’ve improved in those areas, and what you think you could do to improve even more. Here are a few examples that I use:


3. Create New Habits

When you want to move from a habit that you know is stagnating you, to one that is beneficial and empowering, the best way is to stick with it for at least 21 days. Doing this will engrave it into your personality, and you will eventually start doing it without even thinking about it. After about 21-30 days you’ll start noticing the positive changes it’s having on your life.

For example, if you want to start going to the gym, mark down in a calendar when you want to go and what time. This way you will always have something to remind you of your goal. After 21 days of not giving up, you won’t need a calendar anymore because it is now a habit.
4. Surround Yourself With People That Have Similar Goals

If you’re trying to improve your life and remove things which are preventing you from doing that, it doesn’t make much sense to hang around people who are still stuck in the things which you are trying to move on from. This one can be difficult for a lot of people. Some of us are in relationships, and have friends that we’ve known for a long time, but they may not be interested in the same goals you are. There’s nothing wrong with knowing that you’ve outgrown someone and moving on, especially if they have no interest in improving themselves.

Moving on from people which are holding you back will be a great weight lifted on your shoulders. I’ve noticed that when I move on from specific aspects of my life that are preventing me from progressing, new ones start to come into my life which help accelerate my goals. It’s like being a receiver in football. You have this defender on you running everywhere you go, preventing you from catching the ball. But after a few plays you begin to realize what you need to do to get past him, and catch the pass for a touchdown.
5. Take Breaks

As I said earlier, there is a big difference in taking some time off, and pure stagnation. Taking some time off recharges and refreshes your mind. The absolute best thing for me is going camping or hiking. Being out in nature is very calming and balancing. All the answers to my questions just seem to be answered so much easier when I’m out in nature. And I always come back with new insights and a focused mind.

Growing as a human being and achieving our dreams is meant to be a fun experience, it’s what we’re here for, it’s what we’re designed to do. The problem in today’s society is that there are so many things that we get caught up in which can do the opposite. There are many different obstacles that we must overcome in our lives, and there always will be, but they don’t have to be looked at as negative experiences. Everything we do in our lives is a lesson of some kind, even the most negative experiences have some kind of lesson to be learned, usually the most important ones.

A strong motivator for me is knowing that once I’ve overcome something which isn’t helping me in my growth, I now am more credible to help someone who might be going through the same thing. If I achieve a goal, now I am in a position to help others who may have that same goal.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2011, 03:19:01 PM by Shamim Ansary »
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Re: Work...That Can Lead you to a Way of Success
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2011, 03:17:57 PM »
The Benefits of Using Checklist

The reason why checklists are good is simple: it’s easy for us to forget things. When you do something that involve multiple steps, it’s likely that you would forget one or two of them. Using checklists ensures that you won’t forget anything.

So, if you do something again and again, and want to do it right every time, use a checklist.

Besides helping you do your task correctly every time, here are some other benefits of using a checklist:

    You can save your brain power for more creative things
    Since you don’t have to remember all the steps you need to take, you can use your brain power for something more creative.
    You can save time
    You don’t need to spend time remembering the steps, so you can devote the entire time on doing the task.
    You can delegate more easily
    If you ever want to delegate the task (for example, through outsourcing), your checklist will make it easier for you to do it. By giving the checklist to the person you delegate to, you can describe exactly what you want.

Now then, how should we create a checklist? Here are some steps I’d suggest:

    When you are working on the task, write down the steps you take. The result will be a draft of the checklist.
    The next time you do the task, compare the steps you are taking with what you already have in the draft. If some steps are missing, add them to the draft. You might also want to remove some steps that you think are unnecessary.
    After one or two iteration without any update, you can assume that the checklist is completed.
    Put the checklist in a place that’s easy to access, be it a text file, a Moleskine, or anything else you like. It’s now ready to use.

Though everyone’s situation is different, here are some things that you might want to create a checklist for:

    Morning routine
    What do you want to do every morning to jump-start your day?
    Daily routine
    Do you have something that you want to do every day? What about weekly or monthly?
    A frequent task in your work
    Is there something you need to do frequently in your work? For instance, I have a checklist for processing guest posts submitted to this blog.

One thing to remember: your checklist doesn’t have to take the form of a list. One checklist I use every day is my Daily bookmark folder. It’s a bookmark folder in my browser (I use Firefox) that contain the sites I want to visit daily. Every day, all I need to do is opening the bookmark folder and it will automatically open all the sites I want. Simply by opening it I can be sure that I won’t miss anything.
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Re: Work...That Can Lead you to a Way of Success
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2011, 06:53:04 PM »
Are You A Constant Procrastinator

Common characteristics of a procrastinator

    Afraid to fail
    Doesn’t believe he can accomplish the tasks
    Doesn’t know where to start
    Waits for the right mood or the right time
    Focuses on the moment of bliss instead of the long term bliss
    Doesn’t know how to prioritize and manage his time effectively
    Waits for everything to be perfect before he starts working on the task
    Says YES to people for many things that they ask and leaves the important work behind.

For these reasons, the procrastinator prefers to do something that he feels more enjoyable at the moment. Unfortunately, he leaves the required and important tasks for a later time, which usually has a negative impact on his life.

To learn how to overcome your desire to procrastinate, follow the steps below:

1. Recognition

Realize and recognize that you are a procrastinator. If you are honest with yourself, most likely you would know deep in your heart that you tend to procrastinate. You should recognize and know your priorities and focus on the most important tasks instead of the less important ones.

2. Know the reasons

Some people procrastinate because they don’t like doing a certain task. For example, some people procrastinate reading a book because they are not interested in the subject. When you know the reasons why you procrastinate doing something, you can learn to change your attitude towards it.

3. Motivate yourself

If you procrastinate just because you don’t feel like doing a certain task and can’t delegate, then looks for ways to motivate yourself so you can accomplish the task.

Here are some ways that can help motivate you:

    Promise to treat yourself when you finish working on the task like going on a vacation, buying something for yourself, or relaxing.
    Ask a friend or a family member to motivate you in case you start slacking.
    Remind yourself of the consequences you will encounter in case you don’t finish the required task.
    Remind yourself of the long term benefits you will gain from doing the required task on time.

4. Take small steps

If you are a procrastinator, start taking small steps to accomplishing your goals. For example, if your goal is to write a book, but you think there is no time for it, then spend one hour every day to work on your book. By taking small steps, you avoid working on a task for a long time, which is one of the main reasons why people procrastinate.

5. Learn time management skills

You might tend to procrastinate due to the lack of time management skills. When you learn how to manage your time effectively and prioritize, the chances are you will stop procrastinating. Personally, I prioritize the tasks that I have to finish daily, so I accomplish everything that I need to.

6. Focus

Focus is necessary. Many people start jumping from one thing to another and after a while, they find that they have not accomplished much. Focus on one thing until you finish it.

Always remember the famous proverb by Edward Young: “Procrastination is the thief of time.”
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Re: Work...That Can Lead you to a Way of Success
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2011, 06:54:57 PM »
How to See and Seize Life's Opportunities

Back in December last year, I wrote a guest post for Life Optimizer called 5 Things That Are Better Than a Plan, talking about how a sense of purpose, a direction, a moral compass, awareness of opportunities and a range of tools and techniques are better resources than a rigid plan in a changing world. It got a great response, with lots of comments. One comment in particular gave me an idea for this follow-up post.

Dana said: “Awareness of opportunities, that is the place we get stuck”.

That looks to me like an opportunity to say more. So here are my thoughts on how to create and recognize opportunities in life.
Sow many seeds

Another comment on my earlier post quoted the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes: “Give portions to seven, yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.” In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you want to have a lot of opportunities, start a lot of small things and watch to see which ones become big.

If everything relies on one plan – if there’s no plan B (or C or D or E) – you’re risking everything on the always-imperfect chance that plan A will work out.

A friend of mine is an aspiring actress. She auditions for everything. Fighting prostitute in Spartacus? Sure! Hobbit? Sure! Angel for one scene in the small indie film The Insatiable Moon? Sure! (She got two out of three of those roles. She’s too tall for a hobbit.) She gets tired of it – but that’s the way to create opportunities.

If you want to be struck by lightning, you need to go out in every thunderstorm and climb the biggest tree you can see.
Know what an opportunity looks like

Over Christmas my wife and I did a jigsaw puzzle. It was one of those where the picture isn’t on the box (the picture on the box is of the scene you’d see if you stood inside the puzzle facing out). It was a great lesson in spotting opportunities.

To find the right piece in a puzzle like that, you need to have an idea of what you’re looking for. You say things like, “It’s a Y-shaped piece, and it has that exact shade of yellow on the end tab, I should be able to see this…”.

At the same time, sometimes the piece doesn’t look exactly the way you expect. Perhaps the little bit of yellow is smaller than you thought. Maybe the pattern changes suddenly on this piece. You don’t have the picture, so you can’t be sure.

What we did was to start with the pieces that were easiest to spot, that were clear matches to what we were looking for or obviously went together. Once we’d found those, we had more context to use in looking for the rest.

At the same time, while we were working on a face, or part of a building, if we spotted something that fitted somewhere else we grabbed it then – we didn’t wait until later.

Some of the best opportunities you’ll ever get are ones you’ll find when you’re looking for something else.
Have clear criteria

Exactly because opportunities come along all the time (when you’re looking for them), you need to have some criteria for which to take and which to leave alone. Good questions to ask include:

    Does this take me closer to, or further from, my ultimate goal?
    What benefits will it give me?
    What costs are involved?
    Does this have the potential to open up to something larger, or is it clearly a one-off?
    If it did open up to something larger, would that be something I was prepared to pursue?
    If I refuse this opportunity, does that close off others in the future?

Victoria Brouhard talks a lot about “no-brainer scenarios”, where you figure out what would have to be true in order to give a clear “Yes!” to an opportunity. This is exactly what I’m talking about.
Don’t despise small opportunities

Often, the first opportunity you get from someone else is small. They want to know what you’re like – do you show up on time, do you do good work, are you easy to get on with? My friend the actress isn’t going to be offered a lead role first crack out of the box. You have to, as they say in jazz, pay your dues.

When I was a freelance writer, I several times took small projects that turned into much larger ones. On the other hand, I also took small projects that didn’t go anywhere else – but that I learned interesting and useful things from anyway, like a book of photographs of wineries that I wrote the text for.
Be ready

One of the best things you can do to prepare for opportunity is to have an “opportunity reserve”. By this I mean, structure things so that you can act on opportunities when they arrive.

Think in advance about what would need to happen if your great opportunity did occur. Could you take time from your current work? Would you be able to survive financially? What other responsibilities would someone else have to take over temporarily – would you need someone to mind your kids, mind your house, feed your fish, guest post on your blog?

If you’re totally enmeshed in your life as it is now, with no room to maneuver, how would you be able to take opportunities if they did arise?

Having these essential things taken care of becomes part of your no-brainer scenario.

So, take a look around. What do you have that you can turn into opportunities?
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Re: Work...That Can Lead you to a Way of Success
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2011, 06:57:08 PM »
How to be Successful: 5 Lessons from Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is undeniably talented. But is that what makes him successful?

How to Be SuccessfulI’ve always been fascinated by the idea of Sherlock Holmes, the eccentric but brilliant English detective. From Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories to the Robert Downey Jr. film, to the most recent three-part mini-series, Sherlock, that aired last summer on BBC, Sherlock Holmes has always had a firm grip on my imagination.

His success, however, does not rest its laurels solely on his innate talents. Of course, he is known for his power of deduction, and a number of quirks that seem to come with the territory, like drug binges and indoor target practice. But it is the congregation of his other qualities with his talent – in spite of his vices – that make him successful.

As any professional knows, you cannot just rely on talent to make your way in the world. By taking a few pages out of Sherlock Holmes’s book, we can learn a few lessons that will help you to be successful in your work.
1. Details matter

Whatever incarnation Sherlock Holmes appears in, his best quality is his exacting eye for detail. Nothing gets past him. He can often tell, the moment a person walks into a room, where they have been, what they have been doing, and at least some partial knowledge about their history or their habits, simply by observing them.

If you pay as much attention to detail in your work as Holmes does, you will find that little will get past you. For example, you may be able to anticipate your bosses’ expectations or your clients’ questions by observing their daily habits, or their history. It takes time to acquire the patience and the eye for this kind of deductive reasoning, but the more you do it, the easier it will become. Not only will it be worth the effort, but it will certainly benefit you by making your job easier in the long run.
2. Some mysteries are never solved

In the stories, more than the films or TV shows, the endings to many of Holmes’s cases leave as many questions unanswered as problems solved.

In crime, as in life, there are often more questions than there are answers. But for Holmes, this is not a bad thing. It doesn’t bother him that he can’t find the answer to everything. Instead, he finds it fascinating and files the information away for future use. To Sherlock, the puzzle is the main thing. If every case were so neatly resolved, he would probably lose interest, being prone to boredom as he is without a puzzle at hand. The infinite nature of the puzzle keeps the fun alive in his work.

That’s how it should be in your work, too. It should be a puzzle to solve, a question to answer. It should fire your brain to find new, creative solutions for your problem. If your work doesn’t interest you like that, you’re either in the wrong field or you’re not being challenged enough.
3. Partners are indispensable

As we all know, Watson is Holmes’s partner, his assistant and follower. He is also the audience and narrator of Sherlock Holmes’s most unique adventures.

Whatever you do, it’s good to have a partner in crime (or crime solving), or at least someone to talk to. Whether your partner is actively involved in your case or simply pointing you in the right direction, or even just nodding and listening while you voice your thoughts or vent your frustrations, in the end you will benefit from this collaboration. Even the brilliant Holmes likes to have someone to bounce ideas off of, and Watson’s mere presence is sometimes more useful than any other tool at his disposal.
4. Your reputation precedes you

Holmes gets many cases by actively pursuing them. It is his passion. However, people also come to Holmes with their problems for the sole reason that they heard he was the man for the job.

It is the same way whatever field you are in. Sports teams scout for new players based on reputation and statistics. Letters of recommendation are requested for new hires in many jobs because they are certified reports of a persons character and ability. Whatever you do, your work reverberates into the future. Whether you do good work or bad work, people will hear about it. If you do bad work employers and clients will avoid you. If you do good work, they will come looking for you.
5. There is more than one way to approach a problem

Sherlock Holmes uses many problem solving approaches. Sometimes he goes out in disguise and asks the right questions. Other times, he sits up all night smoking a pipe and thinking about it. At yet other times, he uses clever deception to draw the players into the game.

If one approach fails, Holmes wouldn’t stop there. He would try something else. Take a page out of his book. I’m not suggesting indoor target practice, but if shooting a gun helps you free your mind, more power to you. I hope you use a proper shooting range, however. And if that doesn’t work, try a different approach. There is always more than one.
Final Words

There are many lessons you can learn from Sherlock Holmes that will help you in your work and in your life. These are just a few of them. But whatever other talents Sherlock has, know that it is his passion for his work that drives him to be the best consulting detective there is. If you can muster a similar passion for your work, there is little holding you back from success.
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Re: Work...That Can Lead you to a Way of Success
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2011, 07:00:12 PM »
Circadian Rhythms: The Key to Boosting Your Energy & Productivity

Circadian Rhythms. Cool sounding word, but how can this be they key to productivity? Let me explain. We are all different, yet similar in some basic ways. One of these ways is our circadian rhythm. It is the reason why you feel so energetic at some points of the day, yet so lethargic at others. Some of us are most efficient in the night, afternoon, or day. If you don’t know which one you are, then it’s time to experiment.

The key to my productivity has been finding a block of time where I am most efficient. I am almost 100% certain that you have a 2-3 hour block of time every day, where your cognitive functions are incredibly alert. During this time of the day you can learn languages, you can get your most intense creative work done, and if you’re in school you can get some great schoolwork done.

For me, my most powerful block of time is between 9 AM – 12 Noon. My second time block in the day is 8 PM – 10 PM. During these times, my brain is naturally more alert and ready to take on intense tasks. Isn’t it great to know you can find your productive times of the day, and skyrocket your productivity? Oh, the joys of being human!

It is so important to find a 2-3 hour chunk of time during the day when you are most productive. And when this time comes, cherish it. However, if you find yourself unproductive, it’s even more important to have a secondary time chunk for yourself.

Here are a few tips to help you optimize your productivity during these peak daily times:
1. Take breaks

Let’s say your peak time is 11-2 PM. If you envelop yourself in mentally rigorous work for all 3 hours without any break, you will likely feel run down afterward. And your mental performance/energy for the rest of the day will probably not be at full capacity. This is why you need to take a short break during your productive time. I recommend about 60-90 minutes of work, followed by a 30 minute break. I usually watch an episode of a favorite TV show during my break. I think listening to music is also a wonderful way to make use of your break time. Music that empowers you to do your best. Check out or for some awesome songs!
2. Don’t beat yourself up

Mistakes happen all of the time. You may not be as focused as you like during your sharpest time of the day, but that is no reason to beat yourself up. If that voice inside your head is hassling you, calm it down, and know that you will eventually build this amazing and empowering habit. This is another great reason to have a secondary time block. If you miss your first, you still have another shot later in the day!
3. Set up your schedule the night before

I am not a big schedule person. I get so much done with schedules, but they make me feel trapped, stressed, and limit my spontaneity in life. Yet, it is quite important to know what tasks you will tackle during your sharpest times of the day. The rest of your day can be unplanned.

In short, find two chunks of time, approximately two hours each, in which you are most productive. It’s best if they are spaced far apart. During those blocks of time, focus on the most important and fulfilling work that you have scheduled in advance. Remember to forgive yourself if you have trouble developing this habit at first. Just because you can’t lift the weights today, doesn’t mean you won’t be strong enough to lift them tomorrow.

Source of all articles:
« Last Edit: April 30, 2011, 07:01:51 PM by Shamim Ansary »
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"