Unless you’re a “rookie” at the tasks, projects, and goals you’re trying to accomplish, you’ve most likely developed some fairly routinized ideas, habits, methods, tools, procedures, rules of thumb, and other settled ways of thinking and working. These are probably helpful and effective. But it’s possible for them to take on too much importance and subtly begin to lead you away from the fundamentals of success.
Layering on top of those fundamentals, these additional, often formalized ways of thinking and working build up over time, resulting from an almost unconscious drive often seen in both individuals and the organizations they create. Manifestations of this drive include the built-up bureaucracies and the procedural manuals that – all too often – become more important than simple, fundamental productivity.
When they become too cumbersome, they actually interfere with the productivity and success they were originally meant to support. That’s why it’s important we check back on the fundamentals of success every so often and make sure we’re not unintentionally suffocating our best efforts.
Here are three fundamentals of success you should regularly monitor and maintain in good working order:
Find Your Own Path
When you first started providing whatever products or services you’re known for, you probably found your own best pathway from your starting point to your final delivery. It probably had some elements unique to you, and almost certainly reflected the best or at least the most sensible combination of your thought processes, your ways of working, your personal style, and other matters of importance.
But over the years, we sometimes drift away from this personal pathway and start following a more mainstream route, layered and cluttered with well-intentioned but cumbersome extras.
It’s also possible that the “landscape” in which you operate has changed enough so that your original pathway is no longer optimized for who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish.
Re-discovering this original pathway and re-thinking what you should do from now on to deliver your best work will bring you exciting opportunities to re-optimize your tasks, projects, and goals.
Keep Your Deliverables Excellent
Successful car companies have been known to design, tool up for, build, and deliver unsuccessful cars. Many other companies and individuals have made the same kind of mistakes. One of the most common reasons for such problems is the simple failure to honor and maintain their established standards of excellence.
To stay on your productivity and successful pathway, it’s helpful to maintain a sharp focus on what’s most important in the primary results you most often produce, and to identify the characteristics that make your results valuable. Once you have this in mind, it’s easy to develop relatively simple, somewhat objective quality standards you can make sure every deliverable actually meets.
Prioritize Problem Solving
Your work and your life are continually presenting you with new problems. That’s an incontrovertible fact. Accordingly, you can’t hope to base your productivity and success on eliminating all problems. Instead, you must recognize your productivity and success grow out of your readiness to tackle problems as soon as they show up, and to solve them quickly, expeditiously, and as close to permanently as you can.
This priority on problem solving is an attitude and a mindset you should cultivate and retain forever. Since there’s no antidote to the continuing onset of problems, this priority on problem solving turns out to be the best available response to the steady emergence of new difficulties. It will help ensure you enjoy a lifetime of productivity and success.
Working to restore and maintain the fundamentals of your productivity and success is a lifetime process. Think of it as a kind of “maintenance” process that fights against the build-up of settled routines and behaviors. It refreshes your effectiveness and strengthens your ability to achieve all your hopes and dreams.
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