Success is simple. If you work hard, doing the right stuff, you’re going to be a success. Of course, figuring out what the right stuff is takes a lot of work in and of itself. But success is still simple, it just isn’t easy. So as the internet is flooded with article upon article on how to be successful – yes, I’ve written many such articles – there’s one simple thing that you can do every day that will lead you to success, as long as you’re also somewhat intelligent. Assuming that you are, read this article, then put it to practice.
Hard Work is Overrated
For years I’d sit down at my desk and work from before dusk to far beyond dawn, yet my business didn’t grow. I’d work hard. I’d write and read and research all at once, yet others who’d started their businesses at the same time I started mine surpassed me, seemingly with ease.
There’s no way they were working harder than I was, I don’t even think it’s possible, seeing as how everyone’s subjected to the laws of time. Look back at the articles on this site and my first videos. Some caught on and blew up, but it was as much attributed to luck on my part, as it was to my intelligence and a specific plan on building a business. Most of the articles, however, flopped. My readership didn’t grow. My income barely budged.
Then, on one single weekend, everything changed.
[Tweet “A to do list isn’t a list of suggestions, but demands placed on one’s self.”]
Hard, Purposeful, Effective Work Matters
‘Twas a weekend when I went down to visit a bunch of friends who were – and are – very successful in my line of work and other entrepreneurial ventures. Along with spending time with these fine gentlemen, I took part in a “summit” designed to provide internet entrepreneurs with the latest info in building their businesses.
It cost me a pretty penny, a penny that I actually didn’t have, but it immediately paid off.
After that weekend spent masterminding with some of the smartest people I know, as well as taking notes and applying the practices being taught at the summit, my business started. Before that I treated it more like a hobby. After that weekend it was a business, my passion project, but still a business that would continue to grow every week thereafter.
But that’s still not the one thing you can do to become successful and world class at whatever it is you do, or want to do…
All that weekend did was to help me decipher what’s worth my time in the run of a day, and what isn’t worth my time. That is, what I should focus on for the majority of my time, and what I should be doing in my extra time during the day. Had I wanted to work fewer hours, I could have seen similar growth in my business without putting the long hours that I truly enjoy.
The one thing that will make you a more successful individual won’t cost you anything. It takes 30 minutes each day, but it will increase your productivity exponentially, and it will add much needed discipline to your life, as well as provide clarity to your business.
The One Simple Thing That Will Make You Successful
A to do list.
Yes, you’ve heard of a to do list before, and my guess is you use one to some extent. But do you really use it? A to do list isn’t a negotiable set of things that you don’t have to do if you don’t have the time or energy to do them. It’s not a suggestion. In the world of becoming successful, a to do list is a must do list. Therefor, whatever you write down on your daily to do list must be done by the end of the day, no matter what. No exceptions.
If your pal’s call you and want to venture out for beers, and you really feel like you could use a break, even for the greater good, but your to do list hasn’t yet been completed, you have to complete it before you head out. This notion of a “must do list” changes things.
a. You’re not going to write down stuff that won’t help you develop, that don’t need to be done for the betterment of your business or goal.
b. You’re going to shorten the list to 2 or 3 main things. That enables you to focus on these two things exclusively without jumping around from project to project getting nothing done to completion. Do them in order, and to completion. Don’t try to do them all at once.
c. It will force you to remove all distractions from your life. If this list becomes do or die, you’re not going to surf the internet, go on facebook, or watch TV, if there are still things that have to be done.
How to Create an Effective To Do List
1. Have a weekly to do list.
Every week I hop on a call with a pal of mine. He’s an entrepreneur as well, but in a different business, but a business that I can help him with, just like he can help me with mine (he also runs an online business but in a different niche). We talk ideas, and then run through our weekly to do list.
He holds me accountable, just like I hold him accountable. At the beginning of each call, before we go over our weekly expectations, we cover last week’s expectations. For the mere pride of it, neither of us wants to be the guy that didn’t get everything done. We do want to be the guy who gets the entire list done.
A weekly to do list is filled with your big projects. Highlight the things that need to be done by week’s end for your business. Bring someone in on this list, and hold one another accountable.
2. Have a daily to do list.
You should also keep a daily to do list filled with shorter term, immediate things that need to be done to ensure that you bigger projects are accomplished. Monday, for example, is my content day. It’s the day I write my articles for the week. If I can’t finish them all, I have Sunday as a free day to finish everything up.
Tuesday is my big projects day where I work on the big things that will propel my business forward, like a book, a program, or a big idea that I’ve set out to accomplish for the year.
[Tweet “Your daily to do list, just like your weekly to do list, is non-negotiable.”]
This stuff has to be completed by day’s end if you’re going to be successful, and if you truly want to be a success, and to improve, you’ll do them.
Why Most People Fail
Most people fail because they let their fears and weakness rule their lives.
It’s easier to stop working and watch TV. But easy won’t pay the bills. It’s easier to get distracted than it is to stay diligent and finish your work. But easy won’t make a winner out of a loser.
It’s easier to work an 8 hour day than it is to work a 17 hour day. But easy won’t help you change the world. (Elon Musk says that, if you truly want to be successful, you have to work 17 hour days. I tend to agree with a man who is, literally, changing the world).
Having a to do list that isn’t an optional list, that is completed every day isn’t easy. It’s tough. It requires incredible focus and discipline, both of which aren’t innate, and are rather difficult to keep up. But that’s precisely why there are only a select few who reach greatness. It isn’t at all easy.
So while the majority clings to ease like a dog to its favorite toy, you have to release it. If you truly want to be successful, you have to simply write the right things on your to do list, and finish them everyday. ‘Tis as simple a recipe for success as there is.