We’ve all read them. Lots and lots of articles about highly successful people – what they do every morning, how they spend their weekends, daily habits they swear by. You know, tips for success. Sure, they’re inspiring reads and some of them do actually make a lot of sense.
But here’s the thing about success – there’s no one formula for it. Come to that, there’s no one definition for it either. We all have a different idea of what success means to us, so it only makes sense that we’d all find a different path to it. So if you are finding it difficult to follow in the footsteps of the highly successful people all those articles keep talking about, that does not necessarily mean you’re doing it wrong.
In fact, here are 4 common tips or hacks for success that you may want to completely rethink.
Having no unread emails in one’s inbox is the mark of a super efficient, productive person, right? Well, not necessarily.
We have an astounding number of notifications, updates, requests and even junk mails landing in our inbox every day – and trying to tackle every one of them may actually be counter-productive. So if you feel like you’re interrupting your work every few minutes, just to respond to emails – and you still haven’t achieved inbox zero at the end of the day, it’s time to stop!
Try setting aside a couple of hours and answering your emails in bulk, rather than getting distracted by your inbox every few minutes. Flag important messages and unsubscribe to unnecessary notifications and newsletters. But the important thing is to find an effective way to deal with your emails that works for you.
SITTING IN ON MEETINGS
This tip is usually meant for those looking for success at a new job. Asking to sit in on meetings is supposed to be a great way to show your enthusiasm while also giving you a chance to observe how things work at your new organization.
While this is a good idea, in theory, doing this indiscriminately may do more harm than good. If the meeting you are volunteering to attend has nothing to do with your current role, you might just be wasting time that you could have spent more constructively. You might also be unknowingly setting unreasonable expectations that you will later find tough to live up to. People may come to expect you to attend every meeting or perform tasks that are out of your scope of work, which you will find difficult to do once your workload kicks in.
VOLUNTEERING FOR TASKS (AND GOING OVERBOARD)
A lot of articles you read online will tell you that successful people always say yes to new things and grab every opportunity that comes along. While the chance to learn something sure is welcome, going overboard with opportunities simply because you feel that’s the ‘right’ thing to do, can make you miserable real quick.
I don’t know who needs to hear this right now, but constantly being busy is not the only way ahead. And saying no to stuff once in a while does not make you lazy or unambitious or entitled. Focus your energy on what you truly want to do, and turn down the rest. Even if you do have some spare time on hand, don’t needlessly fill it with extra tasks – switch off in the evening, go on the social media detox, spend a lazy weekend in bed.
EARLY STARTS, EVERY DAY
Early risers are usually thought to have their life together and be extremely productive, so this is another one of those habits that people glorify as a sure-shot way to success.
But you are the best person to know how your body and mind work. If you do some of your best work at night, a 5 am start every day does not make sense for you. Why sacrifice those precious hours after dark, just to live up to some mythical formula for success? As long as you are able to get all your work done and still get enough rest, be unapologetic about waking up when you need to – and no earlier!