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Add to the magic in your success journey

Article by Mike Anderson (NSBC Founder & CEO)

Often, I come across some great stuff that stands out and makes good sense in managing our daily lives and in our quest to get ahead. Don’t just settle for a good life.

Here are six strategies to do more great work and live an excellent life.

Define three things

It’s not a measure of success to check off forty-seven “to-dos” in a day if you haven’t actually accomplished what matters most. Define the three high-impact actions you want to take each day, and list them as “everday tasks” on your calendar so you remember what they are.

Know who matters

The brutal truth is that if everyone else is happy, then you’re likely not doing great work. Great work involves making choices, so you need to be very clear about who you want to say “Yes” to and who matters less. Define your A-list (three people) and your B-list (five people) of who matters. You can consider saying “No” (or at the very least a “slow yes”) to anyone not on these lists. As an added tip here, because it’s always tough to disappoint people, frame any feedback you might get as being professional not personal.

Say yes . . . slowly

It’s difficult to say “No” in most organisations, but until you know how to say “No” to some of your good work it will be difficult to say “Yes” to more great work. So master the art of saying “Yes” slowly. Rather than making it your default response, ask at least three questions before you make a decision.

Weed out and time your meetings

We all know that meetings can be an enormous waste of time and energy. Marketing guru, Seth Godin, famously doesn’t do meetings. But for those of us who have to, make how much time they will take obvious. Google projects a four-foot-high clock onto a wall in their meetings, and people know exactly how long they’ve got to make their point. Finally, figure out the most ineffective meetings you’re asked to attend and stop attending them. Ask to be sent a list of action items instead.


Our culture of relentless connectedness disrupts our focus and our ability to do great work. Find systems or structures to manage the relentless flow of e-mails, because answering 150 e-mails a day is no one’s definition of great work.

Change places

When you sit down at your desk at the start of the day and crank up your computer, you set your body and brain into good work mode: be productive and efficient. Great work requires a different type of thinking. Find somewhere else to do your great work, another place in your office, an empty meeting room, the cafeteria, or a coffee shop down the road. Changing the context will change the way you work.

Take this forward with you and let’s add to the magic in your success journey.