By Jeff Haden, visit Inc.
Some people get more done than others--a lot more.
Sure, they work hard. And they work smart. But they possess other qualities that make a major impact on their performance.
They do the work in spite of disapproval or ridicule.
Work too hard, strive too hard, appear to be too ambitious, try to stand out from the crowd. It's a lot easier and much more comfortable to reel it in to ensure you fit in.
Pleasing the (average-performing) crowd is something remarkably productive people don't worry about. (They may think about it, but then they keep pushing on.)
They hear the criticism, they take the potshots, they endure the laughter or derision or even hostility--and they keep on measuring themselves and their efforts by their own standards.
And, in the process, they achieve what they want to achieve.
They see fear the same way other people view lunch.
One of my clients is an outstanding--and outstandingly successful--comic. Audiences love him. He's crazy good.
Yet he still has panic attacks before he walks onstage. He knows he'll melt down, sweat through his shirt, feel sick to his stomach, and all the rest. It's just the way he is.
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So, just before he goes onstage, he takes a quick shower, puts on fresh clothes, drinks a bottle of water, jumps up and down and does a little shadowboxing, and out he goes.
He's still scared. He knows he'll always be scared. He accepts it as part of the process. Pre-show fear is like lunch: It's going to happen.
Anyone hoping to achieve great things gets nervous. Anyone trying to achieve great things gets scared.
Productive people aren't braver than others; they just find the strength to keep moving forward. They realize fear is paralyzing while action creates confidence and self-assurance.
They can still do their best on their worst day.
Norman Mailer said, "Being a real writer means being able to do the work on a bad day."
Remarkably successful people don't make excuses. They forge ahead, because they know establishing great habits takes considerable time and effort. They know how easy it is to instantly create a bad habit by giving in--even just this one time.
They see creativity as the result of effort, not inspiration.
Most people wait for an idea. Most people think creativity happens. They expect a divine muse will someday show them a new way, a new approach, a new concept.
And they wait and wait and wait.
Occasionally, great ideas do just come to people. Mostly, though, creativity is the result of effort: toiling, striving, refining, testing, experimenting... The work itself results in inspiration.
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Remarkably productive people don't wait for ideas. They don't wait for inspiration. They know that big ideas most often come from people who do, not people who dream.
They see help as essential, not weakness.
Pretend you travel to an unfamiliar country, you know only a few words of the language, and you're lost and a little scared.
Would you ask for help? Of course. No one knows everything. No one is great at everything.
Productive people soldier on and hope effort will overcome a lack of knowledge or skill. And it does, but only to a point.
Remarkably productive people also ask for help. They know asking for help is a sign of strength--and the key to achieving more.
At times, you will lack motivation and self-discipline. At times, you'll be easily distracted. At times, you'll fear failure or success.
Procrastination is a part of what makes people human; it's not possible to completely overcome any of those shortcomings.
Wanting to put off a difficult task is normal. Avoiding a challenge is normal.
But think about a time you put off a task, finally got started, and then, once into it, thought, "I don't know why I kept putting this off--it's going really well. And it didn't turn out to be nearly as hard as I imagined."
It never is.
Highly productive people try not to think about the pain they'll feel in the beginning; they focus on how good they will feel once they're engaged and involved.
And they get started. And then they don't stop.
...And they finish.
Unless there's a really, really good reason not to finish--which, of course, there almost never is.
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Also on HuffPost:
29. Impulse Buys
Who doesn't know that impulse purchases are a bad idea? I've even realized it was a bad idea as I was doing it. So here are three quick tips: <strong>1. Make a shopping list.</strong> Take it with you and stick to it. <strong>2. Eat beforehand.</strong> An empty stomach can doom the most prepared shopper, especially at the supermarket. <strong>3. Shop alone.</strong> Bringing children (or a significant other who acts like a child) is a sure way to fill your cart with impulse buys.
28. Buying Online Without Comparison Shopping
When you shop online, there are hundreds of sites competing for your business. Buy those shoes at the first site you go to and you may be wasting money. Compare the purchase and shipping price at three or more sites before you buy anything.
27. Paying For Protection You Don't Need
While you need to protect some things in your life - like your car or your house - you don't need to insure everything. Check out <a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2012/06/04/9-types-of-protection-not-worth-paying-for/" target="_hplink">8 Types of Protection Not Worth Paying For</a> and see what you can live without.
26. Being Disorganized
Being disorganized about your finances leads to costly late payment fees and overdraft charges. You can easily rack up hundreds in fees. For example, even a single $25 late fee per month will cost $300 extra a year. Set up bill reminders and keep your checkbook balanced.
25. Expensive Cell Phone Plans
<a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/money/shopping/ways-to-save-on/cell-phone-bills/overview/cell-phone-bills.htm" target="_hplink">Consumer Reports</a> says the average person spends $600 a year on wireless service. But many people pay for services they never use. For example, I had an $85 unlimited plan and rarely used more than 1,000 minutes a month. So I switched to a cheaper 1,000-minute plan and saved $20 a month.
24. Not Using Coupons
Now that coupons are available online, you're wasting money if you're not using them. Do a quick coupon search before you buy anything, including clothes, groceries, and electronics. You can find coupons on our <a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/deals/" target="_hplink">deals</a> page or on sites like: <a href="http://www.retailmenot.com/" target="_hplink">RetailMeNot</a>, <a href="http://www.redplum.com/" target="_hplink">Redplum</a>, and <a href="http://smartsource.com/smartsource/index.jsp?Link=MKRU3JAAR6CCY" target="_hplink">SmartSource.com</a>.
23. Oil Changes
Cars don't need oil changes as frequently as they used to. If you're getting your oil changed every 3,000 miles, you're probably doing it too often (and wasting money). Follow the recommended mileage in your owner's manual.
22. Premium Fuel
Unless your car requires premium fuel, you don't need it. Buying premium isn't going to extend the life of your car or give you a significant MPG boost. In fact, Edmunds studied cars built from 2008 to 2012 and found that many models didn't even need premium fuel - even though the manufacturer recommended it. Here's what they had to say about it: <blockquote>In today's automobiles, advances in engine technology mean that even if the owner's manual recommends premium gasoline, the car will typically run on regular without knocking. Its performance will suffer only slightly: Perhaps it might be a half-second slower from zero to 60 mph. The key for drivers is to know whether premium gasoline is merely recommended or if it's required.</blockquote> Edmunds has a list of cars that need premium fuel (and a list of those that don't) in <a href="http://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/to-save-money-on-gas-stop-buying-premium.html" target="_hplink">To Save Money on Gas, Stop Buying Premium.</a>
21. Not Taking Advantage Of A 401(K) Company Match
Many companies will match an employee's 401(k) contribution up to a certain percent. If you're not contributing enough to meet the maximum match, you're losing out on free money. Ask your HR department for information on your company match.
20. Bill Pay Convenience Fees
Some online or over-the-phone bill payment services come with fees. For example, my electric company charges $2.95 to pay online through their website. Instead, I use free bill pay through my bank. I still get to pay online, but I skip the fee and save $35.40 a year.
19. Hotel Fees
In many hotels, you'll pay automatic fees on top of your room price. Just paying those fees without finding an alternative (or fighting them) is a waste of money. Check out <a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2012/05/30/7-tips-to-beat-hotel-fees/" target="_hplink">7 Tips to Beat Hotel Fees.</a>
18. Paying For Services You Don't Use
Automatic withdrawals make us lazy with our money. If you're paying for something each month - like a gym membership, magazine subscription, or streaming service - make sure you use it, or those charges will add up to wasted cash. For example, here are mine:<br> 1. Gym membership - $29.99 per month<br> 2. Netflix subscription - $9.99 per month<br> 3. Popular Mechanics subscription - $1 per month<br> That's more than $40 a month. I make sure I get my money's worth out of them.
17. Ignoring Your Insurance
Becoming complacent about your insurance can cost you money. Stacy recommends shopping around for new insurance once a year - because when premiums drop or new, cheaper policies are available, no one's going to tell you if you don't ask. Check out our insurance comparison tool to shop for a better rate.
16. Wasting Utilities
Growing up, I got several lectures on leaving the lights on or keeping the front door open and "air conditioning the entire neighborhood." I didn't care too much then because I didn't pay the bill, but now I'm strict with my electricity usage. The result: My summer utility bills rarely top $100. If you've got lights on in a room you're not sitting in, you're wasting money.
15. Dining Out
I like to have a nice meal out every once in a while, but I've wasted a ton of money eating fast food I didn't really want because I didn't plan ahead. If I hit the drive-thru twice a week, I spend $12 on average. That is $48 a month - or enough for a really nice meal I actually wanted.<br> In <a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2012/04/30/30-tips-to-save-on-food/" target="_hplink">30 Tips to Save Money on Food</a>, I've got a few ideas that will keep you out of the drive-thru lane - like keeping snacks on hand, freezing your leftovers to eat later, and planning your trips to the grocery store so that you always have something at home to eat. Check it out.
14. Morning Lattes
In my area, a Grande Caramel Macchiato costs $4.55. Buy one every weekday and you'll spend $22.75 a week, $91 a month, and $1,092 a year. By comparison, a 16 ounce bag of coffee costs me $5.99 and I can make about 82 cups per bag. That is 7 cents per cup, a savings of $4.48 a day. Make your coffee at home and skip the fancy coffee-house drinks.
13. Buying Software
Many popular software programs have free alternatives that are just as good as the paid versions. For example, the free <a href="http://www.openoffice.org/" target="_hplink">OpenOffice</a> suite includes word processing software. <a href="http://pixlr.com/" target="_hplink">Pixlr</a> offers free online photo editing with both vintage effects and a basic editor. For more advanced editing, use free software like <a href="http://www.gimp.org/" target="_hplink">Gimp.</a>
12. Long-Distance Calls
Most wireless plans include free long distance. If you call during off-peak hours, you won't use your minutes, either. You can also make long-distance calls over your Internet connection with <a href="http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/home" target="_hplink">Skype </a>and <a href="https://www.google.com/voice/b/0/?setup=1#setup/" target="_hplink">Google Voice</a> - both services offer free state-to-state calls. International calls cost 2 to 15 cents per minute through Google Voice. Check out their rate plans <a href="https://www.google.com/voice/b/0/rates" target="_hplink">here</a>. Skype ranges from 2 to 23 cents per minute. Check out Skype's rate plans <a href="http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/prices/payg-rates/#cc=MX" target="_hplink">here.</a>
11. Baggage On Airlines
You'll pay up to $35 to check your luggage when you fly. Some airlines - like JetBlue and Southwest - don't charge extra for baggage, but most do. Check Airfarewatchdog's <a href="http://www.airfarewatchdog.com/blog/3801089/airline-baggage-fees-chart-updated/" target="_hplink">Airline Baggage Fees Chart </a>before you book. If you're getting charged, only bring a carry-on (they're free) or find a better airline.
10. Full-Priced College Degrees
Between 2009 and 2010, full-time students spent an average of $17,464 on tuition, room, and board, according to the <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=76" target="_hplink">National Center for Education Statistics.</a> But you can get a college degree cheaper (or even free) with scholarships. There are thousands out there. Check out <a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2012/04/20/5-ways-to-win-more-scholarship-money/" target="_hplink">5 Ways to Score Scholarship Money.</a>
9. Credit Reports
By law, the three major credit bureaus have to give you a free copy of your credit report once per year. Don't buy one until you've used up your freebies at <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp" target="_hplink">AnnualCreditReport.com.</a><br> Once you order your free credit reports, dispute any errors you find with the credit bureaus. Errors lower your credit score, and a lower credit score means higher <a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/rates/" target="_hplink">interest rates</a> and wasted money. Check out <a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2012/05/28/18-tips-to-give-your-credit-score-a-boost/" target="_hplink">18 Tips to Give Your Credit Score a Boost</a> for more ways to improve your score (and your interest rate).
8. Buying Books
I'm an avid reader, but I haven't paid the suggested price in years. There are plenty of free or cheaper options for getting new books: <br> 1. Get them from the library for free.<br> 2. Use a book-swapping service to trade books you no longer want for ones you do. Check out the <a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2011/12/13/the-4-best-sites-for-trading-in-your-old-books/" target="_hplink">4 Best Sites for Trading in Your Old Books.</a><br> 3. Scour garage sales for books. I've bought many hardcovers for $1 this way. Check out <a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2012/03/05/10-ways-to-save-time-and-money-at-garage-sales/" target="_hplink">10 Ways to Save Time and Money at Garage Sales</a> for shopping tips.
7. Brand Names
Some brand names are worth paying a little more for, but in many cases, the cheaper generics are the same quality as the brand names. For example, basic food stocks like rice, sugar, flour, and butter taste the same no matter what the label says. And generic over-the-counter meds? They work just as well as the name brands. Check out <a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2010/09/09/7-things-you-should-always-buy-generic/" target="_hplink">7 Things You Should Always Buy Generic </a>before you buy anything else with a brand name.
6. 411 Calls
Use the search feature on your smartphone - connect to a WiFi network and you won't use your data - or dial <a href="http://www.free411.com/" target="_hplink">free 411</a> (1-800-Free411.) The results are sponsored by companies, and you'll have to listen to a 10-second ad, but it's free.
5. ATM Fees
My bank charged a $2.50 "convenience fee" for using an ATM that's not in its network. Convenient for who? I didn't live by a branch, so I was paying around $130 a year to use my own money. I changed banks, and now I use an app - <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/atm-hunter/id309754128?mt=8" target="_hplink">ATM Hunter</a> - to find a branch ATM.
4. Credit Card Interest
If you're not paying your credit card balance off in full each month, you're wasting money on interest. If you carry a $1,000 balance on a card that charges 18 percent, you'll waste $180 every year just on interest. If you can't pay off your credit card, check out our <a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/credit-cards/" target="_hplink">credit card comparison tool</a> and look for a card with a lower interest rate. Also look for money-saving <a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2012/06/06/credit-card-debt-zero-balance-transfers-can-help/" target="_hplink">zero-percent transfer offers.</a>
3. Bottled Water
A 16-ounce bottle of water costs about $1.50 at my local gas station. Buy a bottle of water five days a week, and you'll spend $30 a month and $360 a year. While it's not really free, water from your tap is much cheaper. If you hate the taste - and I do - you can buy a water-filtration system for as little as $20. Check out Consumer Reports' <a href="http://www.greenerchoices.org/products.cfm?product=waterfilter" target="_hplink">Water filters: green buying guide 2/12.</a>
2. Checking Accounts
Big banks charge an average of $110 a year for checking accounts if customers don't meet their minimum requirements, <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2012/03/08/top-7-ways-to-avoid-checking-account-fees" target="_hplink">U.S. News & World Report </a>recently revealed. Your options? <br> Move your money to a community bank that will offer better terms, or head to a credit union. The National Credit Union Administration has a<a href="http://www.ncua.gov/NCUAMapping/Pages/NCUAGOVMapping.aspx" target="_hplink"> Credit Union Locator</a> tool to help you find one in your area. <br> For those comfortable enough with the tech, consider going to an online-only bank. Without the overhead of brick-and-mortar branches, the terms are often much better. Consumerism Commentary offers two lists that are a great starting point: <a href="http://www.consumerismcommentary.com/the-best-online-checking-accounts/" target="_hplink">The Best Online Checking Accounts, June 2012</a> and The Best Online Savings Accounts, June 2012.
1. Cable TV
The average cost of cable is about $100 a month right now. And it's still rising. A recent study by consumer research firm<a href="https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/pressreleases/pr_120410#.T9Ogto7j9yE" target="_hplink"> NPD Group</a> says it "expects the average pay-TV bill to reach $123 by the year 2015 and $200 by 2020." I canceled my cable about six months ago and haven't looked back. I keep up on the TV shows I like with <a href="https://signup.netflix.com/" target="_hplink">Netflix </a>($9.99 per month for streaming) and Hulu (free for basic, $7.99 per month for extended). Many networks also stream their shows on their websites. For example: <a href="http://abc.go.com/watch" target="_hplink">ABC</a>, <a href="http://www.nbc.com/video/library/full-episodes/" target="_hplink">NBC</a>, <a href="http://www.cwtv.com/cw-video/" target="_hplink">The CW</a> and <a href="http://www.comedycentral.com/" target="_hplink">Comedy Central</a>. To learn even more, check out <a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2010/06/30/you-dont-have-to-pay-for-cable-tv/" target="_hplink">You Don't Have to Pay for Cable TV.</a>