10 Ways to Be Successful

If your life is a constant cycle of cancelled dinners and skipped gym classes as you jump onto the next urgent client project or breaking news story, it’s time to ask yourself a simple question:

Is your drive to succeed professionally putting your personal life on hold?

Arianna Huffington can help you find the answer to that question. She is a remarkable example of a globally successful entrepreneur who practices the art of balance. Here are some of Arianna’s tips to get you started on creating the balance you need for personal endeavors in an overly busy work life:

  1. Get organized. Stop wasting time searching old emails and scrambling to meet deadlines you overlooked. Set up an organizational system and commit to it. Consider trying a productivity app for your to-do list, setting up automatic email filing and using calendar reminders to keep you on track.
  2. Put your goals in writing. Sit down with your manager and document measurable goals for the year. This will give you the chance to discuss what you really want to be working on versus tasks that are draining your time and not advancing your career.
  3. Know when to prioritize. No one is going to prioritize your life for you. Yes, think twice about turning down a new opportunity at work because it conflicts with this month’s book club—but don’t sacrifice your mom’s annual visit to volunteer to staff yet another event.
  4. Understand your productivity cycle. Whether you’re at your best at 7 a.m. or 7 p.m., plan your to-do list accordingly. Take care of admin tasks during your low energy hours so you can nail that strategy proposal at your peak.
  5. Tune out distractions. When it’s crunch time, don’t get bogged down with distractions. Find an empty conference room, wear headphones, mark your calendar as busy or limit email checking to once an hour.
  6. Learn when it’s OK to disconnect. Unplugging every night may be unrealistic for you, but having a clear understanding with your boss about which projects and clients actually need immediate responses can help limit after-hours emails.
  7. Work from home. Take advantage of any work from home options or approach your manager about this possibility. Cutting your commute even one day a week can help you squeeze in an extra gym class in the morning or guarantee you’ll be home for family dinner.
  8. Build your circle of trust. Create a network you can turn to for help, from a coworker who can back you up when you’re running late to a mentor who can advise you ahead of your performance review.
  9. Know when it’s time to go home. Break your habit of hanging around until your boss is ready to leave. Tell her what you’ve gotten done that day, ask if there’s anything else she needs and head out the door.
  10. Use your free time wisely. Everyone needs the occasional weekend on the couch, but make sure you’re using your hard-earned free time wisely! What activities charge you up after a long week rather than deplete you?

— Lauren Tran


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