Al-Firdous is well-known as being the highest and loftiest part of Heaven (Jannah). A common dua recited, from the sunnah of the Prophet (saw) is: "O Allah, I ask You for al-Firdaws al-A‘la, the highest part of Jannah" (Allaahumma inni as’aluka al-Firdaws al-A‘la min al-Jannah)
Al-Firdous is also mentioned to be the home of the Prophets, martyrs, and highest scholars and the like.
In contrast, many of us will enter Jannah directly, and anyone can enter Jannah as long as they have an atom's worth of belief (Imaan) in their hearts, and this includes those of us who will enter Hell first until their sins have been removed, then be transferred to Jannah.
One IslamQA post (https://islamqa.info/en/135085) says:
It should be noted that one of the best means of attaining what you want and being saved from what you fear is supplication (du‘aa’), for supplication is worship
However this can easily be interpreted to be "Worship Allah by supplicating him as much as you can." I can make this literally happen by leaving my job and sitting in the mosque all day, or I can supplicate during my work, which may not help me focus on either supplication nor work, or I can supplicate when I get time to focus, which may be very little due to work, family, etc, so maybe I can supplicate during the 30 minute commute to/from work, but that's not much.
Given the above, each of the three proposed solutions having a good reason for/against, how do I ascertain where the balance is?
I can go into a lot of detail, so if you'd prefer to get to the crux of the question, jump to the TL;DR below: The following hadith implies that it's about sincerity of intentions.
It was narrated from Sahl ibn Haneef that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever asks Allaah sincerely for martyrdom, Allaah will cause him to reach the status of the martyrs even if he dies in his bed.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1909.
Question is, intentions must be followed by actions. How much effort do I put in to fulfil this? What are the sacrifices that are deemed appropriate?
Another hadith implies that it's effort:
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “In Paradise there are one hundred degrees which Allaah has prepared for those who strive in jihad for the sake of Allaah. The distance between each two degrees is like the distance between the heavens and the earth.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2637.
Question here is, how much striving is extreme? And how much is not too little? Each person will give a different answer.
TL;DR: How can I make sure, to the best of my ability of course, that I'm heading towards not only Jannah, but Al-Firdous too, while avoiding extremes and other incorrect metrics of success?