Ever wonder how some workplace superstars or successful entrepreneurs seem to get more done in an hour than what others are able to accomplish in a day? Fortunately, many of the habits that make these people ultra productive can be developed with enough practice.
Here are 8 habits of the highly productive people:
1. They stick to a schedule during meetings
How many times have you been in a meeting and thought to yourself, this is pointless? Why wasn’t this sent as an email? Why is everyone getting off the meeting schedule and talking about stuff that is absolutely irrelevant? People who stay on task during meetings get more done.
So whether you’re the boss, or a member of the team, make sure that the meeting doesn’t meander. Stay on agenda, get your points across, and if somebody starts to talk about where you’re going for happy hour or the newest meme circulating on Facebook, shut it down.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
2. They map their days like their meetings
So, you come into a meeting totally prepared. You have an agenda, you know exactly what questions have been burning in your brain, and you know exactly what you need to say to get the job done. So why don’t you come that prepared to the other events in your life?
People who plan out their day tend to be more productive. If you spend just five minutes writing down a list of the top three things that need to get done in one day, it’s more likely that it will be executed. And don’t forget that every minute spent planning is 10 minutes saved in execution.
3. They remove themselves from the problem
People who don’t take a break from the task at hand, or remove themselves from the situation in any way tend to be too close to the problem. Therefore, the solution is harder to see. So give yourself a break, but don’t take it as an excuse to procrastinate. We all know the difference.
4. They don’t talk about it, they are about it
A good friend of mine in college used to say, “don’t talk about it, be about it.” What he meant was when I would say vague things like, “I want to try this” or “I want to go there”, he would say to me, “don’t talk about trying it, try it.” “Don’t talk about wanting to visit a place, visit!” If you get an email? Answer it. Don’t let it sit in your inbox. That wastes more time. Either act on it, or delegate it away.
5. Learn to say no
The biggest thing getting in the way of any person achieving their goals is taking on too much. Whether it’s too much at work, or too much at home, being a martyr in that sense is the biggest productivity buzz kill. The best skill you can learn is to learn when to tell people no.
Sometimes saying no to someone does not mean you are a bad person or a lazy person, it just means whatever they’re asking you to do will not make you the best version of yourself. The best version of yourself has time to concentrate on the projects you’ve already said yes to.
The best version of yourself has time to take that long bath you always look forward to, or to take your kids to soccer practice. While being a yes-man might seem like a good idea at the time (because let’s face it, who wants to be that guy at the office?), highly productive people know that spreading yourself too thin gets you nowhere.
6. Sleep more
If you don’t take care of yourself how are you going to take care of anybody else? While we might think we can get more done by sleeping less, (that gives us more hours in the day, right?) but studies show that when you have a lack of sleep, your ideas aren’t as good, your brain is less sharp, and in general you are less productive. Productive people take care of themselves and make sure to create an optimal sleep environment.
7. Make your long-term goals your short-term goals
When you make a very vague long-term goal, they are harder to achieve. Because saying that you want to be CEO of your company, or that you want to get a record deal isn’t specific enough. That gives you as a person the leeway to give up.
Now if you have a short-term goal that actually is attainable that will propel you to your long-term goal, you are more likely to attain your long-term goal because the short-term goals are easier, and the sense of satisfaction you get from attaining the short-term goals will drive you to continue to push to not only make more short-term goals but to achieve the long-term goal at the end of the road.
“All successful people men and women are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal or purpose.” – Brian Tracy
8. They make it home for dinner
We are more than our job and we are more than our goals. We are fathers, we are sons, we are sisters, we are athletes, and we are spouses. People who lose sight of that, will never make it. So whatever that means to you, whether it’s making sure that you get home every night to have snuggle session with your kitty, or it means spending time on the phone with your mom, the things that feed our soul keep us going.
And trust me, it’s easy to procrastinate when there is nothing else driving you to be the best version of yourself that you can be.