While success doesn't have a particular instruction book, we're pretty sure that Steve Jobs didn't slack on his tasks, and Walt Disney didn't work on ten movies at once, hoping that they'd all turn out great. So to be successful, you need to know more about how those people worked.
Lucky for you, we'll pave your success road by telling you all about the habits of highly productive people. You only have to read on!
1. They Avoid Multitasking
The idea of finishing many tasks at once tempts us all, but have you ever asked yourself whether the results would be as top-notch as they would’ve if done each on its own?
As studies confidently state, multitasking slows you down rather than shortening your work time. When you're doing many things at once, you're constantly distracting yourself; therefore, you’re messing with your cognitive processing.
To stay focused, you should prioritise your tasks according to their importance. This means that you should choose the task that'll benefit your career the most and start with it. It's OK if you spend several hours working on just one task because, as a result, you'll do it efficiently with the best results.
However, you can multitask when it comes to duties that don't need much of your focus, like house chores, for example. But when it comes to goals that'll affect your career in the big picture, you should stay in a deep concentration state.
This is mainly because diverting your attention between multiple topics at the same time will hinder your accuracy, and you'll make more mistakes than you should.
It's also essential to understand that productivity doesn't necessarily mean getting many things done in a short time. Rather, it means achieving your goal with the best outcome in a reasonable time.
2. They Avoid Distractions
We're living in a world where everything happening around the world arrives in our hands in no time. And while electronic communication can benefit many, it certainly doesn't do well to our focusing abilities. When you constantly check the news or look at your newly arrived emails, you distract yourself from the task at hand.
As a result, if the news items you're looking at aren’t related to the goal you're trying to achieve right now, you should leave your mobile phone and focus. It'd be best if you put your cell phone in an entirely different room. Studies show that people who have their phones next to them while working are much less productive than people who don't.
Moreover, you should specify times where you get to check your emails and reply to them freely without distracting yourself from your work. For better focusing, you should also avoid working in a cluttered environment. This can significantly hinder your productivity as you constantly get sidetracked.
If you want to eliminate distractions from your work environment, you have a little monitoring to do. First, you should write down everything that distracts you throughout the day and calculate the total time that you wasted. Second, see for yourself what things distracted you the most and keep them away from your workspace.
3. They Don't Let Failure Stop Them
We all get in touch with failure sometimes in our life. And while that might not be a particularly delightful event, we shouldn't let it stop us from achieving our goals. Failure is a natural part of success, and instead of dwelling on it, you can use it as a learning tool.
You'll find that productive people don't cower away from making mistakes and failing. Accordingly, they never over-analyse the consequences of their decisions. Instead, they take failure as a chance to improve and correct themselves. To evolve into a highly productive person, you should get accustomed to taking such risks.
To summarise, leaving your comfort zone is the only right road towards moving from mediocrity to greatness. Instead of focusing on the possible failures you might face, you should fixate on growth and overcoming fear. Over time, you'll improve and become better at knowing your weak points; therefore, you'll be more productive.
The bottom line is that once you fail, you should ask yourself, “how can I be better?” instead of asking yourself, “why is this happening to me?”
4. They Have a Morning Routine
Mornings are perfect for productivity, creativity, and willpower. If you aren't a big fan of mornings, you should change the way you're living. This is mainly because a morning routine is an essential part of any productive person's life. There's no feeling quite like being energised and awake before the rest of the people.
For starters, you get more time for yourself to meditate and prioritise your goals for the day. Moreover, you can check your emails and reply to them without taking time out of your workday. But, most importantly, getting a healthy start to your day by eating breakfast and exercising will greatly impact your ability to focus and be productive.
In addition, you should get a dose of caffeine each morning to boost your energy and focus. A small cup of coffee with breakfast will do you wonders. To successfully maintain a morning routine, you should be consistent with what you're doing at that time of day. You can't skip breakfast one day and skip exercise the other one.
For your body to function well, it should get used to doing specific things at specific times. Otherwise, you'll be messing with your biological clock.
5. They Start Their Day With the Hardest Task
If there's a task you've been neglecting because you don't want to do, you should prioritise it in your work schedule. Then, when you finish the hardest task first thing in the morning, the rest of the day will go on smoother than it would if you had pushed it to the last few hours of work.
This is an exciting theory powerfully backed by Brian Tracy in his motivational book 'Eat That Frog'. It highlights the importance of finishing the most bothersome tasks first and avoiding pushing them into another day's schedule.
Suppose you don't have tasks you particularly hate on your schedule. Then, you can start with the most time-consuming task. The reason is that you're at your best performance in the morning. You still have energy and focus that you can use to do something productive.
On the other hand, you may get distracted for the rest of your day or lose that boost of willpower. As a result of crossing off an essential task of your to-do list early, you'll be highly productive and more motivated as time passes.
6. They Follow the 80/20 Rule
For ultimate productivity, you should apply the 80/20 rule to your work schedule. To put it simply, if you have 100 tasks to do today, 20 of them must be of more importance than the rest. The Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, courageously states that 80% of the outcomes you get are caused by only 20% of the actions.
Most people focus on the tasks at hand while forgetting about the big picture and outcome they're supposed to see at the end. However, to be highly productive, you should know which tasks will breed the best results. This way, you'll focus on them more than the others. You should never multitask and assume you'll get 100% of the results.
Eventually, you'll be able to eliminate tasks that distract you without affecting the big picture. In addition, you'll know how to prioritise your actions and focus on the ones that'll deliver you the 80% you desperately need.
7. They Use a Productivity App
While we all agree that social media and mobile phones distract us from our goals, we can't argue the fact that they can come in handy if used right. Among the multitude of apps that help us daily, new productivity apps are rising to fame.
Right now, there are tools that can help you organise your day without overthinking. Moreover, you can use applications to manage your emails, delete your spam, schedule your meetings, and pay your bills.
When you automate some of your tasks, you'll have more time and mental energy to focus on more important ones that'll help you reach your goal.
8. They Take Breaks
Contrary to popular belief, working for hours without taking a break won't make you any more productive than you already are. Instead, it'll exhaust you and push you into a burnout that you don't want. On the other hand, if you take regular breaks to take a walk outside your workspace every couple of hours, you'll be more energetic and focused by the end of the day.
As a result, you'll be able to deal with stress and work issues without losing your mind. The regular human being needs a break after every 90 minutes of work because this is when your mind shifts from being alert to being tired.
For ultimate results, you should try to socialise or exercise in your break. This'll boost both your body and your mind. Consequently, your productivity will double because you'll be able to make better use of your energy.
Moreover, you should avoid looking at any glowing screen during your break. Instead, focus on meditating and emptying your mind of mental clutter.
9. They Track Time
By the end of the day, highly productive people know precisely how they've spent each minute. To be like them, you should track your time and eliminate actions that waste many hours without considerable outcomes.
Being conscious about how your time goes will divert your attention towards using it right and avoiding distractions. Moreover, it'll help you plan better for the upcoming days as you'll have a clear idea of how much time each task needs.
To do this, you should get a notebook and write down everything you do during your workday. Being specific is critical here because it'll give you a better idea about how to take advantage of your hours. Then, after the day ends, you can read what you wrote in the notebook and evaluate your productivity.
Suppose you're happy with how your day went. In that case, put the same plan for the next day. On the other hand, if you aren't satisfied with the results, get rid of the distractions and see what more you can change to add more value to your time.
10. They Say 'No'
Overachievers often get into the dilemma of wanting to do everything but not having enough time. They're constantly thinking about where their next great success might be. Although this might be a motivating strategy, it's incredibly exhausting. You can't say 'yes' to any potential opportunity you see.
Instead, it'd be best if you decide which goals are more important to you and work on achieving them. If you say yes to everything, you'll find yourself working on tasks that aren't related whatsoever to your desired goal. Accordingly, you'll waste both time and energy.
Highly productive people don't have any problem saying 'no' when there's no personal gain waiting. They're able to assess their resources and use them in a timely fashion without tiring themselves.
If you don't want to be rude, you don't have to say 'no' and run. Rather, you can present an alternative solution to the asking party and explain yourself politely.
To Wrap Up
Being productive has nothing to do with achieving many tasks in the shortest time possible without caring about the quality of the result. Instead, it's all about using your resources well to get the best outcomes. To be productive, you need to avoid multitasking, eliminate distractions, and track how your time goes.
Now that you know enough about the topic, you can take a considerable step in your success road!