Habits Of Highly Productive People

Gimena Aguerreberry
June 27, 2021

Everyone is constantly striving to be more productive. It doesn’t matter what you do or where you work - everyone is looking for ways to be more productive on the job. In this digital age, staying on task and avoiding distractions is harder to accomplish than ever before.

This search for a more productive workday has led to a certain misconception about what productivity really is -- and it’s a lot more than checking tasks off your to-do list.

So, what are the habits of productive people? Below you will find a list of 10 everyday habits of highly productive people that will help you stay on track and achieve any goal you set for yourself.

1. Avoid Multitasking

Getting things done during your workday shouldn’t mean fitting in doing as much as possible in the sanctioned eight hours. Do you really need those 30 tasks on your to-do list? Take a less-is-more approach to your to-do list by only focusing on accomplishing things that matter.

What task will have the biggest impact on reaching your goal? Are you focusing on that one task? Or are you letting yourself get swept away by too many other things that have taken away your attention?

Research has shown, multitasking significantly slows you down. You might think you’re getting more done, but jumping between jobs actually hinders your cognitive processing. The most productive people spend several hours on a single task which allows them to get into a deep state of mental concentration, producing the best possible results.

2. Eliminate Distractions

You can’t focus on your most important task if you are swamped with distractions. There are many apps you can install on your devices to increase your focus and productivity. Or to get into focus mode, consider putting your phone in another room.

As wonderful of a tool as email is, it can also be your biggest distraction. The most efficient workers delegate fixed times for checking and replying to messages. Spend the rest of the day with your inbox closed and out of sight.

Also, consider setting up your environment to be distraction-free. A cluttered workspace can limit your productivity. Distractions add up, and they can be different for everyone.

3. Follow the 80/20 Rule

Discovered by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, the 80/20 rule (also called the Pareto Principle) states that, in any pursuit, 80% of the results will come from 20% of the efforts.

Only 20 percent of what you do each day produces 80 percent of your results. Eliminate the things that don’t matter during your workday -- they have a minimal effect on your overall productivity. For example, break your next project down into steps and systematically remove tasks until you end up with the 20 percent that gets the 80 percent of results. That’s what highly effective people do.

4. Cultivate deep work

Everybody has a few daily to-dos that could almost be knocked out while sleeping. These are the tasks that you need podcasts to get through — if anything, they’re hard to get yourself to do because they’re not especially interesting.

At the same time, some tasks are just difficult. You can’t multitask your way to finishing them. You need to devote serious time and mental effort to knock them out of the park.

5. Break tasks into smaller pieces

There are a variety of reasons that people procrastinate, but one of the most important is that the tasks on their to-do list just seem too daunting.

If you have to-do list items that are large in scope and not very specific, tackling those tasks becomes challenging. You can start by breaking large to-dos into smaller to-dos. Set small goals for each task.

Knock out your most challenging work when your brain is fresh. If you have any busy work or meetings, save them for the afternoon. By scheduling your day this way, you’ll be able to create a new and more productive way to manage your time.

6. Forget about Perfection

Successful people understand this and don’t use their perfectionism as a substitute for procrastination. No matter how inexperienced, uneducated, or unprepared you might feel, right now is the best time to jump into action.

The most productive people aren’t afraid of making mistakes. They take action without over-analyzing the consequences and treat each failure as an opportunity for improvement. Taking risks is essential if you want to evolve into a productive, efficient, and confident worker.

7. Take More Breaks

The ache in your brain after several long hours of work should be your signal to take a break. You’ll come back recharged and ready to achieve greater efficiency.

Nobody, not even highly productive people, can focus for eight hours straight. It simply isn’t possible. No matter how many efficient habits you build, you can’t maintain distraction-free focus for that long.

Methods like the Pomodoro Technique can help. The Pomodoro Technique suggests 25-minute blocks of work, with short 5 minute breaks. You work intensely for a specific amount of time, followed by intentionally not working for a shorter amount of time.

8. Learn to Say No

As an overachiever, you want to do anything and everything. After all, you never know what may lead to that next breakthrough. And although you want to take every opportunity, you need to keep in mind what your most desired goals are.

This is one of the most recommended tips on how to be productive and is one of the best time-related activities that you should practice. Because if you say yes to tasks that don’t contribute to your end goals, you’ll end up wasting time and resources.

Truly productive people don’t feel awkward about saying ‘no’. They understand the value of their own time and view it as a precious resource.

9. Time management

When you feel like you waste time each day but aren’t sure where it’s actually going, you just need to raise your awareness. Being conscious about where your day is going, will make you more conscious about your time so that you can notice and change it.

Take out a notebook and record every single thing you do, and be incredibly specific. Observe where you spent your time. If you are happy with the spread, don’t change a thing. If you are unhappy, consider what you can do differently and create a strategy to rid your time of distractions and tasks that don’t bring you value.

10. Love what you do

All the productivity tricks in the world are no good if you hate your job. The most productive people are those who are passionate about their work and feel truly driven to achieve their goals. Success is about having a purpose. Find yours.

Conclusion - Habits Of Highly Productive People

The common notion of productivity is the ability to get a lot done in a short span of time. While it is true, it is not complete. True productivity is the ability to create high-impact results in a short amount of time. This is the kind of productivity that matters, not busy work that creates no impact in the long term.

You might have mastered a few of these habits already, but even the most productive people are still human

"Habits Of Highly Productive People" by Gimena Aguerreberry is licensed under CC BY SA. Source code examples are licensed under MIT.

Photo by Bethany Legg.

Categorized under people.

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