You wonder if they never sleep, because they get so much done. All. The. Time. They must have superpowers and you want in on the action. Somehow, they manage to complete the 100-page proposal, run 6 miles and tackle development plans for their side project, all before 8 a.m.
The good news is that anyone can learn, and then adopt, any of these 12 timeless habits of insanely productive people.
Control their Technology Addiction
While this is a 21st-century problem, the mobile mini computers that are always within arm’s reach cause a tremendous amount of distraction in our every day. Productive people discipline themselves to only check social media and email accounts once or twice a day. For the mere mortals among us, there are apps that force you to limit your phone time.
Pass on Perfection
It’s so easy to strive for perfection, and only end up procrastinating. Charles Dickens sagely said, “My advice is never do tomorrow what you can do today.” Tomorrow might have incrementally better results, but the pursuit of perfection can certainly limit progress. It’s time to pass on perfection. It’s truly not obtainable, because who’s perfect anyway?
Focus on the 20%
The Pareto Principle, more commonly known as the 80/20 rule recognizes that there are certain activities (your 20%) that propel your progress in any given situation. Insanely productive people know what those activities are and focus on what truly matters to achieve their long-term goals.
Simple, but effective, a to-do list is the go-to tactic for many insanely productive people. Lists help calm the overwhelm, prioritize and help you visual the action items necessary to keep you moving. Update your to-do list either at the end of the day to prepare for the next or first thing in the morning, before interruptions.
Once and Done
Highly productive people deal with things only once. An email is read, evaluated and acted upon. It doesn’t loiter in an inbox. Topics aren’t hashed out over and over at endless meetings; the facts are presented and a decision is made.
Highly productive people invest in new skills and training so they are better, and more productive, in the future. They read Robert Pozen’s Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours and other books, blogs and magazines to boost their skills.
Oh, highly productive people work hard, but they also know the value of taking a brain break to refocus. Get out from behind your computer screen, do a lap around the office to get that blood flowing again. Even a break that’s under 5 minutes does a productive mind good.
Everything in Its Place
While you don’t need to be a neat freak to be highly productive, you do need systems that allow you to easily access files, notes and resources when you need them. When everything is in its place, you can use the time others spend frantically searching for things on tasks that drive your goals.
Daily Life on Autopilot
Highly productive people develop routines for their daily life, so they don’t use brain power on mundane things. Steve Jobs’ iconic black turtleneck and jeans weren’t a fashion statement, he just never wasted time or energy figuring out what to wear. Create routines in your day that free up your brain for more important things.
Capture A-Ha Moments
When a hot idea strikes, highly productive people have systems in place to document it before it fizzles out. Notepads by beds, apps on phones or a document in the cloud to capture your innovative ideas keeps you progressing forward and all your ideas collated in places that you can retrieve them.
There’s a lot of naysayers about the harm of multitasking, but highly productive people understand that it’s necessary, and they do it wisely. It’s possible to pair certain activities together such as listening to a podcast on your commute or reading an email while on the phone. What you need to avoid is jumping back and forth between multiple activities or projects that are equally complex. You’ll just waste time ramping up and down, where focus on a singular task would be best.
Sleep Seven Hours
It might seem like your most productive colleague must never sleep, but the opposite is most likely true. Science has proven the negative impact of sleep deprivation to productivity. Lack of sleep makes you cognitively impaired and less motivated. Make it a priority to structure your life to get at least seven hours of sleep consistently.
Ok, all of you insanely productive people, what did we miss? Tell us your timeless tip for being productive so we can all get a bit of your superpower too.
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