Let’s face it, everyone wants to be productive and accomplish much more in their lives, but the truth is that when it comes to productivity, the first thought that comes into most people’s mind is about working longer hours or working faster.
No, being productive is not all about working faster or working longer hours. It is true that when you work longer hours and faster, you can get more done, but if you are not doing the right thing, you will still not able to produce outstanding results from your work. Make it a habit to be productive.
Another important point to take note is that being productive has a lot to do with habits. Highly successful people are able to achieve amazing results in their lives because they adopted the right productive habits that help them become extraordinary.
And if you want to achieve remarkable success and become productive like most successful people out there, you must develop the right habits. Below are the top 7 habits of productive people you should consider adopting.
They do a list or make a list
Richard Branson is one of the most respectable successful entrepreneurs in the world and he credits most of his success to keep to do list. Branson shares in his blog that one of the reasons he is able to achieve so much more is because of the productive habit to keep to do list.
Branson brings his notepad with him everywhere he goes. Whenever an idea hits him, he will write it down immediately. More importantly, he also writes down the things that he needs to get done.
Oftentimes, we do not rely on a to-do list because we keep making excuses such as “I already know what to do, so I don’t have to write it down”, but if Richard Branson credits having a to-do list as his main success factor, don’t you think we should do it too?
Studies have discovered that having a to-do list greatly increases our chances of acting on the items because it serves as a reminder to us. Not only that, whenever great ideas come to you at random, you can jot them down and never lose them.
You may believe that having a to-do list is just a simple idea, but never let its simplicity stop you from doing it. If the most successful people in the world do a list or make a list, then everyone else should.
They wake up at 7am or earlier
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple says that he wakes up around 4am every morning and work on his emails for about an hour, and then he will get to the gym for a workout session before he starts his work.
And the CEO and co-founder of Twitter and Square, Jack Dorsey, says that he wakes up before dawn at around 5:30am for a 6-mile run and meditation. When you study the productive habits of highly successful people, you will notice that all of them wake up extremely early.
They use their early morning to work on their personal project to jump-start their day. This is because during those wee hours, there are no distractions and they can focus on doing their most important work.
Hence, choose to wake up early as well. Exercise and workout to build physical fitness, read and study to prepare yourself mentally for the day, and work on the high-impact work so that you can have a quick-start than most people out there who are still sleeping.
They understand the importance of physical activity in daily life
Another important productive habit you should adopt is to exercise. Exercise not only makes you healthy and gives you the energy you need, it also helps in increasing your concentration and lowering your stress.
Highly successful people like Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, exercise at least three days per week. And Mark Cuban, the owner of NBA’s Dallas Mavericks says that he does an hour of cardio every day. He also runs on the elliptical and plays basketball and kickboxing.
Successful people understand that in order to have the energy and willpower to go through their day, they must maintain their physical fitness. Plus, when they exercise regularly, they experience a boost in creativity and productivity, which allows them to accomplish more and perform better both in life and at work.
Just like what Laura Vanderkam, the time management expert says in her book, “These are incredibly busy people. If they make time to exercise, it must be that they understand the importance of physical activity in daily life.”
Hence, make it a commitment to exercise. If you want to be productive, you must have a high level of energy and concentration to help you perform better. Please understand the value of physical exercise in life like these people do.
They reflect on their days
If you want to go further, you must reflect on your days and learn from what you have gone through. This was exactly what Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple did that catapult his success to stardom.
Each morning, Jobs looked in the mirror and asked himself this question, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And if the answer Jobs got is a ‘no’ for too many days in a row, he knew that he needed to change something.
You have to take time to reflect on your day and how you have been doing in order to move forward. Most people go through their lives without finding out if they are on track and what they do is getting them the results they desire. So make sure you track your goals because it will motivate you even further.
It is just like what Tony Robbins says, “Success in life is the result of good judgment. Good judgment is usually the result of experience. Experience is usually the result of bad judgment.” Thus, if you are not reviewing your days and the results you get in life, there is no way you can tell if you are making the right decision in life.
This is what highly successful people do. They make this part of their good habits for daily life and review their results in order to move forward and achieve more.
They focus on doing high-impact work
Another important habit that extraordinary people have is that they follow the Pareto’s Rule or the 80/20 Principle and do the high-impact work first.
Brian Tracy, the best-selling author and personal development guru mentions this important habit in his book, Eat That Frog. Tracy says that you have to spend your morning doing the most important work first before you do anything else.
If you want to be productive, you must get the high-impact work done. Most people are not productive because they spend their time dealing with things that do not really matter. Mark Twain said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
Once you have completed your biggest and most important task of the day, you feel extremely satisfied and the rest of your day becomes easy. Plus, you have done the high-impact work the first thing in the morning, so rest assures that great results will come to you.
Hence, practice the Pareto’s Principle and do the 20% work that will give you 80% of the results first.
They stay away from distractions
It is extremely important to never let the distractions interrupt your flow. And when you take this to a deeper level, you will see how Warren Buffett becomes one of the most successful investors because of his ability to stay away from distractions.
There are many interviews and studies were conducted on the richest investors, Warren Buffett. And the one habit that stands out among the rest is his ability to divorce himself from his surroundings.
When you make an investment, it is important to trust your decision and hold on to the stocks no matter what other people or the market reacts. And this is exactly what Warren Buffett did. He sticks to his investment portfolio and trusts his decisions even when everyone around him is selling or buying another stock.
His focus is legendary, so with his ability to stay away from distractions. If you did not manage it well, distractions can derail you and get you further away from your destination.
So learn to create a bunker and ignore the distractions. If something is not moving you towards your purpose, leave it alone and ignore it.
They are absolutely passionate about what they do
All of the productivity habits or hacks are not going to work if you are not passionate with what you do. The most productive people are absolutely passionate with their work. They love what they do so much that they are willing to work longer hours and do more of it.
Xerox CEO, Ursula Burns says that she rises about 5am each morning and starts her day with exercise. And it is very normal that she works until midnight. The same goes for Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo who arrives at the office by 7am. She tells Fortune, “they say sleep is a gift that God gives you … that’s one gift I was never given.”
Having an intense passion for what you do is fundamental to being productive. It is when you love your work that you will look for ways to improve, to do better, and to be more productive. Otherwise, you will become like most people, get to the office just to wait for 5pm so that they can leave.