Happiness & Wellbeing | Productivity at work

The Habits of Highly Productive People – They Can Help You, too

By wizu | 12 June 2021

Have you ever been around someone who is extremely productive? They get things done on time every time and still manage a great balance between work and life? 

These people are not robots; they have certain habits that keep them productive and able to accomplish so much. What are these habits, and how do these people avoid issues with procrastination, keep motivated and energised, and more? 

We’ve asked the same question and have come up with a few habits of highly productive people. Our list can help you become more productive while maximising your time and energy. Remember, it takes time to acquire new habits. However, with small steps and dedication, you can achieve more than ever before. 

Tips to Become More Productive

1). Important Tasks Come First

Many of us prefer to use a to-list, where we keep adding tasks day in and day out. But what happens if that list is only that—a list with no set priorities? What you end up doing is tackling the task at the top, which means you have a never-ending cycle of to-dos without really getting much done. Does that sound frustrating? It is! 

Another problem with running a task list in this way is that you may begin to procrastinate. The reason is that you become frustrated by not actually accomplishing anything important. 

To turn things around, take a few minutes and review your task list. First, determine what needs to be done today and what those that can wait. When you have today’s list done, then start on the next day’s list. You may end up adding more tasks but be sure to prioritise the list. And make a dedicated effort to get those less important tasks done, too. 

You may want to consider adding 2-3 less important tasks to each day. That way, if you have time left over, you can take a few minutes to get these tasks done. 

The end result of prioritising your to-do list is that you’ll get more done, stop procrastinating, and feel more satisfaction in your work and personal life. 

2). Use the Deep Work Method

You will have some tasks that are challenging and hard. There’s no way to get around that. They sit on your to-do list waiting for you. You may then fall back to procrastination or doing easier tasks instead. That’s a problem. 

To get around this issue, you can try to use the deep work method. To use these methods: 

Schedule time: set aside time to devote to these difficult tasks. It can help to have a specific time every day devoted to this type of work. Choose a time of day when you feel the most energised and ready to work. Having a regular time helps this deep work become a habit. 

Deal with boredom: there’s nothing exciting about deep work, which means you may easily become bored. That’s OK and is to be expected; however, the tasks still need to be done. For this reason, choose to avoid using social media or other distractions to keep from working. Stay focused on the work until it’s done, and then reward yourself with some fun when you’re finished. 

Avoid communication: this is another difficult one to deal with; however, avoiding communication during deep work activities can improve your focus. Email, phone calls, social media, and more become distractions that disrupt focus. Instead, hold off on communicating with others until the work is done. 

Know your work habits: this is also essential. Consider how and where you work best. For instance, do you work better in a quiet, isolated spot? Do you work better when there are others around? Determine what you need and then use this type of environment to get deep work projects and tasks completed. 

3). Use a Distraction List to Maintain Focus

Distractions can make it difficult to get things done. You may remember another task that needs to be done, or maybe that it’s your significant other’s birthday and you need to shop. Other distractions include emails and more. These distractions can wreak havoc when you need to get things done. 

For this reason, many people find it helpful to create a distraction list. You can create the list in Google Keep, a Google Doc, a notebook, or anything that works best for you. Keep the file or notebook nearby as you work. When a distracting thought comes up, jot it down on the list, and then go back to work. 

This way, you won’t have to worry about forgotten birthdays, bills that need to be paid, and more. You’ll have the list to review when you’re done working. 

4). The Eisenhower Matrix

Some people have a tendency to focus on the short-term, which can lead to issues with productivity. However, there’s a method that can help you prioritise what needs to be done now and what can wait.  This method is called the Eisenhower Matrix. 

The Eisenhower Matrix was created by Dwight Eisenhower, who created it to help him make decisions. His method makes it easy to see which tasks need to be done now and which can wait. 

To use the Eisenhower Matrix, you’ll need a 2” x 2” square on a piece of paper. The square is then divided into four quadrants on the outside of the square, which include: 

  • Important
  • Not important
  • Urgent
  • Not urgent

Inside the square, you put these categories: 

  • Upper left-hand corner: 1 DO
  • Upper right-hand corner: 2 PLAN
  • Lower left-hand corner: 3 DELEGATE
  • Lower right-hand corner: 4 ELIMINATE

Use the matrix to help you decide the importance of each task and how urgent the task is. This matrix also helps you determine which tasks can be delegated and which can simply be eliminated. Doesn’t that sound like it would make your day easier? 

The Eisenhower Matrix makes it easier to determine which tasks are urgent and which can wait or don’t matter. What could be easier? 

5). The 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule is another rule that’s used to develop positive habits in successful people. The 80/20 rule was first used by Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist. 

Using this rule, highly productive people can determine 20% of the most important tasks. Then, 80% of their to-list is used to figure out which tasks are important or not. Those that are not important are removed from the schedule. 

6). Break Tasks into Smaller Pieces

It’s a fact that tasks can look so overwhelming that you may not know where to start. And if you start, then how on earth will you finish? 

If you have a large, overwhelming to-do list, then try to break larger tasks into smaller to-dos. Then set goals even for these smaller tasks. This helps to make the task more manageable, as well as making it easier to track the steps you’ve completed or not. 

Using smaller steps allows your brain to feel freer rather than stressed out. You’ll then have more brainpower to tackle each step of a larger task without feeling overwhelmed by it all. 

7). Remember to Take Breaks

Another essential step that many of us either forget or choose to ignore is to take breaks. Even the most productive people can’t sit and stay focused for hours on end. They need breaks, which allow their minds to rest. 

Breaks don’t have to be hours long; even a few minutes is enough to recharge and get back to work. You may even find those few minutes provide you with some innovative ideas, solutions, and more. 

So, be sure to take breaks. If necessary, you can even schedule these into your day, so taking a break becomes a habit. If you’re worried about losing track of time, then set a timer to off when the break is over. This can drastically improve your productivity and give your mind a rest at the same time. 

Summing It Up

Becoming more productive doesn’t have to be difficult if you use the same methods as highly productive people. The methods included in this article can provide you with a guide and solutions for getting more done.

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