10 Secrets of Highly Productive People

Productive PeopleTo some, it’s a mystery why many people are driven to action, while some people have a difficult time getting things done. Research indicates that genetics might play a role in motivation (specifically for exercise); however, there are secrets that productive people know that keep them in the fast lane. Keep in mind, these methods can be adopted by just about anyone.

If you want to get more done, without jeopardizing your health or well being, get to know the secrets of productive people that we’ve outline for you today.

1. Productive People Establish Routines

A routine is a daily recipe or roadmap — a guide to follow every day the same way. Productive people, who are juggling work, school, children, a household or other obligations, follow a daily routine. A daily routine is essential for becoming efficient and productive.

Productive people first establish a routine for the simple things, such as brushing their teeth and making their beds; then they make routines for more complicated activities, such as making a to-do list each morning for work or school that outlines each day’s obligations.

Why it Works

When you establish a consistent schedule, you’re less likely to encounter the unexpected. Unexpected activities are the things that slow you down. For example, imagine you can’t find your keys in the morning. If you have a routine of placing your keys in the same place every evening, you’ll know where to find them every time. The action becomes automatic.

2. Productive People Use Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EI) is a type of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use the information to guide one’s thinking and actions (Salovey & Mayer, 1990).

Some researchers believe that Emotional Intelligence is innate, while others believe it can be developed. To improve EI, take note of others’ body language, voice patterns and other verbal and non-verbal cues as to their state of mind and feelings.

Why it Works

People who use Emotional Intelligence information make better decisions based on emotional information from themselves and others. Emotional Intelligence can be used to prioritize life tasks, problem solve, and to lead and communicate effectively.

Comprehending and recognizing your own emotions can motivate you to work toward the accomplishment of your goals. Understanding the emotions of others helps you empathize and prioritize by taking into consideration emotional cues. For example, when making decisions regarding tasks that are important to complete at work, considering management’s feelings can guide you in the right direction.

3. Productive People Read Books

In the modern days of on-demand television, online books, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, reading books might appear old-fashioned and passé. However, highly productive people never stop learning, and they make time to read books — regularly for leisure and for learning. Books provide a new perspective and allow individuals to escape.

Why it Works

There are several productivity benefits of reading books. Reading provides stress relief, improves vocabulary, improves sleep, keeps your mind sharp and improves focus.

Making reading a nighttime ritual can set you up for a good night’s sleep, which increases productivity. However, make sure that your reading material is made from paper because lights from electronic devices actually inhibit sleep. Light exposure before sleeping suppresses the hormone melatonin, which promotes sleep.

4. Productive People Listen to the Beat of Their Own Drum

Everybody is different. Some people are morning people. Others are not. Some like to work in spurts, while others keep a steady pace throughout the day. Some like to work in a quiet room, while others thrive in a busy coffee shop.

What’s important is knowing what works for you. Keeping a diary of productive times and places helps you harness the power of your own rhythm and personal style.

Why it Works

Self-awareness is the ability to have an understanding of your personality – and in this context, your work style. Becoming aware of what works and doesn’t work empowers you to alter behavior to set yourself up for success.

5. Productive People Work With Passion

Productive people wake up each day with a passion for their life and work. Their day gives them meaning and purpose and they cherish every moment of it. They’re motivated by their goals and the tasks they’re taking to accomplish them. Passion doesn’t come naturally; productive people go out and search for it.

Steve Jobs once said,

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.”

This doesn’t mean that you should immediately quit your job to pursue your passion of becoming a golf pro or polo player. It’s important to love what you do — not necessarily to do what you love. Focus on what is meaningful about your work and you’ll feel satisfaction from it.

Why it Works

Those who feel truly successful are proud of the work that they’ve accomplished. There’s always something to feel good about at work — appreciate your achievements. Being delighted about your accomplishments motivates and encourages you to keep going.

6. Productive People Don’t Let Others Tell Them What They Can’t Do

Limitations are something that unproductive people know well. Self-imposed and external limitations squash productivity. Productive people don’t let others hold them back from the greatness that they can achieve. They see their goal and keep going no matter what others might say.

Don’t let the naysayers impose limits on you. Distance yourself and keep your eye on the prize.

Why it Works

It goes without saying that focusing on the positive, rather than the negative fosters success and productivity. Those who focus on the goal and are passionate about it are likely to achieve it.

7. Productive People Practice Self-Restraint

Self-restraint is one of the most difficult practices to achieve, and learning self-control is challenging for many. Productive people know that limiting temptations, such as time wasting activities, can lead to enhanced productivity.

It’s important to recognize when self-restraint is an issue. Keep a diary of wasted time. There are practices that can help you learn self-control. Software and apps can block and limit distractions. Practicing yoga and meditation increases self-awareness and control. Eventually, self-control becomes automatic or a habit and it comes naturally.

Why it Works

Reducing time-wasters, such as television, video games, unhealthy snack breaks, etc. shifts attention to the important tasks at hand. When self-control is no longer an issue, focus becomes easier and time becomes free to do the things you really want to do — without guilt.

8. Productive People Experience Life

People who are productive get out of their comfort zone and experience all life has to offer. They crave new experiences, travel, pursue education and socialize often. Every new life experience is an opportunity to learn something new. Powerful, exciting and new life experiences provide important memories that people reflect upon for years.

Why it Works

It’s simple. Interesting life experiences foster joy, learning and contentment. Happier people work harder and are more productive. Productive people make better decisions based on past life experiences — whether those experiences are good or bad.

9. Productive People Say “No”

One of the most important skills to learn is to say, “no.” Management consultant, educator and author, Peter Drucker, once said,

“Efficiency is doing the thing right. Effectiveness is doing the right thing.”

Productive people know when requests don’t align to their personal goals or professional goals. They understand how to prioritize and which tasks and activities to focus on. They know what can be deferred or ignored. They know when it’s the right decision to say “no.”

Why it Works

When time is limited and demands are insurmountable, prioritization becomes more important than ever. Saying yes to everything wastes time, sacrifices quality of work and can be overwhelming. Learning to say no to meetings, invitations and projects that don’t move the needle is hard to do, but advances productive people to meet their most important demands.

10. Productive People Schedule and Record Everything

Do you get anxiety about forgetting your daily obligations? Many of us do. Holding too many items in our heads creates excessive stress and anxiety.

According to studies, most people are only able to remember three to four things in the mind at once. If you’re the average person and not a master of memory, use a paper calendar or mobile app to manage schedules and obligations.

Why it Works

Recording commitments, ideas and goals ensures that you won’t miss appointments and other obligations, but also reduces the anxiety associated with forgetting those items. A reliable mobile calendar or personal organizer provides you with audible and visible reminders to keep you on track.

Your Turn

What are your secrets for success, motivation and productivity? Please comment and share!

2 replies

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  1. […] 10 Secrets of Highly Productive People. To some, it’s a mystery why many people are driven to action, while some people have a difficult time getting things done. […]

  2. […] What these people are doing to stay productive will surprise you.  […]

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