You already know that successful productive people work very hard, but many of them are also very busy and have lots of different things they have to keep track of. In order to be productive and stay successful these people have developed many habits that help them throughout their daily workload. There are tons of articles about what inspires productive people and how productive people spend their time, but this article is going to give you the inside information on how productive people get so much done and stay organized. If you can take a few of these helpful habits and work them into your daily routine you’ll be able to maximize the time you spend working so you have more time to spend with friends and family.
1. Write Down Ideas As You Have Them
Your best ideas likely happen when you’re busy doing something else. Maybe you’re in the shower, or at the gym, or working on your yard, but by the time you get back to a place where you can write your idea down it’s already long gone. Successful people recognize that every idea is an opportunity to create more success so they get in the habit of writing down ideas as they have them. Carry around a notepad and a pen with you, or if you’re partial to a smartphone set up a notepad app that you can jot down ideas when they hit you and check on them later.
2. Make To Do Lists
When you have work, family, friends and other responsibilities all competing for your attention you can quickly lose sight of what needs to get done right now. Make a list every day of the things that must be completed that day. The process of writing these things down may remind you of other things you intended to do but forgot about and will increase the likelihood of you staying on top of all your tasks. Make it part of your morning routine that as you’re having your cup of coffee (or tea if you’re like me) get out a pen and paper and write down your daily action items. Once you get into this habit you’ll wonder how you ever got by before you did this so give it a shot tomorrow.
3. Avoid Envy
Yes, everybody already knows that envy is a negative emotion, but recognizing that envy can change the way that you work will allow you to emphasize positive emotions instead. When you are envying somebody you’re focusing on things that you do not have, and tend towards jealousy and anger. Using your energy on these negative emotions can drain you over time and hold you back from being productive. When somebody around you achieves something try talking them up and reframing your feelings in positive emotions.
4. Use Criticism
It’s easy to get upset when you are criticized because it’s a reflection on your work and how good you are at something. Productive people don’t just enjoy criticism, they make it an integral party of how they work. When you are criticized next, think about what the person is actually saying regarding your work, and how you can incorporate their suggestions on how to do things differently into your work the next time.
5. Set Your Own Standard For Success
Your friends, family, coworkers, and the media all lay out what the common concept of success is supposed to look like. A big house, nice car, luxury vacations, but that concept of success can keep you from actually reaching your potential. Productive people don’t look at big picture success the same as normal people do. They define success for themselves based on what is important to them. Whether that success is to make a lot of money, or to reach a desired role within a company, or even to donate a certain amount of time and money to charity, they know what they want to do and work towards that goal.
6. Don’t Strive For Perfection
There is a very fine line between working to do something perfectly and procrastinating to avoid the next task you have to do. Productive people recognize this line and are careful not to work too hard to get something perfect before moving on to the next thing. Most computer programs have bugs that get worked out through updates, a contract goes through revisions, negotiations take several rounds to reach an agreement. In each of these scenarios perfection isn’t what the parties are looking for, it’s to get something done very well and keep moving forward.
7. Take Technology Time Outs
I don’t know about you, but I get hundreds of emails a day just for work, and many more for shopping, blogs, and my personal life. It’s easy to get bogged down in checking your emails and responding to text messages or tweets or skimming through facebook. Productive people know this and build time into their day to completely unplug from the connected world and take a deep dive into the projects they are working on. Many of them also plan a complete technology time out in the morning or evening where their phones, tablets, and computers are in completely different rooms and they spend time thinking, writing, or reading to help clear their minds and focus on what’s important.
8. Reframe Failure
Instead of looking at mistakes as failures, look at mistakes as growth opportunities. I know that this sounds a little cheesy, but by understanding what happened before, during and after a mistake you can help ensure that you won’t make the same mistakes again in the future. You may be able to analyze what happened and discover a better process that can streamline your work. You might even think of a solution that is valuable to other people and use it as the foundation of a product.
9. Use Your Downtime Effectively
But, isn’t the point of downtime to just relax and do what I want? If you want to be productive, you’ll recognize that using your downtime productively is part of a bigger strategy. If you find yourself with nothing to do, don’t just mindlessly channel surf, pick up a book about a topic that is interesting and try to learn something. You can work on learning a language, work on a hobby, give your time to charity, or spend it focusing on family. All of our time is valuable, even if that value is just to make the most out of your free time with friends and family so don’t waste it!
10. Work Harder Than Anybody Else
This might seem obvious but it’s important to say it again that your work ethic is the core of what will make you productive and successful. You may be very smart and very talented but there is somebody out there who is smarter and more talented and the differentiator between them and you is how hard you work to be the best.