It’s difficult not to admire the people who have this unique ability to get things done and fast. We typically call these people machines or robots because we can’t fathom how they are so productive and are constantly working away at maximum efficiency. They are not always ‘overachievers’ by nature necessarily, but they do know how to obtain strong results while working towards their goals without the appearance of stress or anxiousness. We look at these people with wonderment and maybe just a pinch of jealousy from knowing that being highly effective is both extremely tiring and pretty difficult. So, we ask, what do highly productive people all have in common? & How do they find the time to manage both their personal life and work-life so seamlessly? Before we answer those questions it’s critical we understand what exemplifies high productivity and those who possess it.
What Does Being Productive Look Like?
Before we dive into how to become the ultimate productivity guru, we first need to assess and understand what it looks like. Productivity in its purest form is someone who uses their time wisely. They are constantly finding opportunities to get more done in a shorter amount of time while ensuring their work is of high quality and above standards. Productive people eat, sleep, and breathe efficiency. It’s easy to spot someone who is productive whether it be in a work environment or in their personal life. They know what's important, they plan out their entire day, they're able to get back on track faster, they know their priorities, they problem-solve, they arm themselves with the right tools, they have intense focus, and they're well organized.
Get to Know the Reasons Behind Your Procrastination
If productivity is the equivalent of running towards what you want, then procrastination is like running in the opposite direction. It’s hard to know exactly why we procrastinate as it varies in each situation. It can stem from a passive state of which indicates we are afraid of failure, such as a deep-seeded feeling that we aren’t equipped to handle the task at hand. As for when we procrastinate, these setbacks are often associated and attached to ongoing habits that we’re typically unaware are even occurring. The best thing we can do to avoid procrastination in preventing us from being accountable, reliable and from experiencing new opportunities, is to become hyper-aware and notice when we are procrastinating so we can instantly identify the trigger and break the habit, and of course, try reinforcing the upsides and benefits of task completion.
How to Become a Highly Productive Person
A common question that occurs when considering productivity habits and traits is, ‘Are people born with the natural abilities to be productive?, Or is it something we teach ourselves based on our experiences?’ Essentially, is productivity related to nature or nurture. Everyone is born with inherent abilities that make certain types of tasks preferable over others, however, productivity is something that is learned and with practice, and therefore anyone can become profoundly efficient. It is also imperative to note that excessive list-making or copious amounts of caffeine won’t get you any closer to reaching peak productivity levels as there are fundamental changes that need to be made in your day-to-day life in order to sustain this positive change of behaviour.
It Starts with Mindset.
The elements of a productive mindset are that of which utilize your best resources - your time, your energy and your efforts, in a way that doesn’t exhaust or deplete you. To instill a productive mindset is to understand the better way in which things can be done and how being organized and strategic with your time and energy affects other areas in your life. Mindfulness and intention have also been known to create a mentality that increases productivity by being fully aware and present in each moment throughout the day while answering the question, What are you working on and why? Both mindfulness and intention also help you stay focused on the greater goals that you’re working towards without getting distracted or caught up on insignificant issues or minor setbacks.
Adjusting Your Attitude.
If you want to produce positive results in your life, you must maintain a positive attitude, especially if you want to be productive. Our attitude is our tendency to respond to situations. As humans, we often have the impulse to dwell or become consumed by our emotions, so when those emotions and attitudes become overwhelming they cost us our focus, energy, and time which naturally is the antithesis of being productive. If you want to remain results-oriented, I would recommend not sweating the small stuff!
We Are Our Routines.
Few things have as much of an effect on your daily productivity, career direction, and overall well-being as your daily routines. According to research, up to 70% of our day is controlled by the routines we set for ourselves. Routines aim to make the chaos of each day more systematic and containable, and it isn’t the exact nature of your routine that makes us more productive, but that you have one and stick to it. There are no specific ingredients that make a functional routine that enhances or promotes efficiency in your life, instead the most successful daily routines are the ones that simply work for you. This means getting to know your body and its natural energy patterns. It’s nearly impossible to stick to your routine 100% of the time, so when you stray away from your productive routine remember these words to help you get back on track, we are what we repeatedly do.
Mastering prioritization can change your life. Even if you’re the most high-functioning productive person in the world, if you don’t properly understand your priorities, you’re just creating more work for yourself in the end. Knowing your priorities reduces stress, helps you focus, and can improve productivity and time management. It also can help with work-life balance as you can then create better boundaries in both your work and personal life. When you can direct your attention to the things that matter most, it increases your ability to compartmentalize in a more meaningful and effective way.
The things on your front burner will naturally shift over time in both your personal and work life, but checking in with yourself and those around you will help you better understand your top priorities.
Building Better Habits
Habits are deeply ingrained patterns of behaviour. Nearly all successful people will tell you that their lucrative lifestyle came from building better and more purposeful habits. As we have already touched on routines, the biggest distinction between habits and routines is how conscious and deliberate you are, routines are specific and habits are often vaguer which makes them all that more difficult to detect. As much as we wish for each day to be one of a kind, the cycle of repeating the same actions day after day is very common, and because of this are our habits slowly but surely consume us. When we can become aware of these habits and how they are affecting us on a long-term basis, the better we can be at breaking the ones that are holding us back, distracting us, or preventing us from allocating more time into other areas in our life that demand more attention.
Don’t Lose Sight of Your Goals
Goal setting is not a new concept yet surprisingly, it is often ignored or forgotten. Goal setting has been recognized as a sure way to produce productivity and it provides a clear path to building better habits and managing our priorities. When we lose sight of what our end goal is, we lose sight of what we’re working towards and it then gets easy to become directionless and distracted which increases our chances of being unproductive. Goal setting is ranked at the top of personal and organizational performance improvement. Anyone who is able to commit the time and attention to setting their goals and figuring out their 'why', can easily do so. By informing yourself more on the power of goal setting, you can significantly improve productivity and performance in your own personal and professional life. Remember, working towards your goals requires you to be flexible and have the ability to roll with the punches and not allow yourself to get derailed by small setbacks.
You Won’t Always be Productive
As much as productivity is a huge source of building and sustaining a healthier even happier lifestyle, it’s important to recognize you won’t be productive all the time. A great way to allow yourself room for growth and the time to relax and reflect is the 8/20 rule, which most people we deem successful, live by. This means that 80 percent of the time we are sticking to our routines and building good habits and working towards our goals, and 20 percent of the time we are allowing ourselves to relax, take a break, recharge, and restore our motivation. Knowing how to get back on track is the most important part of being an efficient and productive person.