Raise your hand if you want to wake up and win the day with unstoppable productivity. Everyone’s hands are up because we all share the common goal to achieve more within our limited time frame. But loading up on caffeine isn’t the solution. Instead, it’s important to review and study the habits of productive people. Through trial and error, they learned what works for them and how to adopt habits that drive them forward – and spoiler alert, you can achieve the same.
Habits of Productive People: 10 Tips to Get Stuff Done
1. Prioritize the most important tasks
One of the best ways to improve your productivity is to work efficiently. For example, before the start of the work week, plan out your responsibilities and write them on a calendar, the notes app of your phone, or document on your computer. Then, instead of trying to squeeze in 20 tasks within 8 hours which will only destroy your energy, prioritize the most important tasks first. Completing them will boost your confidence and create a less stressful week.
2. Take breaks
Top performers don’t force themselves to keep going. They listen to their bodies and practice simple brain breaks for adults to reset. That’s right. Being productive means accepting that you can’t work continuously for a prolonged period while maintaining exemplary results. We’re humans, and our brains need a break to recharge. Therefore, define where your energy is at its highest, work in focused bursts, and take movement breaks to disconnect from the screen. Your brain will thank you.
3. Create a morning self-care routine
Have you noticed when you wake up and immediately work, your productivity tends to die rather quickly? That’s because you didn’t ease yourself into your work. Your mind and body deserve a self-care ritual before transitioning into a busy day. Not doing so robs you of the much-needed opportunity to prepare yourself to maximize your cognitive resources. Therefore, use your mornings to eat a high-protein breakfast, meditate, or practice free at-home yoga workouts. This routine will fuel you for a more productive and happier day.
4. Think ahead
Habits of productive people involve analyzing their day and looking for areas where they can maximize their time. Instead of working harder, they work smarter. For example, identify your top time wasters and actively remove them by asking, “How can I better use my time today so I have more time tomorrow?” By following this method, you may notice bad habits where you leave the most difficult tasks to the last minute. Or perhaps you procrastinate by scrolling or watching the news, causing a drain in your productivity and a spike in your stress. Evaluate your to-do list and how you work to set you up for a happier tomorrow.
5. Reduce your workload
Again, you may have noticed a recurring theme: work smarter, and a part of doing so means learning how to delegate effectively. Our society often equates busyness with success. We believe if we fill our days, we appear more successful, intelligent, or admirable. However, top performers know busyness does the opposite. It depletes their energy and wastes their time. Therefore, trust your team members, delegate tasks, and say no to adding more. You’ll find you can focus more on the tasks that matter the most.
6. Remove distractions
Did you know a 2.8 second disruption doubles your chance of making a mistake? It’s true. That means notifications from your phone, social media, emails, and Slack can all put you off your game. Even though it seems harmless to check your Instagram feed, it’s hurting your productivity and taking you longer to finish a task. Therefore, limit distractions by turning off your phone, silencing notifications, and working in a quiet environment to optimize your attention.
7. Use positive self-talk
Another habit athletes, artists, entrepreneurs, and students have in common is positive self-talk. They use uplifting mantras and affirmations to relieve stress in high-pressure situations. Indeed, your mind is a powerful resource to guide you to the finish line. Even affirmations like “I can do this” can take you from feeling defeated to pumped up. Of course, affirmations aren’t a cure for everything, but we need to actively work to improve our internal dialogue to deprogram thinking that sabotages our performance. So, practice confidence affirmations and transform the “I can’t do this” to “How can I approach this task differently?”
8. Reframe the desired habit
Piggybacking from the previous tip, use your mind to reframe how you view the task ahead. For example, if you’re working on a project you really don’t want to complete, and it feels challenging or undesirable, but you know you should accomplish it, change the outcome. Perhaps you can remind yourself how good it would feel to finish it and why. Maybe completing it will lead to higher pay, better opportunities, more time to relax, etc. When you identify the desired result of achieving the goal, it will help you push past the frustration.
9. Stop multitasking
While doing ten things at once may seem like the most productive way to accomplish your work week, it’s ineffective. In fact, our brains can’t switch between tasks with ease. We become more prone to making errors, feeling stressed, and giving into distractions. So, give up the struggle, and pick one important task to center your cognitive energy on. If you need a creative boost, intentionally get up, and practice a motivation hack to help you focus. Doing so will encourage your brain to continue thinking about the task to discover unique solutions.
10. Work with emotions
If you’re tied to the outcome of a project or task, you may notice intense emotions as a result. For example, you may find yourself in a thought trap of worst-case scenarios: I have to start this project soon, or my boss will fire me. Yet learn how to challenge anxious thoughts by observing your feelings with curiosity. What emotion keeps arising? Fear, worry, anger? Notice its presence, and without attaching yourself to it or labeling it as good or bad, take a deep breath, and remember its shelf life is temporary. It won’t last forever. Taking a mindful break to observe the rise and fall of emotions will help you refocus and increase your productivity.
There you have it! Habits of productive people, with an overarching theme that is less is more. You cannot be productive if you overwhelm yourself and try to do-it-all. Instead, resist the myth of busyness, delegate tasks, value your time, focus on urgent tasks, and speak to yourself kindly – these alterations to your daily routine will help you succeed.
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