There are only few of us who can boast of having spent a productive day. And these are the people who turn out to be successful eventually. What is it that makes some people more productive than others? Small tweaks to how quickly you fire off emails, take breaks, and ask questions can make all the difference in how happy, productive, and effective you are at work.
Warren Buffet once said, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” While this is one of the most inspiring qualities that productive people posses, there are few things that most productive people do every day that makes them stand apart.
They define goals the night before
Most productive people wake up knowing what is important before the day’s pseudo-emergencies come barging into their life and that is the reason they feel more accomplished at the end of the day. Bestselling author Dan Pink says, “Establish a closing ritual. Know when to stop working. Try to end each work day the same way, too. Straighten up your desk. Back up your computer. Make a list of what you need to do tomorrow.” Research says you are more likely to follow through if you’re specific and if you write your goals down. Studies show this has another benefit: writing down what you need to do tomorrow relieves anxiety and helps you enjoy your evening.
They don’t respond to e-mails as they arrive
Various studies have said that checking emails as and when they arrive can make you very unproductive. Productive people don’t allow their e mail to be a constant interruption. In addition to checking their e-mail on a schedule, they take advantage of features that prioritise messages by sender. Some people even set up an autoresponder that lets senders know when they will be checking their e-mail again.
They focus only on one thing at a time
While multitasking has always been something people admire, if you observe really productive people, you will understand that they don’t multitask. They consider multi tasking a real killer. Ultra productive people know their Most Important Task (MIT) and work on it for one to two hours each morning, without interruptions. Tom Ziglar, CEO of Ziglar Inc said in one of his interview to a tabloid, “Invest the first part of your day working on your number one priority that will help build your business.”
Research conducted at Stanford University confirms that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.
They wake up early every day
Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat and Chrysler, wakes up as early as 3:30am to deal with the European market. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple Inc., starts his day as early as 4:30am to send emails. Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, says he wakes up by 5:30am for his daily workout routine. All successful and highly productive people wake up early.
They keep track of their progress
Oprah Winfrey keeps a journal and writes down her accomplishments every day. Most productive people keep track of their progress, set goals, reflect, and learn from their mistakes. They understand that they need a map to accomplish great things.
They never procrastinate or make excuses
Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Highly productive people do not take chances, they take action and get the tough assignments done first.
They delegate as much as possible
Letting go of control and delegating efficiently is a huge trick of productive people. Others say yes and then don’t have time to follow it. Remember you cannot do everything. Sometimes it is better to understand the qualities people around you possess and delegate work accordingly. Highly productive people never try to be super man or woman. (Also read: 8 boardroom etiquettes that will make you a star performer)
They put technology to work for them
Author Travis Bradberry says, “Ultra productive people put technology to work for them. Technology catches a lot of flak for being a distraction, but it can also help you focus. Beyond setting up filters in their e-mail accounts so that messages are sorted and prioritized as they come in, they set up contingencies on their smart phones that alert them when something important happens. This way, when your stock hits a certain price or you have an email from your best customer, you’ll know it. There’s no need to be constantly checking your phone for status updates.”
They read up a lot
If there is one thing that most productive people it is to take out time for reading. Before hitting the sack they definitely read up. Reading is maybe the most productive thing you can ever do.
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