Struggling with productivity? We’ve all been there. Trust me, I’ve spent entire days “working”, only to finish the day wondering what it was I actually accomplished! To help you be more productive, you may want to try these 6 habits of highly productive people.
Before you dive in, make sure to sign up for my free productivity toolkit!
HABITS OF HIGHLY PRODUCTIVE PEOPLE
They Make Lists and Plan Ahead
Making a to-do list is pretty basic level stuff when it comes to being productive and getting shit done. However, that doesn’t mean every to-do list is an effective one. First of all, I always write my to-do lists in advance, because if I wait until I’m actually sitting down to work, I know things are going to slip my mind. I also prioritize my to-do list so it’s written in the order I want to tackle things, that way I’m not skipping the more difficult tasks in favor of more mindless ones. I find that a short, specific, prioritized list is the most effective kind.
Not only do I like to make a to-do list for myself, but I then just plug all of those tasks into my calendar so I know WHEN I’m going to be getting everything done. This is especially important if I have a big project I need to get done and I need to make sure I’m blocking off time to work on it.
Without a to-do list, you’ll spend your time working on tasks that DON’T matter as much, and the tasks that do matter may fall through the cracks!
They Take Breaks
Yes, in order to work productively, you need to actually be working. However, productive people know that reaching burnout is the total opposite of being productive, and therefore breaks are 100% necessary. This might be something as simple as, once every hour, getting up from your desk and taking a quick 5-minute walk to stretch your legs. When the weather is nice I’ve gotten in the habit of going for a 30-minute walk in the afternoons and I come back to my desk feeling so much more refreshed and ready to get back to work. For me being able to break up the day so I’m not sitting in one spot for 9 hours at a time is really the key.
Taking breaks also means scheduling downtime into your calendar. I tend to plan EVERYTHING, and on any given day I can look at my Google Calendar and get a pretty accurate picture of what my entire day is going to look like, including downtime. There are certain evenings every week where I’m working on my business, and my calendar on those days is filled with business tasks. On the evenings where I don’t want to work on my business, usually when I’m spending time with loved ones, I’m blocking that evening off so I DON’T work on my business.
Sometimes you just gotta schedule those breaks or they’ll never happen!
They Focus on Their Own Progress
When you’re working on your own career or business, it can be really hard not to notice others in the industry and the progress they are making, especially if it seems that their progress has exceeded your own. And while comparative research can be beneficial, especially when you’re starting a business, comparing just for the sake of comparison can be super damaging both to your own progress, as well as your psyche. Obviously, it can be really hard on your self-esteem if it seems that someone else is doing better than you. But also remember that every minute you spend focusing on someone else’s progress is a minute you aren’t spending focusing on your own.
At this point in my blogging journey I’ve found that the fewer other blogs in my niche I read regularly, the more I am able to put out quality original content for my own readers and work on growing my business in ways that are unique to my business, rather than doing something just because it has worked for someone else.
They Limit Distractions
This one may seem obvious, and that’s because it is, but it’s something we’re all guilty of doing anyway. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve put Netflix on, thinking I’ll just listen to it in the background while I work on blogging stuff. Spoiler alert: this literally never works. While multitasking can work if you do it right, that’s only the case in very specific situations, because our minds really can’t fully focus on two things at once.
The biggest trick here is KNOWING what your biggest distractions are. One of mine is for sure my phone. If my phone goes off, I grab it right away, even if it’s not important and I’m in the middle of something that IS important. Because of this, I have turned off almost all notifications on my phone.
As stressful as it may seem to miss a text or phone call, try to set a certain amount of time for yourself where you won’t check email, won’t check social media, and will keep your phone on silent to avoid texts and phone calls. It’s fine to start small and try to go longer and longer without distractions.
They Let Go of Perfectionism
As someone who is also a perfectionist, I can totally relate to checking and rechecking my work well past the point of productivity. Perfect is an unrealistic expectation, and spending too much time trying to reach it means we aren’t spending as much time making real progress in other areas. Seriously, if I only published my work once it was perfect, I would literally never publish ANYTHING.
I’m certainly not suggesting you put out work you know is subpar, but once you’ve checked and double checked your work, accept that it’s done and move on. No one can ever benefit from your work if you never put it out into the world.
They Know How They Work Best
There are plenty of articles available online that will tell you what the absolute most productive work schedule is. Some will tell you that you need to be getting up at 5 am and working for a couple of hours before the rest of the world is up and at ‘em. Others will tell you to schedule items from your to-do list directly on your calendar for certain times. Others will tell you batch scheduling or the Pomodoro technique are best. And while all of these are effective for someone (and probably lots of someones, given their popularity), that doesn’t mean they are right for EVERYONE.
I’ve talked about a lot of these productivity strategies here on my blog, and some of them I’ve strongly recommended. But they’ve worked for me. If there was ONE productivity secret that worked for literally everyone, we’d all be doing it by now. But we’re all different, and we all work differently, and different strategies are going to work for all of us.
It’s about trial and error, and taking the advice you’re given and finding out if it actually works for you.
Over time, you will learn when and how you work most productively. At the end of the day, the absolute most productive people are super productive because they know exactly how they work most productively.
BEFORE YOU GO
Productivity is definitely something we’ve ALL struggled with at some point. And even now, after years of studying productivity strategies, I still have days where my productivity isn’t exactly at its peak. On those days I just focus on implementing these habits of highly productive people!
I would love for you to leave me a comment and let me know what habits YOU use to stay productive!
Make sure to head over to the Etsy shop to check out all the AMAZING notepads and printables that will seriously help you boost your productivity.
And don’t forget to sign up for my FREE Ultimate Productivity Toolkit that has all the tools you need to plan a productive day, week, and month!
Hi, I’m Erin! I’m an online educator and content creator who helps women reach their goals by teaching them to manage their time and their money. I want to help you design a life you love, so I’m sharing everything I know about goal setting, productivity, planning, and personal finance. You can read my full story here!