5 Things Highly Productive People Do
We all start off with the same 24 hours each day. How we utilize that time determines what we are able to accomplish, shaping who we are and who we become.
Our lives are filled with too many distractions to count on good intentions.
The highly successful don’t achieve their results by accident. Rather, they are thoughtful and deliberate with their time and energy.
Here are 5 things highly productive people do to achieve peak performance:
1. Recognize the difference between urgent and important
It's easy to get caught up in the unproductive trap of prioritizing urgent tasks over important ones. After all, we feel an immediate sense of accomplishment when we quickly check a few things off our list.
Unfortunately, these “quick fixes” are often realized at the expense of our important work – the tasks that lead us to achieving our long-term goals.
Highly productive people do not confuse urgent with important. Instead, they invest their time and energy on the tasks that really matter – the 20% that drives 80% of the results.
2. Know when they perform best and plan accordingly
The highly productive take notice of their natural energy cycles and schedule their tasks accordingly. They strategically design their days to maximize their time and energy.
Morning types, for example, schedule their most challenging tasks first thing in the morning when their energy level is at its highest. Conversely, they use the periods when their energy level is lower to accomplish busy work such as filing, scheduling, or returning phone calls.
[Related: Five Healthy Tips for a Productive Workday]
3. Schedule their downtime
Highly successful people manage their non-working hours with the same diligence as their working ones. They recognize that downtime is critical to their productivity and therefore, build rest and play into their weekly schedule.
If you are among the “type A’s” out there (myself included) who tend to feel guilty if you are not working on something constructive, reframe rest as an essential component to achieving and sustaining your high performance. Schedule it and protect it.
4. Use their mornings strategically
Yes, waking up early has proven productivity benefits, however, your success hinges upon how you spend those early morning hours.
Highly productive people create a morning routine that prepares them for the day ahead. Here's a sample routine from my own playbook: wake-up, stretch, meditate, coffee while reading articles of interest, review task list for the upcoming day, dress, wake-up kids, breakfast, off to school/work.
This simple daily routine sets the tone for my day ensuring I start off calm, collected, and focused.
5. Starve distractions
Technology has enriched our lives in so many ways, yet if not effectively managed it can wreak havoc on our productivity.
Rather than constantly battling distractions, the highly successful create environments that eliminate them before they start.
Set your phone to Do Not Disturb, close all unnecessary browsers and chat programs on your computer, let your phone go straight to voicemail and consider using noise reduction headphones.
I hope these strategies add hours to your day. And remember…
The secret to high performance is working smarter, not necessarily harder!
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Planning Etc. LLC
I believe in the power of planning, which led to the creation of Planning Etc. LLC, a productivity consultancy focused on improving performance through strategic planning, organization, and time management. We teach busy professionals how to use smart planning to be effective and productive. Our strategies, tools, and resources are based on behavior science research tailored to the client's unique circumstance and productivity style. Time is your most valuable resource. Our goal is to ensure you invest... Continue Reading
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