Friday, January 13, 2017

What Highly Productive People Do Routinely (That You Can Do Now)

Productivity is learned, not inborn. Highly productive people are not born to be productive. Instead, they make an effort to carefully select their routine and master their behavior. After studying many highly successful and productive people, I found that they all share certain routines and habits.

Highly productive people have some routines in common that made them productive, and here are the eleven you can start practicing in your daily life to ramp up your overall productivity and performance.

1. Plan for the next day before bed

Productive people know what they need and want to do way before it’s the time to do it. If you failed to plan, you’re planned to fail. People who never plan for what they need to get done the next day usually get nothing done. Besides, having a clear mission and purpose for the next day also give you a solid reason to get up early and kick some asses the next day.

2. Wake up early

We usually perform best in the first few hours after we get up from the bed, given that we had a good amount of quality sleep. But most people wake up 30 minutes before work. Are you one of them?

Get up two to three hours before work or any daily obligation. Invest this period of time into your mind, your body, or maybe your side hustle.Get enough sleep. To get up early (with your energy at peak), you need to get enough sleep. The optimal period of sleep is 7 to 8 hours, but it depends on each individual. I sleep for 6 to 6.5 hours a day.

3. Frame your emotional state in the morning

Highly motivated and productive people don’t just feel pumped up for no reason. One key factor that affects our productivity directly is our emotions. While most people wake up feeling bad, tired, or bored, productive people wake up and get into the routine to frame their emotional state. They train their mind to feel and think what they want in order to perform their best day in and day out.

4. Do nothing

Take 10 to 15 minutes every morning to breathe. Some call it meditation; I usually call it the do-nothing time. Any busy people will understand how messed up their mind is each day when facing multiple urgent tasks in the never-ending chaos. Invest a short amount of time to wind down, think of nothing, plan for nothing, and literally do nothing. Focus on your breath. This simple (but not easy) routine helps to improve your focus. The best part is, you can use this skills of focusing on everything when you master it.

5. Make a to-do list with maximum six tasks

Productive people have a to-do list, but highly productive people have a short to-do list. Don’t write every single task, such as “walk your dog”  or “clean the car,” in your to-do list. Limit the number of a maximum of six. This simple technique will force you to prioritize. And give you a closer look of what’s truly important.

6. Workout

A healthy body is going to serve you better in the long run. Some might think they have no time for a workout, but what they tend to overlook is that you can perform 10 times better with the energy level and sharp mind that come with a healthy body.

7. Limit information consumption

Go low-information diet. Stop reading the newspaper or browsing social media sites (unless those are your job). Consuming more information gives an illusion that we’re actually doing something and being productive, but the truth is that we aren’t. Spend 80% of your time on executing; and only 20% of the time on learning. You are going to gain more from the results and feedback from the real-time execution.

8. Delegate/automate tasks at hand

Highly productive people know how to delegate their task. Ask yourself TWO questions: (1) Am I the only person capable of doing this? (2) Am I the one who do this the best? If both answers are NO, find someone else to do it for you. Next, be open to embrace automation. There are thousand web applications that can automate tasks for you today with a small fee. Even it might be not cost effective now, but in most cases, it usually paid back well in the long run.

9. Take a nap

A 20 to 60 minutes nap will do wonders. It allows your brain and body to rest, organize the information you overlook during work subconsciously. Even if it seldom happens, you’re much more energized after a quick nap.

10. Reflect on the day in the evening

You can write a daily to journal your day, or simply rewind it in your mind. Think about what went well and what went wrong; what you had done well and not done well. You will definitely gain some lessons and insights unexpectedly, and you can always come up some plans to make tomorrow better.

11. Cultivate habits

It’s hard for you to apply all of these at once. Productive people make these their habits slowly, up to a point where they’re doing them automatically.

. . .

Most people think being productive means being busy or to get more done in shorter period of time, but it’s not. In fact, the difference between highly productive people and average procrastinators is that productive people have clear vision and goals, understand their priority, and always focus on the important things only.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via

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