Being busy is not the same as being productive.
It’s all about your habits and how you use your time.
Here’s how to be truly productive and not just busy.
1) Having clear goals
Productive people have clear goals.
You can spend your day working like a dog and barely having time to eat, but if your goals aren’t clear then you’re likely to waste a lot of energy.
It’s all too easy to spend endless sweat and tears on something without really being clear on why you’re doing it.
But when you have a clear goal you become far more productive and have benchmarks to hit that keep you motivated.
This brings up the next point…
2) Having strong motivations for what you do
When you’re strongly motivated by what you’re doing you end up being far more productive.
Productive individuals have a strong reason for what they do, not just “whatever” or “because it’s my job.”
Even if they’re in a job they don’t particularly like or feel passionate about, the productive person has a larger reason for what they’re trying to save up for, or loved ones they’re supporting.
When you have a strong reason for what you’re doing you become much more motivated at managing your time, energy and resources to get it done.
In other words, you become much more productive!
3) Showing up on time and ready to work
Punctuality is extremely important when it comes to being productive and meeting goals.
Showing up on time and ready to work is highly appreciated by coworkers and those counting on you.
Busy people have their schedule full of commitments and never have time to talk or relax: yet when you really take a close look at them they are often showing up late and missing where they need to be.
Productive people, by contrast, by a very big point of showing up time and channeling their time and energy effectively.
4) Collaborating with helpful people
Productive people make a habit of collaborating with helpful people.
The idea of the lone genius working away in an ivory tower somewhere and then coming out of nowhere with grand discoveries has an element of truth.
It’s not like Galileo was just some rube.
But you can’t get very far without first standing on the shoulders of giants, and we all draw on the deep well of the wisdom, discoveries and constructions of those who came before us.
Being truly productive requires collaboration at least in some aspect, even if it’s only online.
5) Knowing when to be patient
There are times to seize the moment and go all out, but there are also times to be patient.
Productive people don’t act impulsively or recklessly to get the results they want.
Part of being very productive is being willing to apply consistent effort over time.
Whether it’s a new business, home renovations or the formations of a new technology or invention, the productive person works step by step and stays patient.
Ironically, by not expecting immediate results, far many more results end up happening and often far more quickly.
6) Practicing high self-awareness
Highly productive people have a habit of being highly self-aware.
They know their strengths and weaknesses and they practice total self-honesty.
This helps lead to much better time management and setting of goals and milestones.
It also helps a lot in knowing what you’re truly skilled at and your deeper motivations for doing so.
When you’re self-aware there’s really no downside, except pushing yourself harder and becoming even more productive and driven.
7) Paying attention to what you are good at
Productive people know their strengths and weaknesses and as a result they double down on their talents.
Far too many people waste a lot of time and energy on trying to satisfy things other people tell them they “should” do or do it just for money or praise.
But they forget to pay attention to what they’re truly good at.
If you want to be a productive person you need to think about what you really like to do and focus on that.
There are many jobs and tasks out there, but if you are tilting at windmills you’ll never get anywhere and even when you are productive you’re only likely to feel empty and unfulfilled afterwards.
8) Learning from failure and roadblocks
When failure and roadblocks occur, productive people learn what they can.
That could mean optimizing processes…
It could mean firing some people…
It could even mean quitting a job or leaving a degree program at university that’s just not resonating with you.
When you experience frustration and roadblocks it can be very disheartening.
But a productive person learns what they can from such experiences.
9) Thinking long-term
Many of the most successful people in the world practice the philosophy of “long-termism.”
This means they don’t just think about short-term goals and benefits, but about what it will all mean down the line.
This includes figures like Elon Musk, who’s one of the most productive people in the world.
If you want to be productive, think long term about what your goals mean for you and for what you’d like to happen in the world as a whole!
10) Avoiding unhelpful habits and addictions
There are many habits to become more productive, but a big part of it is also eliminating and avoiding habits and addictions that make people less productive.
This includes things like over drinking, partying too much, drug use or being lazy and sitting around.
It may also include behavioral addictions like being addicted to complaining or seeking attention.
Along with that comes the avoidance of unhelpful people as well.
Which brings me to the next point…
11) Cutting out time-wasting practices and people
Productive people have a habit of spending time with other productive people or at least people who feel motivated to try harder.
They practice the habit of cutting out those who waste a lot of time or bring them down.
If you want to win, you need to spend time around winners.
Or at least people who want to be winners.
Those who waste a lot of time, as well as time-wasting habits like procrastinating or over-indulging in social media and consuming films and series are things that are best to cut out if you want to be more productive.
Doubling down on productivity
The best thing about being productive is that it spreads.
The more productive you are, the more productive everyone around you becomes or at least the more they stand out if they’re not!
When you’re productive you start a chain reaction and only good things come from it.
Just make sure you take some time to relax, too!