Practicality is, ironically, difficult to define—it’s something that doesn’t look exactly the same for each person.
We all wish we could be more practical, though. The question is: how can you do it?
Let’s take a look at 10 signs of a practical person, and talk a little bit about how you yourself can become more practical.
10 signs of a practical person
1) They’re efficient
One of the biggest keys to being a practical person is efficiency.
Practicality is all about what happens when the rubber hits the road. Just talking about practicality is, inherently, impractical.
Actions, on the other hand, are practical. Therefore, someone who is efficient in all they do is inherently a practical person.
Their efficiency leads to the ability to get things done in a manner that doesn’t waste time or energy. Indeed, waste of any kind is impractical. The more efficient you can be, the more practical you are.
For instance, a practical person doesn’t waste time deliberating. They quickly assess the situation and take decisive action. Time spent waffling back and forth, paralyzed with indecision, is time wasted.
And time wasted is inefficient.
One thing my father always taught me was this: people spend too much time making a decision, and not enough time sticking to it.
So make your decisions quickly, then stick to them. You’ll become a more efficient person.
Here are some habits that successful people just don’t waste their time on.
2) They’re clear and straightforward
Practical people don’t like to mince words.
They mean what they say, and they say what they mean.
Of course, they’re not going to be rude or untactful, however, they will always be clear. Their intentions will be well known, their goals easily understood, and their actions obvious to understand.
They will be straightforward and speak plainly.
This translates into their actions as well. They are clear and decisive, and this leads to a great amount of practicality.
If you’re looking to understand the signs of a practical person, know that one of the biggest is their ability to be clear and straightforward.
Communication is a big part of being practical. If intentions aren’t clear, if people aren’t on the same page, then nothing can get done; there will be a distinct lack of efficiency.
Practical people also know that communication isn’t just about being blunt or saying as few words as possible. In fact, this is less efficient and practical.
They know how to communicate in a clear, respectful, and proactive way. When you talk to a practical person, it’s clear that they don’t have time for bullshit.
If you’ve ever wondered why people are so fake, here are some of the top reasons.
3) They manage their time well
The old adage “everyone has the same amount of time in the day” is, by nature, false and ableist.
Circumstances can change everything, as can money. Some people have to walk to the laundromat and wash all their clothes there, then walk home. Some people can pay someone to do all their laundry for them. This, obviously, gives them the ability to do more with their time.
Therefore, it’s much more relevant to think about how we spend our time, and whether or not it’s spent efficiently.
In other words, being practical about your time management can lead to all kinds of productivity, no matter your circumstances.
Therefore, time management is an integral part of being a practical person. Someone who is really good at managing the time that they do have is very practical.
They analyze their habits, making sure that they aren’t wasting any valuable time scrolling, dozing, worrying, or dallying.
They know that if they are focused and efficient when they need to be, they’ll have more time to relax at the end of the day.
Here are some interesting habits that could reveal something about your personality.
4) They’re highly self-aware
Someone who’s practical isn’t exactly going to ignore themself. They, by nature or by discipline, know how to see the whole picture, and set aside their personal feelings and perspectives.
They do this because they don’t want to miss anything. They do it because they’re a practical person. Being self-aware is not only healthy, it’s also very practical.
Being aware of your thoughts, feelings, responses, and so on will allow you to monitor yourself, keep a level head, and achieve your goals.
Self-awareness involves understanding various aspects of the self. Self-awareness is a state of mind where you become the focus of your attention.
Here’s a great article that takes an in-depth look at self-awareness: what it is and why you need it.
5) They’re always flexible
Practicality is not the same as rigidity. It might seem like a practical person is someone who gets everything done exactly as they planned when they planned it.
However, that’s not the case.
Being practical involves understanding that we live in a world of contingency; nothing always goes as planned.
Therefore, it’s practical to be flexible.
Someone who is practical is able to go with the flow, ride the wave, roll with the punches. They aren’t fazed when the train rolls right off the tracks (as it often does).
Instead, they’re able to take things as they come and adapt their game plan according to their ever-changing circumstances.
In this way, they can still reach their goals, achieve what they need to, and be successful.
With too much rigidity, a carefully laid out plan can become obsolete, and ineffective. It takes practicality to realize that a change of plans is the best way to move forward.
6) They’re goal-oriented
In a similar vein to the last point, being goal-oriented is one of the big signs of a practical person. Instead of focusing on all the little steps needed to reach a certain achievement, it’s far more practical to focus on the goal.
There are going to be countless roadblocks along your journey to success and fulfillment, or in reaching a specific goal.
If you’re too focused on the steps directly in front of you, it becomes easy to lose sight of your vision or to get discouraged and lose your momentum.
However, with the goal clearly in mind at all times, it becomes a lot easier to overcome obstacles and build a trajectory that will keep you right on track, no matter how much life around you changes.
In this way, then, being goal-oriented is a big way to be a practical person.
7) They’re proud of their accomplishments
A practical person is also a positive person. Their outlook is resoundingly based in realism. However, putting a positive spin on things will lead to more success, happiness, and fulfillment.
There’s no need for a practical person to wallow in negativity, to focus too much on the failures.
Instead, they are able to acknowledge their accomplishments freely. They’re proud of what they’ve achieved so far, and they use that sense of satisfaction to fuel their current endeavors.
In that way, then, practical people use their accomplishments to keep themselves on track, and to stay positive, even when things are really rough, or aren’t working out in their favor.
8) They’re consistent
Practical people are also consistent.
They realize that if they want to have success, it takes diligent and consistent effort. Very rarely does anything happen overnight. It takes time, it takes effort, it takes steady work.
There’s no half-effort that’s worth it to a practical person. If they want to accomplish a goal, they dedicate themselves fully to it.
In other words, if it’s worth your time, it’s worth all of your attention.
This ties back to an earlier point where I mentioned that people spend too much time making a decision, and not enough time sticking to it.
When it comes to making a decision, your first instinct is usually a good one. But don’t give up on that decision too early. Make sure to put in the consistent effort and time that it takes to see it through.
That kind of consistency is a defining quality of a practical person.
Consistency is an integral part of being a genuine person, as well. Here’s a look at some other big habits of truly genuine people.
9) They have drive
Practical people have a lot of drive.
It’s necessary, in order to get things done, to accomplish goals, to give your life direction.
Drive is an internal motivation to succeed. Some people inherently have a lot of it, some people don’t really.
But that doesn’t mean success and practicality are only reserved for those who inherently have a drive to succeed. In fact, drive is something that can be learned and practiced.
Like any other number of healthy habits, you can develop the ability to motivate yourself. It takes effort and discipline, however, it is doable.
And remember, practicality applies in every part of your life. If you have drive, you have the ability to be practical, successful, and play a proactive part in your own day-to-day life.
Drive also relates to meaning. So often it can be hard to find meaning from life. Here’s a great article that goes into depth about how you can find meaning in your life, and how it’s actually easier than you might think.
10) They’re grounded
One of the biggest signs of a practical person is their ability to stay grounded. A practical person may be a dreamer, with big goals, aspirations, and a desire to achieve what might seem impossible, however, they exist squarely in reality.
What does that mean?
It means that no matter what, they stay grounded with what’s around them. Their practicality tethers them to the here and the now. It’s why they are able to achieve their dreams.
Instead of idly daydreaming and wishing on stars, practical people aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, to put in the work that it takes to reach those dreams.
Practical people keep themselves connected to real life, the day-to-day and take things one step at a time.
A practical person doesn’t concern themselves with “if’s” or potential problems. Whatever circumstances there are directly around them, they deal with and find solutions for.
How you can become more practical
Being a practical person starts by analyzing your personal habits, as well as the way you think about things.
Let’s go through a few of those things in more detail.
First off, it’s important to understand how you spend your time. What kind of personal habits do you keep?
For instance, how many hours do you spend scrolling on social media, or browsing the web? How much time do you spend watching Netflix or streaming TV shows? These things can be relaxing and help you unwind, but spending too much time isn’t practical.
Further, analyze your efficiency, make sure that the things you’re doing are serving your practicality, helping you reach your goals, and keeping you on track to achieve success.
Practicing time management and self-awareness will also aid you greatly.
Another way to become more practical is by being more decisive. Waffling back and forth with indecision isn’t very practical. Learning to make quick and efficient decisions will make you a more practical person.
And remember, practical people are dreamers, too. They just know how to make their dreams become a reality.
In your efforts to become a more practical person, don’t forget to keep dreaming and setting goals. Just because being practical involves focusing on the things directly in front of you, that doesn’t mean you can’t dream big.