We all know someone who always gets things done the quickest possible time. For some reason, they can work on multiple projects each day and still find time for themselves.
Do you ever wonder how they do it?
If you want to know their secret, keep reading! Because in this article, we’ll discuss 10 of the things productive people always do.
Take note and you just might be able to do their magic, too!
1) They start their day with a morning routine
Productivity is a mindset. It’s not really something people are born with. Instead, it’s something we choose to be.
And the first thing productive people always do is stick to a morning routine.
The routine doesn’t have to be anything complicated.
It can be as simple as: eat breakfast, do some chores, catch up on the news, take a shower, and so on. Whatever you add to your routine doesn’t really matter, as long as you do it constantly each day as a sort of ritual.
And it doesn’t have to start at a crazy hour before the sun rises, too! Your morning can start either at 5AM, 8AM, or 10AM.
What matters is you have a ritual you do each time you begin your day.
2) They prioritize their daily tasks
One thing that’s certainly in a productive person’s daily routine is prioritizing their daily tasks.
Doing this gives them an overview of how their day looks. This triggers their brain to think of a way to execute the tasks as efficiently as possible. It’s like skimming a book or watching a movie recap to see how the story goes.
Productive people do this because they don’t like wasting time. In fact, they befriend it! (More on this later.)
So if you want to be more productive, try to list down the things you want to accomplish. You may create a list for each day. You can also opt to plan the list once a week, or every month if you can plan that far ahead.
3) They follow a “productivity schedule”
Here’s one misconception: Productive people keep grinding day in and day out.
Nothing could be farther from the truth! In reality, productive people keep what we’ll call a “productivity schedule.”
What’s a productivity schedule? It’s simply a schedule of your day where you plot the hours in which you have energy and motivation.
Keeping a productivity schedule means knowing what time of day you’re most productive. And then, you plan out your important tasks during those hours.
For example: You work as a writer. You notice that you get more ideas and energy at night.
If you’re a productive person, what you’ll do is block those hours of night. Say, maybe four hours? During that time, you’ll do all the writing you can and nothing else.
This block of time can be as long or short as you want. The point is to reserve that period for your most important task.
This allows you to allocate the rest of your time for other, less important activities.
4) They take small steps
One trick productive people do with the remaining time of their day? Take small steps.
For example: You recently decided on learning a guitar. How do you devote time to practice?
Productive people won’t cram everything they can learn about playing it in just one day. This is counterproductive.
Instead, they will take small steps to learn this new skill. They will allot an hour of each day to practice. It won’t matter how much (or how little) they learn during that hour. Learning will be locked in during that time period–no more and no less.
Taking small steps within a definite time period means you can do other things with the rest of your time.
And if you take multiple small steps of different tasks, you’ll be able to do so many things each day!
5) They value their down time
It’s not true that productive people don’t get a break. In fact, they treat down time as sacred.
When they rest, they actually rest. And this does not only mean sleep.
Rest can be different things! It can be meditation, watching your favorite TV show, drawing a bubble bath, or anything which will keep your nerves relaxed.
This is different from recreation. Rest is connected to soothing oneself; recreation is connected to energizing oneself.
Given, there can be overlaps between the two. But, bottomline: whether you’re allocating time for rest or recreation, make sure you make the most of it.
Because if you don’t, then you’ll be cheating your own mind and body. It’ll be like driving a car while the light flashes “Empty.” When you do that, you’re damaging the fuel pump.
That’s how burnout happens.
6) They refrain from multitasking
Let’s get straight to the point: Multitasking is a myth. At least, that’s what Dr. Nancy Napier of Psychology Today says in her study.
It defeats the purpose of productivity because it forces the brain into a start-stop-start cycle with each task. Each time you start a new task, your brain doesn’t keep the older task running! It completely halts it!
And each time we switch from stop back to start again, it takes our brain some time to make it happen. That is just a complete waste of time.
This is why productive people value scheduling and prioritizing.
It doesn’t matter whether you do three tasks or twenty tasks per day! They do them one by one until everything is done.
So what if there are tasks left unfinished? Then they continue it at the same time the next day.
7) They always have a pen and paper
It’s normal for anyone to have more things to do than the amount of time they have in a day.
So how come productive people still get to finish their multiple, unfinished tasks faster than everyone else? That’s because they always have a pen and paper within reach.
Some even have a designated notebook or journal!
When we have too much on our plate, we won’t remember everything. Depending on the strength of your memory, you can remember more or less of your daily tasks than others.
But at some point, when those tasks become too many to keep in mind, we’re bound to forget them. And that’s where keeping a pen and paper can come in handy.
This is especially important for people with short-term memory loss. Daily work tasks are items on a list our brain ticks off the moment they’re done. But for these people, it just happens a little bit faster than others.
Jotting down tasks on a notebook, a pad, or a journal helps even people with short-term memory loss become productive!
Why? Because when we list them down, we can track to-do’s while keeping them from adding to our mental load.
And then we are free to finish them as we see them on a sheet, instead of carrying them in our heads the entire day.
8) They say “no” most of the time
Productive people have this habit of saying “no” to almost anything.
They’re not people pleasers. They only do things according to their interest and what their energies can allow at a moment.
This is why they seem so great at budgeting their time!
The secret productive people have is knowing how to say no to things, such as:
- Requests from others that don’t benefit them
- Invitations to events they won’t enjoy
- Workload that’s not included in their job description
- Offering favors that spends more time, money, and resources than is comfortable
The bottomline is: To be more productive, know when to refuse doing things which you won’t enjoy or bring you satisfaction.
Why? Because these things cost a lot more than things you’re interested in.
9) They keep their overall health in mind
Productive people treat every resource they have as a currency: time, energy, money, interest… even health!
Arguably, health is our most valuable resource. This applies even more when you’re a productive person.
Your overall well-being dictates how much you can do with the time you have.
And if you get a sick day, then your usual routine will take a blow, and you won’t be able to accomplish tasks as much as you want!
One thing we must remember: Health is more than just getting a cold or coming down with the flu. Our mental and emotional health should come into consideration, too.
Mental illnesses often affect our usual drive more than physical sickness. Even heartbreak can drain the life out of us (as we all experienced at least once).
Always keep in mind that a healthy person is a productive person!
10) They befriend time
It’s true that we all have the same 24 hours in a day.
But it’s also true that we have varying social statuses and privileges. And if we’re at the lower end of these, we’re forced to use our hours for time-consuming things like bad traffic, a side job, or preparing food.
But no matter how much or little time you have, treating time as an enemy will only limit your productivity.
One thing all productive people do is take what time they have and make the most of it.
You have a surplus of time? Find a hobby, learn a new skill!
You lack time? Divide a task into smaller ones you can accomplish throughout the week.
You can be productive, too!
Productivity can come in many forms. You can apply it to work, to perfecting your craft, or creating meaningful relationships.
Just keep in mind that creating healthy habits and an equally healthy mindset about these things is the key to being the most productive you can ever be!