Valerie Whitfeld in Productivity May 19, 2020 · 3 min read · ~100

Useful Habits of Productive People

There are many things that define success. But what makes a difference is the difference in approach, habits, and consistency. The difference between a productive mindset and an unproductive mindset lies in the nature of the habits that it cultivates (according to essays on leadership). Habits define people might be a cliché, but it holds true even in the face of success. There are a couple of things that such individuals do differently, and this reflects in their success:

Useful Habits of Productive People

1. Focus on minutes

Instead of 24 hours a day, smart people understand that they have 1440 minutes each day. Successful individuals understand the significance of each passing minute. They tend to plan their day by utilizing every single minute. The importance of each minute is the key to their success. While planning out their day, they take into account every minute passed in unproductive tasks like commute, etc. and incorporate even those minutes effectively. It’s this judicious use of their time that truly differentiates them from their lesser productive counterparts. They make the most of the time given to them and plan out every activity down to every single detail.

2. When to say “yes”

Smart people understand the gravity of their time. This plays a massive role in their decision-making. Successful individuals would never spend time on activities outside their goal areas. The art of saying “no” is deeply ingrained in a productive mindset. Such people know how to prioritize tasks and how to tactfully decline other tasks that demand their time and attention. Every “yes” is a “no” to something, and productive people know how to say “no” effectively. They understand that not every task is equally important and requires the same attention span. Hence, rich people define chances in terms of their goals and know how to politely decline what they deem to be unproductive.

3. Delegate

Productive people understand the importance of time and effort. For productive people, understanding of their own strengths and playing upon them is important. Productive people identify their unique ability, utilize it and outsource everything else. Productive people understand the significance of their own time and only devote it to the decisions that need their acumen. Such people prefer to delegate all the other tasks. Moreover, productive people understand the importance of each decision that they make, and hence, they tend to select the tasks that require their presence for completion. Even when they delegate, productive people prefer the tasks to be completed within the stipulated time frame and don’t condone procrastination.

4. Check mail

Creative individuals don’t let themselves be distracted from the flow of their work with interruptions like emails, social media, etc. Successful men often have dedicated time slots for checking their emails and for communicating with the world. They prefer to devote the rest of their time to other tasks at hand. Limiting the time spent on emails and other Internet distractions help productive people to stay focused. Creative men tend to cut out all activities, or rather limit them that may hamper their attention span. In addition to this, they also like to keep their conversations to the point and expect the same from others who contact them.

5. Consistent morning ritual

Dynamic individuals never undermine the morning time. Successful individuals realize the significance of the early hours and keep their morning rituals consistent. Many smart and entrepreneurial men have a fixed time to wake up and devote their mornings to reading, exercising, completing the most difficult task, and in general, fueling up for the day. They realize that willpower and creativity are at their peak during the early hours of the morning. As a result, productive people refrain from wasting these early hours of the morning and instead plan them effectively. Productive men prioritize their morning hours and keep this routine consistent throughout the year.

6. Follow 80/20 rule

Productive people abide by the 80/20 rule. Productive people understand that 80% of the outcome comes from only 20% of the activities. Not every task needs the same attention span or time. Hence, it’s imperative for them to identify those tasks that fall under the category of 20% and perform them with the utmost diligence. Rest all other tasks can either be delegated or be fitted in the schedule during the less productive hours. This is the key to the success of creative people. Smart men know how to get the best out of the limited tasks that they perform and completely prioritize them.

7. Maintain a notebook

Productive people always maintain a notebook to take down whatever crosses their minds. Productive people have a tendency to shift their to-do lists to the calendar. They maintain their notebook to take down notes, remember each and every idea that crossed their minds and put down their thoughts to come back to later. Productive people realize the significance of clarity of thought. It’s this clarity that actually makes them productive. Hence, by keeping a journal of thoughts, productive people enhance their creativity and are able to retain every thought and idea that matters and can essentially work on the same. This also helps them identify and differentiate between priorities and pointless thoughts.

8. Set daily priorities

Productive people do prioritize tasks and it’s not surprising. They beat procrastination with their effective time plan. They plan out their days the night before and effectively understand the tasks at hand and the hours needed to complete each task. Moreover, productive people realize the importance of each hour of the day and tend to prioritize the most difficult tasks for the earlier part of the day. This way they can effectively divide and plan out the entire day and play up to their strengths. In addition to this, if a task takes only 10 minutes to complete, then productive people work on it first and not have to come back to it later. Also, productive people like to finish off their day guilt-free, hence, they always make it home for dinner and know how to prioritize family.