We all want to be more productive in the limited time we have every day. However, it’s a lot easier said than done. How can you maximize your productivity when you feel like you’re already giving it all you’ve got? While you can’t add more hours to the day, you can change your approach to the way you do things. I’ve been fortunate enough to come across and work with many highly productive and successful people throughout my career and what I’ve come to notice are similar characteristics that these people have in common. Here are a few:
1. They plan their day ahead of time.
Planning out their day or week ahead of time is essential for productive people. They have a to-do list and they stick to it. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they get everything done, but they try to check off as much as possible. Being productive and being efficient can go hand in hand. The less time you spend trying figure out what you need to do means the more time you have to actually do it.
2. They wake up early.
This may be sad news for night owls. Productive people get up early. Not necessarily at the crack of dawn, but early enough to have time to get into the groove of things. They don’t always spend the extra hours in the morning working. Rather, they do things to prepare themselves for the day — such as eating a healthy breakfast, working out, or reading the news. (Please see our earlier post about morning rituals). Whatever it takes to get them pumped and ready to tackle what’s ahead.
3. They know their priorities.
Being productive doesn’t always mean getting as much done as possible. Those who are most productive know their priorities. They know what’s critical to the big picture and what’s not. Why sweat the small stuff when it’s not going to impact their bottom line?
4. They maximize the time they have.
Many people equate the number of hours you work to how productive you are. The more hours you work, the more productive you are, right? While this can be true, it’s not always the case. Productive people understand that working more doesn’t always mean more results. You can spend hours on something without making an progress. They maximize the time they have to do something, rather than maximizing the scope of the project.
5. They’re smart workers.
Hard work is great, but sometimes blood, sweat and tears is no match for working smarter. This goes to points 3 and 4 above, but managing time and priorities wisely allows you to get more done in less time, more efficiently. It allows you to scale your work, avoid stress, be more productive and deliver results. Check out this post on the importance of working smarter.