Everyone is given the same twenty-four hours a day. However, there are some among us who can achieve the seemingly impossible and extract twice or thrice as much productivity from the same number of hours.
Countless studies have been dedicated to decoding the mysterious habits of the ultra-productive. What are their secrets? What makes them tick? What separates them from the billions of John Does all over the world?
While some of these people are freakishly intelligent–the Elon Musks and Einsteins of the world–most of them are regular people like you and I, albeit with much better habits and work ethic. Staying productive, therefore, is a matter of prioritizing and streamlining your work habits and workday.
Remember the Under Armor ad: “You Are The Sum Of Your Training”? In the same way, you are the sum of your work habits.
Want to be more productive? Here are some of the common practices and habits successful people share:
1. Early to sleep, early to rise
How do productive people get more hours out of each day? Simple: they’re up before everyone else.
According to Harvard Business Review, early risers are far more productive than their nocturnal counterparts. In the early morning, there are far less distractions and a lot less noise, which means you can focus 100% on your work.
Not a morning person? Doesn’t matter. You can change your body clock by getting to bed earlier. All it takes is a little discipline and some initial discomfort.
How did people like Peter Loftin build multimillion dollar businesses? A lot of it has to do with discipline and self-control.
Identify productivity-killers and correct them. Are you watching too much TV? Going out more than you should? Distracted by social media? Whatever it is, it needs to go. That is, if you want to be productive and successful.
Getting rid of bad habits is no mean feat, but the rewards are well worth it.
3. Delegate tasks
As the old adage goes: “No man is an island”–especially true in work and in business. Successful people like Peter Loftin built their careers by collaborating with and hiring other people.
Instead of scrambling around the office like a headless chicken, settle down and focus on one task at a time. Get others to do the rest. You’ll be surprised; some of them may even do a better job than you.
Multitasking is dangerous. Studies show that only 2% of people can perform multiple tasks successfully; the other 90% (likely including you) takes a 40% hit in productivity.
4. No interruptions
Workplace interruptions can diminish employee productivity by 40-60%, which costs the US economy a massive $588 billion a year.
Successful people stay productive by eliminating office distractions. It could be as simple as posting a Do Not Disturb sign, working away from your desk or, as mentioned in the first point, getting to work before everyone else.
If you’re getting bogged down by favors and requests, kindly turn them down until your work is done. Chances are, a lot of these favors can wait.
Productivity has more to do with your habits than with your IQ. Identify areas where you can improve and adjust accordingly. You’ll be surprised at the difference a small adjustment can make.