18 Habits of Highly Productive People:
- They Make Lists
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the requirements of a dream-like project. Creating a daily list of things that need to be accomplished keeps successful people honest, motivated, and constantly progressing. Start by little, and continue to build bit by bit. (Trick: do this first thing in the morning. Make a brief list of all the things you need to accomplish to make the day a victory.)
- They Maximize Down Time
There’s always something to learn, or things that need to get done. Successful people embrace this. Having a time period surplus is a good indicator that your challenge is either too small or you’re not thinking big enough. (Trick: concentrate on segregating your spare time – i.e. one hour video editing practice, half hour reading video editing book, half hour watching beautifully edited films of others, repeat.)
- They Reflect on Mistakes & Grow
Carol Dweck concentrates on the fixed vs. growth oriented pathways of the brain in her New York Times best selling book Mindsets. When faced with a challenge, overcoming fear, or coming back from a “failure,” successful people are focused on development more than they fixate on the outcome of failure. (Trick: when feeling down, reflect by writing 3 things that went wrong in the process and how you plan to fix them next time.)
- They Limit Technological Distractions
We live in a world that is constantly stimulated by electronic communication. Text messaging, the virtual worlds of social media, and mobile email capability can become serious time drains if not handled properly. (Trick: limit yourself to checking your social media accounts and emails once a day to limit distractions. There’s an app to keep you honest with that.)
- They Forget About Perfection
Eric Thomas sums it impeccably with his statement, “There will never be the perfect time to do a great thing.” Successful individuals understand this, and don’t use their perfectionism substitute for procrastination. No matter how inexperienced, uneducated, or unprepared you might feel, right now is the best time to jump into action. (Trick: think of an endeavor you undertook and performed perfectly. No mistakes at all. Difficult? That’s what I thought.)
- They Collect Their Thoughts Immediately
For many successful people, their best ideas, or what psychologists call ah-ha ‘moments,’ come at awkward times like during exercise or their daily commute. Collecting those thoughts will allow you to reflect on them later. (Trick: keep a pocket-sized journal in your backpack or purse for note taking. There are apps for this, too.)
- They Do Nice Things, But Don’t Tell Everyone
One of the many problems mass media has created is the idea that successful people always perform in front of others. As a society we often discredit the amount of hard work, practice, and sleepless nights these phenomes spent alone with their craft, with no one around. (Trick: do something small each day for a whole week to progress your dream. Don’t tell anyone about it.)
- They Remind Themselves of Death
We have a limited amount of time on earth, and there’s no sense in hiding from how fast time goes by. Successful people understand this, and use it as an advantage in letting no day go by wasted or squandered. (Trick: Envision an older version of yourself watching you throughout the day, and do today what you’d regret later in life. Creepy? Yes. Effective? Yes.)
- They Define Success Themselves
Success is a large word thrown around by many small mouths. It’s a shame and, honestly, it’s a sham. A large bank account, sexy spouse, or lavish wardrobes do not define success in business, life, love, and other. YOU do. (Trick: look at people you idolize. Write down what you like about them. Chances are good that the adjectives and emotions you used are some of their proudest features.)
- They Outwork Everyone
Someone once told me that, “There will always be someone stronger, faster, smarter, and more capable than you, but you’ll never be outworked.” Though some may view this as counterproductive, I’ve never had such sage and practical advice in my life. (Trick: pretend adversity. I guarantee you’ll want to prove everyone wrong as a result, even if they’re made up.)
- They Don’t Envy Others
Successful people don’t have time to worry about the successes or failures of others because they’re too focused on what they want to achieve. Erase envy, and other negative emotions, as you’ll surely free your mind for bigger things. (Trick: talk up and freely promote others you admire, even if they don’t return the favor.)
- They Heed Danger in Lounging
I’m not here to demonize TV, but studies have shown that success and television viewing have a negative correlation (when success goes up, television watching goes down). In fact, Craig Dewie did a brilliant piece on this some time ago. We only have so much free time in the day, and successful people spend it educating themselves by feeding their brain instead of numbing it.
- They Believe That Fate Is Fake
Destiny and luck is a product of hard work and sacrifice. Successful athletes, CEOs, and film stars don’t “take days off.” They’re consistently dedicated to bettering each aspect of their life daily. (Trick: don’t overload yourself at once. Take small bites, 7 days a week, and build up.)
- They Are The Man in the Glass
Successful people know what they want, and visualize how their strengths and weaknesses will play to their favor or downfall. Sure, everyone’s filled with doubt and fear that they’ll fail, but successful people know exactly what it takes to rise above others as a result of spending so much time alone. At the end of the day, they are the only person they answer to. (Trick: Be by yourself. No phone. No friends. No roommates. You. Alone. BY YOURSELF.)
- They Embrace Criticism
Nobody likes being criticized, but they normally come from the cheap seats. Instead of getting defensive and immediately dismissing the negative opinions of others, successful people listen, heed those words, and use them to grow. (Trick: next time you’re confronted with negativity, agree and thank them for it. It will completely disarm your hater.)
- They Always Finish Strong
No one, I repeat, NO ONE is an off-the-bat success. From Muhammad Ali to Bill Gates, all successes have taken their bruises and lumps, and they kept on going. No matter what happens, or whatever the end result may be, seeing something through to the end will help you develop the resolve to continue taking chances, growing, and making yourself better.
- They weed out non-important tasks
“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” – Jessica Jackley.
Learning to recognize non-important tasks is a crucial skill for an effective worker. If your day contains pointless bits of administration and bureaucracy, weed them out. Do you really need that 30 minute catch-up meeting? Cancel it, or reduce it to a 10 minute standing chat. It’s amazing how often we commit to time-wasting activities simply out of habit. Don’t be afraid to break the mold.
- They set clearly defined goals
One of the most common habits of productive people is to set a goal. If you don’t set goals you’ll fall into the trap of being ‘busy’ for the sake of it, without making meaningful progress. Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based) for your business, and display them somewhere visible. Keep your eye on the prize – every step you take should build towards these objectives.
Next time you’re in the situation of becoming your own worst critic, remember that,
“The road to personal excellence has no end.”
Trust in yourself, keep your head down, and keep moving forward no matter what.