Learn the habits of the most productive people.

Posted by media on September 17, 2015 at 9:00 AM

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We all admire the manager, boss or colleague that always meets his/her objectives, does a good job and doesn´t need to work overtime. Their secret is probably not their higher intelligence, but the way they work. And although in some cultures finishing the job on time may be (wrongly) seen as working less, the truth is that hard work does not mean working more hours, but working better.

And working better means being more productive and to get the most out of each hour in the office. In this post we have selected 7 habits of the most productive people that we all can adopt to work better:

This post is also available in Spanish.


1. Prioritize

The most productive people never use the excuse of not having time to justify why they have not done a certain task. Put simply, it was not on their list of priorities list. Knowing how to prioritize is essential to work better. Highly productive people establish between 3 and 5 priorities a day and assign the necessary time (realistically) to carry them out. Having more than 5 priorities is often an unattainable goal that leads to stress and frustration.

Do you know the 80/20 rule? It means that you can achieve 80% of results with 20% of your work. The key is to detect what tasks are that 20% and give them priority over other tasks.


2. Say “no”

Many people have an aversion to say “no”, which leads them to work overtime. This type of work life leads to stress, meaning they achieve mostly only mediocre results. Learning to say "no" is important to not include other people's priorities on your own list. If you know your priorities and how long you will need to complete them, this habit will be easy to adopt.


3. Plan before taking action

How many times have you arrived to the office on Monday and have started to complete tasks in no particular order? If you want to be more productive, it is much better if you plan your week before starting to run. Dedicate at least 30 minutes a day to think about your tasks: which ones are more creative, which ones will require greater intellectual effort and which ones are more mechanical or trivial. Furthermore, it is advisable to classify tasks based on Eisenhower's matrix:

 

Urgent

Not Urgent

Important

Do it now!

Last minute projects
Contingency / Crisis
Major errors

Plan

Planning and Strategy
Preventive tasks
Identify new opportunities

Not important

Delegate what you can

Unnecessary meetings
Some emails / calls
Some reports

Do not spend one minute on:

Trivial matters

Uncontrolled time in social networks
Matters unrelated to work

 

Urgent

Not Urgent

Important

Do it now!

Last minute projects
Contingency / Crisis
Major errors

Plan

Planning and Strategy
Preventive tasks
Identify new opportunities

Not important

Delegate what you can

Unnecessary meetings
Some emails / calls
Some reports

Do not spend one minute on:

Trivial matters

Uncontrolled time in social networks
Matters unrelated to work



4. Visualize the result

With each action, what do you want to achieve? This is the question that the most productive people ask themselves before starting to work on any task. Previewing the results you want to achieve helps you to know what steps are necessary, to establish what resources you will need, in terms of time, materials and/or equipment, and to know when to stop. Maybe in some cases you don't need a perfect document or report, but only a draft or an initial approach to the case. Are you investing the minimum resources required, or maybe you're already wasting time with a document that is not the final one?


5. Focus on what's important

One of the most important habits of those who are truly productive is that they concentrate on each task without allowing interruptions during the time set aside to work on it. To achieve this, you must assign a reasonable amount of time to each task and specify to your team and colleagues that you will not be available during that time. While you are focused, also prevent interruptions by phone (forward calls if necessary) and do not let emails distract you. Getting concentrated requires constant effort and daily practice, but it certainly helps a lot to hold off distractions.


6. Minimize minor decisions

There are a number of daily decisions that absorb more time than they should, like what clothes to wear, what to eat, or whether to go to the gym. The most productive people organize their closet, plan a healthy and balanced weekly menu and establish a monthly exercise routine. This way, they are minimizing the time spent on these kind of decisions. In a way, they automate decisions and therefore have much more control over their time, without having to give up to a healthy lifestyle.


7. Know the value of your time

"Time is money" is a maxim that underlies all the actions of the most productive people. We all value our time, but those who are most productive are truly consistent with this saying. Keep that in mind helps them maintain their productivity habits: prioritize, say no, plan, visualize, concentrate and reduce the time spent on trivialities to work hard, work better and make the most of their time out of the office.

This post is also available in Spanish.


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Topics: Human Resources

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