Ever wondered how to get more done in less time?
You’re not alone. That’s why we decided to put together this guide with 8 surprising productive work habits.
Want to learn how to be productive? Read on.
1. Why you might get productivity wrong
Most productivity articles talk about tracking time.
You know, you need to get things done in a short amount of time.
And sure, if you optimize the time you spend, you end up getting a lot of things done.
But here’s the thing:
This won’t help you much unless you work on the right things.
Otherwise, you end up wasting time on low-value tasks… And it won’t matter that you get those tasks done faster than you normally would.
That’s why you need to prioritize before you optimize your productivity.
How DO you choose what to prioritize?
Good question. Here’s how:
If you need to choose which tasks to prioritize, there’s a system that beats all other prioritization systems.
Here’s how to use it:
Look at your task lists.
Which tasks are the most important AND the most urgent?
You have a task that needs to get done ASAP, so it’s urgent.
And this task is a part of a project that determines if your company gets a new order from a client.
The task is both important AND urgent.
In other words:
It’s a task you should prioritize.
Want to determine what goals to work on?
Then, do this.
List all your goals.
Now, cross off everything except three goals.
These are your priority goals.
And those are the goals you should work on right now.
Speaking of goals… How do you achieve them?
2. Here’s how to finally achieve your goals
Now you know WHAT to focus on.
But to achieve them, you need to be strategic.
You see, you’ll easily become overwhelmed if you have these big goals you try to achieve…
So things like a promotion, a big work project, or finding a job you love.
That’s why you need to break down your goals.
This is what top performers, like athletes, do to become as good as they are.
Set “subgoals” for months, weeks, days, hours and even minutes.
List your most important tasks for a day.
Treat these tasks as subgoals.
So, let’s say you need to create a presentation.
THAT’s a subgoal.
By executing it well, it’ll eventually help you advance in your career (or, say, improve your presentation skills).
When you’re clear on your subgoals, look at your day in 15-minute chunks of time.
Now, schedule your tasks so that you fill every 15-minute chunk (reserve some chunks for breaks).
And that’s how you achieve your goals.
Restrict your working hours.
3. Want to get things done? Give yourself less time to work
If you want to get things done, this is the one thing you need to do.
Give yourself tight deadlines.
So, let’s say you sit down to create your presentation.
If this task would normally take you four hours, you might opt to set your deadline at three hours.
So that you make the most of the time you work.
After all, we fill the time we have. So if you have four hours, you might not do your research as effectively as you could.
And you might just be surprised how effective you can be.
This doesn’t mean your deadlines should be impossible to achieve.
In that case, you’ll quickly feel unmotivated.
But instead, challenge yourself.
Ultimately, that’s how you get things done.
4. Avoid unnecessary and time-wasting meetings
As a meeting app, we’re all about helping you run productive meetings.
And sometimes (in fact, pretty often), that means fewer meetings.
Meetings take up a ton of your time.
And that’s especially true if they don’t have a goal or if they’re not organized in the best way.
Now, how do you determine if a meeting is unnecessary?
“Does this meeting have a purpose?”
“Is there a better and more efficient way to communicate this to others?”
“Do I have an agenda and will I follow up on meeting decisions?”
That’s how you determine if a meeting is necessary.
Want to learn more?
In this post, we talk more about reasons to hold a meeting.
Now, over to one thing you MUST do if you want to be productive.
5. Master this skill and you’ll be 10X more productive
Here’s the deal:
If you want to be productive, there’s one skill you need to master.
What is it?
Learn to make decisions.
It’s way too easy to get stuck in options and decisions.
So, you keep procrastinating and wasting time.
How DO you become more decisive?
“Is this a reversible decision? Or is it irreversible?”
What will the decision lead to? What’s the worst-case scenario?
For reversible decisions, you don’t need much information and you can make your decisions fast.
In that case, go over the pros and cons of a decision.
If the pros outweigh the cons, your decision is instantly easier to make.
If a decision is irreversible, you might need more information.
Take your time to evaluate it. But once you do, don’t look back.
Your decision is made, so avoid flip-flopping on it.
But that’s not all.
You also need to trust your gut.
That hunch you feel in your gut is based on past decisions and emotions.
So, you often intuitively know what the right decision is.
6. Learn to say no… And you’ll instantly have more hours in the day
If there’s one “silver bullet” productive people have, it’s this:
They say no.
You see, it’s too easy to become a “yes” person.
After all, you want to be helpful.
But if you give away your time too easily, you’ll end up stressed and overwhelmed.
So learn to say no.
#1: Make it easy to say no
If you hate saying no to people’s faces, ask them to follow up by text or email.
That way, you can plan how you respond.
#2: Explain (or don’t)
If you want, you can give a brief explanation. “I’m busy today” is perfectly fine.
But, you don’t need to explain your decision.
In fact… It’s advisable that you don’t do it if it opens up some room for the other person to change their request.
#3: Give alternatives
You want to be helpful, right?
Here’s what you need to do when you say no:
Offer an alternative.
Send a resource or a helpful link to the person asking for your help. Or maybe offer to introduce them to someone who might be able to help.
Whatever it is, the idea is that you help them out in some small way… Even when you’re saying no.
Sounds good, right?
7. Want to stop procrastinating? Sleep and eat right
Are you absolutely serious about developing productive work habits?
Then, you can’t miss out on these two things.
If you want your brain and body to work optimally, you need to sleep and eat right.
What does this mean?
You need about 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
And that means quality sleep.
Sleep in a dark room, limit your screen-time before going to sleep and don’t drink coffee after 2 PM.
The food you eat has a HUGE impact on your productivity.
Drinking enough water is one of the most important “productivity hacks” out there.
And apart from that, eat regularly and don’t over-consume things like sugar.
Do these things and you’ll soon see your productivity soar.
8. Keep up your motivation with this simple trick
How do you make sure you don’t end up losing your motivation along the way?
After all, if you’re unmotivated, it’s difficult to stay productive.
Don’t just reward yourself for achieving those big goals.
Nope. Instead, do this:
Set targets that you know you’ll meet.
Making a call or sending out emails.
After you’re done, give yourself a small reward.
Yup, sometimes you can go for chocolate. But in the long run, you want to find sustainable rewards.
So, maybe it’s taking a break, napping, or doing some stretches.
The thing is:
This way, you train your brain to look forward to these rewards… And it instantly becomes so much easier to complete your tasks.
In the end:
That’s how you keep up your productive work habits.
Over to you!
So, there you have it. Those are our 8 best productive work habits.
Now you know how to be extremely productive.
Just one more thing left to do.
Implement these strategies to improve your own productivity.
And let me know in the comments below:
What’s the #1 thing you’ll do today to always stay productive?
Share your thoughts by writing a quick comment.