They do not multitask.
Anyone who says they can multitask, does so poorly. Everyone THINKS they can multitask but it ends up resulting in both tasks being done sub-optimally. Want to get the best out of yourself? Focus on one task at a time. Give that task your full, undivided attention. Not only will your task get done optimally, your brain is also working efficiently. No one does as well when they switch on and off between tasks. Each task asks something different from the brain. It’s like trying to drive to the store while putting your car in forward and reverse over and over until you finally make it there. Yeah sure you’ll get there, but we’d all agree it isn’t the best way to drive to the store.
It can be easy to get off track during the day. Meaning to clean the dishes, you forget because you got a phone call from someone. Or you go out for the day on a whim and come home to a sink full of stinky dishes. Prioritising your day doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. It means getting the tasks done that need to be done first. Did you know that most tasks that people avoid often only take a few minutes, yet they procrastinate them for weeks? Why? Lack of direction and motivation. Productive people prioritise their day so that they can enjoy the down time they have. Not spend the down time ruminating about a task that needs to be done.
They set boundaries.
Along with prioritising their day, productive people have a habit of setting firm boundaries to achieve their goals. Setting boundaries isn’t about shying away from loved ones or punishing them for wanting to be part of your life. It’s about being able to get things done that are important to you so that you can be there and present with those loved ones. We’ve all seen either in movies or even in our daily lives, people who cannot disconnect. They neglect their families and their own interests. Setting boundaries to allow yourself to get the work done, allows that extra, stress-free, time with those people.
“I love you but I need some space to work.”
They set deadlines for themselves. (and stick to them!)
How many times have you set a deadline for yourself only to have it come and go without you achieving it? How did that feel? Were you disappointed in yourself? I bet you were. What did you DO with that disappointment? On a podcast, Gary Vee talked once about how when he sets a deadline, he also sets a punishment for not meeting that deadline. For instance, if he didn’t get a project done on time, he’d burn a $50 bill every hour until the task was completed. What did this do? Created a sense of urgency and commitment to the completion of the task. Set deadlines and achieve them. Reward yourself for that achievement. Miss a deadline? Connect a punishment for letting yourself down. Follow through.
They review what worked.
In every task, there will be things that went smoothly, as well as missteps. Knowing WHAT worked and WHY it worked well is the foundation of creating a routine around that task. Did you enjoy the task and so you were able to completely focus when doing it? GOOD! Do more of that! Was it good communication between team members that helped solve a big issue the team was having? Reinforce that communication by letting the team know how their contribution effected the success of the project. Know what you’re good at.
They recognise what went wrong.
Besides knowing what’s going well, knowing your weaknesses is just as powerful. Being open minded to the idea that you were not perfect in your thinking or execution means the ability to better optimise your work habits to find better balance. This is one of the harder habits of highly productive people, they examine their failures as much as their strengths.
They are always learning.
Evaluating your performance is a key habit of highly productive people. But, just as important, is their desire to always learn. As we grow, leave school, and get on with our day to day life, it’s easy to fall into the trap that you don’t need to keep learning like you did in school. Nothing could be further from the truth. Highly productive people have an ingrained habit of seeking knowledge, for knowledge’s sake. We all up skill as required for our jobs, but this goes further than that. Bill Gates carries around 37 books with him at any given time and will finish them in a working week! When you schedule your time productively, there is time to learn something new every day.