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Simon Egersand 🎈
Simon Egersand 🎈

Posted on • Originally published at

8 Habits of Highly Productive People

There are habits of highly productive people that make them accomplish a lot, every day. Did you ever have one of those days, where you finished everything on your to-do list? Imagine having those days every day. This is what the days for highly productive people look like and here are some of their habits.

Productive People Are Just Like Us

Productive people are not robots. They are like you and me, with the difference that they know where and how to spend their time to get things done. By practicing their habits we can all become more productive. It won’t happen overnight but every little step counts!

Habits of Highly Productive People

1. Don’t Multi-Task

At first, this might seem counter-intuitive. But it’s a scientific fact that doing two things at the same time reduces your productivity.

Doing more than one task at a time, especially more than one complex task, takes a toll on productivity.
American Psychological Association

Our brains are bad at context switching, which is exactly what happens when you multi-task. Like with computers, context switching (for threads) is expensive. So if you’re doing something else while reading this article — one thing at a time, please!

2. Take More Brakes

If you spend more time working, you’d expect more results, right? Unfortunately, that’s not how our brains work. We get distracted and lose focus after working for a longer period of time. Research shows that breaks, even as short as 3 minutes long, improve your productivity. And if you add some stretching exercises with your breaks you’ll be even more productive.

These results provide evidence that frequent short breaks from continuous computer-mediated work can benefit worker productivity and well-being […]
HENNING et al., 2001

3. Focus on the Most Important Tasks First

Start your day by taking a few minutes to make a to-do list with all the tasks you want to finish. Then rank them, and start working on the most important one. By doing this, you reduce the risk of procrastination. Because it’s easy to spend the day doing the easy tasks that are less important. Instead, you should spend your time on the most impactful tasks you have.

4. Apply the 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto Principle), says that only 20% of what you do each day produces 80% of your results. With this in mind, highly productive people identify 20% of their most impactful work for the day. The 80% that’s left they try to cut from their schedules to find more tasks that will have more impact. And this is what you should do too! Do it tomorrow and you’ll notice the difference.

5. Do The Challenging Tasks Before Lunch

We all know the feeling of coming back from lunch and sitting down, trying to get back into the zone. It’s difficult because our bodies are busy! It’s spending energy ingesting and processing the food we consumed. This is why you should do your most challenging tasks before lunch. Repetitive tasks or meetings you can save for after lunch. By maintaining a schedule like this you’ll definitely be more productive.

6. Automate The Repetitive Work

Performing repetitive work not only kills your motivation but also hinders your productivity. If you find yourself in this position try to think of ways of automating this task. This can be simple things such as:

  • Learn keyboard shortcuts
  • Compose a list of steps for common tasks (what is also known as an algorithm)
  • If you have programming knowledge, write a programming script for a common task

7. Get a Good Day’s Start

Studies have shown that morning is the best time of day for creative thinking. To give yourself the best chance for creative thinking you need a good morning ritual. A healthy breakfast, meditation, reading, and exercise are activities that sharpen your brain.

Especially in these times of remote work (see here to read about 4 Lessons Learned Working Remotely for +2 Years), it’s easy to neglect the importance of a good morning ritual. To be highly productive you need to get a good day’s start.

8. Identify and Reduce Distractions

If you’re like me, you’re getting distracted throughout the day by e-mails and push notifications. If you want to be productive you need to identify and reduce these types of distractions. This you can do from your phone or application settings. Ask yourself, do you need a sound notification when you receive an e-mail? Getting into the zone takes time but you can easily get brought back out of it by a single sound notification. Value your productivity higher!


To summarise:

  • Don’t Multi-Task
  • Take More Breaks
  • Focus on the Most Important Tasks First
  • Apply the 80/20 Rules
  • Do The Challenging Tasks Before Lunch
  • Automate The Repetitive Work
  • Get a Good Day’s Start
  • Identify and Reduce Distractions

You too can become a highly productive person! It’s not magic or unhealthy, it’s a mindset and requires dedication. Personally, I’m not a highly productive person but I’m working on it every day. While it’s hard sometimes I remind myself it’s for the best.

Connect with me on Twitter @prplcode

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