“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” ––Paul J. Meyer
Have you ever aspired to finish a task at sky-rocketing speeds? You tune out the babblings and rantings of your boisterous colleagues, you keep your eyes riveted to the screen, determined to challenge a stringent deadline. Suddenly, the pinge of your smart phone heralds a notification. Your tenuous grip on concentration slowly crumbles, and you find yourself imagining if perhaps your friend has commented on that preposterous meme you had tagged them in, or perhaps your significant other has messaged you on WhatsApp. Your resolution melts ever so slightly, you pick up your phone, and you know how the rest of the story goes!
Everybody wants to be productive but with so many distractions bidding for our attention, sometimes it becomes extremely difficult to maintain focus, let alone being productive. In today’s competitive business environment, you cannot survive and thrive without being productive. How can you be more prolific with a host of diversions tugging at your mind? Even the most productive individuals face these problems, but how do they overcome it? In this article, you will learn about seven things successful people do every day to stay on top of their game.
1. They Follow the Unicorn Principle
You might be familiar with the ubiquitous 80/20 rule, also known as a Pareto principle. It says that 20% of your efforts will yield 80% of results. The unicorn principle takes things to a whole new level. According to the Unicorn principle, “2% of your efforts will yield 98% of results.” No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you!
Take online marketing as an example. How much of your content actually goes viral or performs exceptionally well. It will not be more than 5%. The same holds true for ads and other promotional material. This is what we call unicorns, works that deliver 98% of results. The remaining 95%-98% are run of the mill stuff that make a negligible contribution. Leverage 2%-5% of your work and improve the remaining 95-98%.
2. They Manage Emails Efficiently
Emails can be a pain in the neck and can have a negative impact on your productivity, if not handled properly. Before you disregard this seemingly innocuous statement as an ill-fated myth, we have studies that back that claim. According to statistics, annual productivity cost of useless emails can reach up to a whopping $1800 per employee. More importantly, it takes 16 minutes for an employee to refocus after handling incoming emails. Most productive people are fully aware of it, which is why they check their emails only a couple of times during the work day, and organize and streamline their email folders to cut down the time spent on managing emails. They resist the temptation to check up on their email inbox every time a pinge sounds, which is how they manage to stay so efficient throughout the day.
3. They Maximize Their Productive Hours
“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” ~ H. Jackson Brown
No one can stay proactive throughout the day, not even the most productive amongst us. They make the most of their work hours and compensate for their lost time in that period. If you want to be productive, you should identify your uptimes and your downtimes before anything else. Try to complete more perplexing jobs when you are high and happy on caffeine, and leave simple ones for when you are down in the dumps.
4. They Avoid Meetings
If you see the list of the biggest productivity killers at work, redundant meetings are sure to top it. Akin to emails that accomplish nothing more than wreaking havoc on your focus, useless meetings can eat up your productive hours and create roadblocks on your path to productivity. More importantly, such meetings cost your organziation an arm and a leg without you even realizing it.
According to statistics, useless meetings cost businesses $37 billion dollars annually. Yes, you read that right; $37 billion! Most successful people are fully aware of it, which is why they only attend meetings that have an agenda, and so should you. Although, we cannot evade meetings forever, we can conduct fruitful meetings by following good meeting practices. Keep your meetings short and focused around the agenda. Reproach your employees against using gadgets inside the meeting room. This ensures that all the meeting participants provide their valuable inputs instead of tapping away on their smartphones during the conference.
5. They Surround Themselves with the Right People
Is a raucous co-worker bothering you? Are they always in your ears and distracting you from your tasks? We all face similar circumstances but what matters is what we choose to do about it. If you want to be more productive, you will have to surround yourself with the right people. John Rohn summed it up brilliantly when he said, “You are the average of five people you spend the most time with.” Negative people are not only perilous for your productivity, but also the overall productivity of your team. Successful people recognize this unfortunate fact and take measures to repel off such people.
6. They Use Productivity Apps to Automate Repeated Tasks
Let’s take a minute to scrutinize our days. What tasks do you perform throughout your day? Are there any repetitive tasks that you mundanely perform on a day-to-day basis? Chances are, there might be. If this is the case, you should capitalize on a viable productivity management software, in collaboration with a host of top-notch automation tools, to automate those repetitive tasks. This takes redundant tasks off your hands, leaving you free to nurture your creativity and uniqueness. In addition, by alleviating your burdens and letting you maintain your focus on the most important tasks at hand, such solutions impart a massive impact on your overall results (Remember the unicorn principle).
7. They Keep Distractions Away
Whether you are browsing the web to no end, spending hours on social media, or chatting with your co-workers, it will hamper your progress and make your productivity plummet down to the ground. Remember, distraction is anything that puts you off your goals. Your ability to keep distractions at bay and maintain your focus at work is the most valuable asset of productive people. Do not while away your time on useless activities and thwart these distractions from coming in the way of your productivity targets.
Which of these habits synonymous with productive people do you practice? Which ones do you want to adopt in future? Feel free to share your answers with us in the comments section below.