According to Fast Company, super-productive people who manage to get more done than the rest of us with these secrets.
1. Focus On What Matters
People who are highly productive have established clear goals and a vision for what they want to achieve long term. They focus on what matters and realize that 80% of what you do doesn’t matter. Instead, they focus on the 20% that does and apply their efforts there.
Extremely productive people know that important and urgent are two different things—many things are urgent, and that’s usually determined by someone who expects an immediate answer. If you get sidetracked by unimportant urgent issues, you spend your time fighting needless fires instead of getting done what matters.
To stay on track, be meticulous about planning to-do items around appointments and then setting goals for what you want to get out of each appointment to ensure those meetings are worthwhile.
You don’t have to have a pristine desktop or 27 organization apps, but you do have to have a system that lets you find the information and files you need when you need them. Keep files where you can easily access them and ongoing add relevant items to each file.
When you make the more mundane aspects of life routine, you free up brain power and time. Wake at the same time and have simple morning routines. Lay out your clothes the night before. It may sound boring, but think about how much time is wasted wondering what to wear or have for breakfast. Reclaim those valuable resources by making them a routine.
Those 10 minutes before your next meeting or the two hours your flight is delayed can be great news for your productivity. When you keep a list of things that need to be done, you can quickly scan it and pick out the actions you can take in the time you have. Answer a few email messages or return a call in the few minutes before your next meeting, or start the research for your next project while you wait for your plane.
Meetings are a necessary evil and can aid productivity when they’re used wisely. But poorly planned meetings waste precious time. Effective meetings must have five components:
- Make sure the right and necessary people are in the room.
- Make sure roles are clearly defined.
- State the meeting purpose upfront (e.g., brainstorming, decision making, etc.)
- Set objectives for the meeting.
- Define next steps and action items before the meeting ends.
Sometimes you have to "eat the frog”.. Overcoming procrastination—at least most of the time—is essential for high performance.
At the heart of procrastination, you’ll often find one of its root causes: perfectionism. Let that go. It’s not attainable and will just lead to dread when it’s time to start big or challenging projects. Your desk doesn't need to look perfect all the time if you don't want it to, and your proposal doesn't need 10 drafts.
Sometimes you get lost on the way to the meeting. Sometimes a meeting runs long. Sometimes you just need some time to think. Highly productive people leave room for all of these things. When you’re too tightly scheduled, you can end up undermining your productivity, because if one thing goes wrong, your schedule could be disrupted for the rest of the day. Give yourself time, which you can always find a way to spend wisely.
Multitasking is essential for productive people, but you have to choose the activities to pair. You wouldn’t write a paper while driving a car, but you might check your email or write a note while you’re on a call. The tasks should be complementary in the sense that usually, one task is much more important than the other, and the other one can be done with a limited amount of energy and diversion.
Think high performers are the "quitters never win" types? Wrong. Winners quit all the time—they’re just more thoughtful about it. Strategic quitting means ditching the things that you shouldn’t or don’t want to be doing because they aren’t worth your time, or delegating those things that can be done more cost effectively or efficiently by someone else. And that does more than free up time - that energy is then focused on new things that really matter.