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10 Habits of Super Productive People

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Some people always seem to be able to get more done. It’s like they have extra hours in the day. In reality, they just stick to a few guidelines that anyone can follow.

Make a list every morning or the evening before

One way to be productive is to know what you want to achieve on that day. We get many tasks from other people, we have meetings and notifications all the time. Without having a clear set of tasks you want to achieve for yourself on a given day, you may finish the day realizing you just responded to others.

Qualify incoming meetings

Productive people qualify incoming meetings. They ask the organizer for the agenda and try to understand if they are needed, what is their role, and what added value would their opinion have in addition to other participants.

Keep notifications under control

There are many ways to master your notifications, just need to be minded to it. The problem with notifications is that they create a switching cost, you are in the middle of doing something of depth, you get a notification, start responding to it, notice you have more notifications and by the time you are back to your task you already lost your flow.

Use time boxing

Time boxing is a simple technique to limit (box) the amount of time you give to a certain task so it doesn’t chew up your entire day. For me, it’s also a way to make a task that seems gigantic into something small that fits in a box. If you need to chop a tree and it seems too hard. Just commit to 5 minutes of hitting it every day and eventually, it will fall down.

The 2-minute rule

Productive people often program their habits so they don’t have to waste mental energy to take actions that benefit them. The 2-minute rule is a trick that allows you to create a beneficial habit by only committing to doing it 2 minutes a day. Commit to reading a book for 2 minutes a day, exercising for 2 minutes a day, or reviewing that long document for 2 minutes. The thing about the 2-minute rule is that it's much easier to create a habit if you only commit to 2 minutes of doing something. Once the habit is there you can evolve it.

The 5 seconds rule

This is a great way to fight procrastination. When you have the thought of doing something, you count backward 5,4,3,2,1 and then go and do it or at least put in some mechanism that will make you do it in the future like putting it in your calendar. Research shows that if you don’t take action within 5 seconds the chances of taking the action drop dramatically.

Make fewer decisions

Decisions take a mental toll so limiting the number of decisions you make is a good practice. Specifically, this is true for decisions with low impact so successful people often make small decisions into routines.

Use focus time

Some tasks require some deep diving and that doesn’t work when you keep getting distracted. Productive people use focus time for their deep-dive tasks. They clear out meetings and block distractions during these focus times so they can concentrate.

Decisions and action items

Meetings can be a great time drain or a huge leverage depending on how you run them. Productive people start their meetings with a clear agenda and end them with recorded decisions and assigned action items.

Reflect and iterate

Everyone can improve and productive people know that. Reflecting to find more ways to improve and then iterating to become better is a trait of most productive people.

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