Very productive people do it all the time. It actually has less to do with what you do as much as how you spend your time.
In the book, 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management, Kevin Kruse shares the habits of successful billionaires, athletes, students, and entrepreneurs.
Unlike many productivity and management books, Kruse’s is very human and relatable. Here are 15 things amazingly productive people do differently, according to his research, and how you can be one of them:
1. Focus on Achievement Instead of Time
Spend your energy doing what it takes to reach your goals instead of focusing on how long it takes to get there.
2. Set Priorities Daily
Decide your most important task and spend the better part of your day working on that task or project.
For me, deciding what’s most important is hard because I have the tendency to think everything is. Setting priorities daily helps avoid this type of thinking.
3. Invest Minutes
There are 1,440 minutes in every day. That equates to approximately 525,600 each year. Intentionally invest every minute in something worthwhile.
4. Live By the 80/20 Rule
80% of the effects come from only 20% of the causes. Focus on the 20% to have maximum impact and ignore the rest.
5. Avoid Meetings as Much as Possible
People have a tendency to get comfortable in meetings. If you can help it, don’t hold meetings. If you can’t help it, make them short and make everyone stand up.
For me, meetings are an excuse to delay work. Sometimes, they’re necessary. But when everyone already knows the objectives, meetings can be avoided.
6. Delegate as Much as Possible
Use your unique abilities and skills to do what only you can do best. Hand over everything else to others, so they can use their unique abilities and skills, too.
I used to hate the idea of delegation. I never liked giving responsibilities to other people.
But, doing everything myself was overwhelming and didn’t give room for the people around me to achieve something. The real lesson here is that others can do just as good a job as you can, if not a better one.
7. Have a Steady Morning and Evening Routine
Set your day up for success by sticking to a morning and evening routine. Doing the same things every day surprisingly cuts down on wasted time and energy.
Especially in the morning, it can be difficult to focus on what needs to be done in the day ahead. For me, knowing beforehand what I need to do in the morning helps put everything into perspective.
8. Make it a Point to Be Home in Time for Dinner
There’s always more that can be done. If you set aside time for work, then set aside time for family, friends, and enjoying life outside of work.
9. Intentionally Say No to Most Things
Most times, by saying yes, you’re saying no to other things that are often more important. Be kind but firm in saying no to things that are outside of your line of vision, goals, and aspirations.
10. Don’t Create To-Do Lists
Instead of numerically listing everything you have to do, which can overwhelm you and confuse others, schedule everything on a calendar.
I used to create to-do lists all the time, but I’ve recently stopped and started punching projects or appointments into the calendar on my phone. It makes a world of difference.
11. Use Notebooks to Track Ideas
Ideas can’t be scheduled like to-do lists, but you can keep track of random thoughts by writing them in a notebook.
12. Develop Themes for Each Day
Set certain days of the week for certain tasks. When you group your tasks together, you gain momentum and accomplish more than you would by working on little bits of projects here and there.
13. Limit Email and Social Media Checks
Schedule times to check email and social media. They have the potential to interrupt your workflow on more important tasks.
I check emails and social media once in the morning and twice in the afternoon. I never check either right before bed. (Unless, of course, it’s urgent. Most matters aren’t.)
14. Live in the Now While Creating the Future
Live in the now, yes—but don’t forget about your future. The more you think about your future, the more you can control it when it becomes the present.
15. Handle Things Only Once
Do small tasks—anything that takes 10 minutes or less—immediately. Doing a little work now and a little work later will cause a build-up of things to do later, and overwhelm you to the point where nothing gets done.
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