Everyone is constantly striving to be more productive. Cultivating the habits of highly productive people can help you maximise your productivity and achieve great things in life.

So, what makes someone productive? What are the habits of productive people? Learning from your mistakes and visualising success are two key habits that can help you become more productive in the short and long-term.

Here are seven everyday habits of highly productive people. Developing these habits into your daily life can help you reach extreme productivity levels.

1. Use the 80/20 Rule

80/20 rule

The 80/20 rule (also known as The Pareto principle) is an important concept for time-management.

It was first used by the economist Vilfredo Pareto in 1906, who observed that 80% of Italy’s land was owned by 20% of the population.

Today, the 80/20 rule suggests that 20% of your activities will account for 80% of your results. It can be useful for reaching goals or getting through your to-do lists.

If you have a list of ten things to do, you should focus on the most important tasks that will help you grow and add value to your life.

Eat the Frog

The frog is the one thing on your to-do list that you have no motivation to do and highly likely to procrastinate over.

Eating the frog first thing will make you more productive. Once that task is done, you’ll get a sense of achievement and the rest of your day may be easier.


2. Learn From Mistakes

“Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up.” – Rocky Balboa

Some people beat themselves up and dwell on their mistakes. But failure can be a critical step on the road to success. If you don’t fail, you don’t learn.

Richard Branson is just one example in a long list of successful entrepreneurs who have overcome failure. Remember Virgin Cola?

Any one of Branson’s failures could have derailed his entire career if he’d allowed it to.

People who learn from their mistakes and try to prevent themselves from making the same mistake in the future, perform better at work.

5 Steps to Learn from your Mistakes

  1. The first and most critical step is recognising when you have made a mistake.
  2. Determine the specific action that was a mistake.
  3. Evaluate your strategy, plans and execution, and determine what happened to prevent you from realising your goal.
  4. Listen to others.
  5. Finally, apply what you have learned and try a new approach.


3. Use Visualisation

Visualisation is the process of creating a mental image of what you want to happen.

If you want to be successful, visualise it.

It was popularised by Soviet athletes in the 1970s and is widely used today by top sports people including Michael Phelps.

An athlete can use visualisation to anticipate an outcome of a race or get themselves into a relaxed feeling of calm and well-being.

If you’re not an athlete, visualisation can be a great aid for getting you closer to where you want to be and help to prepare you for success.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a best-selling self-improvement book first published in 1989.

It’s based on Covey’s belief that the way we see the world is entirely based on our own perceptions – to change a situation, we must change ourselves.

  1. Be proactive. Being proactive is the key to unlocking the other habits.
  2. Begin with the end in mind. This will act as a road-map and guide the decision-making process.
  3. Put first things first. This helps you to prioritise and manage your time.
  4. Think win-win. Foster the belief it is possible to create an atmosphere of win-win in every situation.
  5. Seek first to understand then to be understood. This enforces the importance of active listening.
  6. Synergise. Synergy allows you to value differences and better appreciate others.
  7. Sharpen the saw. This means regularly renewing and strengthening the four key dimensions of life – body, brain, heart and soul.


4. Take Time Off

Vacation time

Vacation time is an important part of a good work-life balance and can benefit both the employee and the employer.

Taking a break away from the office helps us to reset and recharge the batteries.

According to research, taking vacation time can make you more productive, reduces stress and improve your health.

Time away from the office can also spark creativity. The popular photo-sharing app, Instagram, and the musical Hamilton, both stemmed from ideas whilst on holiday.


5. Write Things Down

Make notes

We all love technology but sometimes it’s nice to switch off.

Try losing your laptop once in a while and writing stuff down using pen and paper. You just might find your productivity improves as a result.

A study in 2014 showed that writing things down on paper can boost memory power and improve your ability to understand concepts.


6. Avoid Distractions

Project management software

Productive people can disconnect from unnecessary technology and focus on the task at hand. The ability to stay focused can be a critical factor to getting things done.

Smartphones and social media can be wonderful at times but they’re also a major distraction. To get into focus mode, consider putting your phone in another room.

A study by the University of Texas showed that people who do this while working on a task were significantly more productive than people who had their phones sitting next to them on their desk.

Related: How to Focus and Get More Done


7. Stop Striving for Perfection!

The final habit of productive people is one that is really prevalent in today’s society with the pressure of social media.

To improve your well-being, stop striving for perfection and comparing yourself to others.

The quest for perfection is one of the fastest routes to unhappiness.

If you constantly feel like you’re not good enough, it can affect your confidence and well-being. Care less about what other people think and you’ll feel more content.

So, instead of striving for perfection, simply strive to be your best!

Final Thoughts

Another habit of highly productive people is using software that makes things easier.

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