We all struggle with being productive each day, but if we could, many of us would do things differently if it meant we got a lot more things done.
There are certain people that manage to stay on track and are always moving toward progress. They have laser sharp focus and don’t get frustrated by the minutiae and meaningless happenings around them.
Here are 7 Habits that I and others I’ve noticed are superb at productivity do that maybe you should consider adopting.
1. Make Lists: Listmaking helps guide your day and reminds you of tasks you have to complete. Lists also are great for keeping yourself on track of deadlines and appointments. If you are a blogger, you can have a short term list of everyday things you need to do, a separate list of things you need to do each week that you turn to periodically during the week and an action items lists of things you have to accomplish that a part of a larger project.
I am a compulsive list-maker and I get joy in crossing off items off my list. By creating a list I am dumping out all the things I have to do on a list, it frees up space in my brain to focus on other things and lessens anxiety about possibly missing something or forgetting a meeting.
Also, when you break down a goal into small bite-sized chunks and list out small manageable task, you are more likely to accomplish them and get closer to your goal.
2. Schedule time for Social Media and/or General goofing off – In this digital era we live in, it gets really easy to get distracted by social media, smartphone app alerts and other distractions throughout the day. If you schedule in a time to goof off, then turn off alerts and uninstall, if possible, distracting apps temporarily, you’re more likely to stay productive. Then, when it is social media time, you won’t feel as guilty because it was on your daily list. You would have been scheduled to be on social media.
Also, for bloggers and website owners, sharing content on social media or generally connecting and engaging with your followers, fan page fans or others on social media helps build your brand. It isn’t just goofing off when you’re on it. You’re actually working too.
3. They don’t waste time attending events that do not advance their business, personal or professional goals. Productive people only attend mixers, seminars, networking session or other events if they set a goal to collect certain number of business cards or to introduce themselves to certain number of people. Meet ups and other events are necessary for networking, but they can be a big time waste unless you attend them with a strategic plan to make sure they work for you.
If you are going to sacrifice 2 to 4 hours of time that could be spent building your business, working on blog posts, or listening to a webinar or getting some other training, then it must be worth it. Avoid going with too many people you know. Otherwise, you will just hang with them by the cheese tray and not leave with any connects and would have wasted all that time.
4. They know how to say “no.” Productive people do not take on too many tasks, assignments or projects they cannot handle or perform well. They also peel off to staff or other colleagues, work they cannot complete. They are aware it is best to do a great job on a few tasks and get a reputation for greatness than to do many things poorly or with mediocre outcome.
It took me a long time to learn to abandon loser projects or tasks when they took too much time to do well. Now I have no shame in rejecting projects or work that I am not qualified to handle or don’t have time to complete well.
5. They understand the value of the “Hard Stop” – The Hard Stop is a term for ending something and not going over. You may have heard or seen it use in the context of a meeting where a participant may let the others in the meeting know they have another meeting or event scheduled after and thus have to stop immediately. They do not let the time allocated for one task, project or meeting go over. When it is time to stop working on something, they end it. If need be, they pick up where they left off during the next time allocated for that task or project. Respect and practice the Hard Stop in your business or work life.
6. They don’t multitask- Doing too many things at the same time is a recipe for mistakes. There is also a risk of not completing anything because you divide up your time among too many tasks. People pride themselves on being able to multi-task and it is a great skill to have, but to do anything really well, it’s best to focus on it and do it alone.
7. They start each morning by planning, mediating, praying or doing something to center themselves and prepare for the day. When we have a lot on our plates and lots of outstanding deliverables owed to people and tasks to complete, it can be overwhelming.
I know personally, I walk around in a fog when I don’t have a good handle or control on how my day is going and if I’m advancing on my projects. If we can get the discipline to do it, start the quiet time in the morning to prep for the day. I guarantee, you’ll feel more prepared to take on the task of the day.
If you can adopt any of these habits, if you don’t already have them, you’ll find yourself being more successful and productive every day.
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Jeneba Jalloh Ghatt can be heard nightly at 8pm on DCRadio/WHUR 96.3HD4 on "Coming to America with Wayna and Friends. She is an editor at Techyaya.com, founder of the Digital Publiching Academy and JayJayGhatt.com where she teaches online creators how to navigate digital entrepreneurship and offers Do-It-For-You Blogging Service. She manages her lifestyle sites BellyitchBlog, Jenebaspeaks and JJBraids.com and is the founder of BlackWomenTech.com 200 Black Women in Tech On Twitter. Her biz podcast 10 Minute Podcast is available on iTunes and Player.fm. Follow her on Twitter at @Jenebaspeaks. Buy her templates over at her legal and business templates on Etsy shop!