How To Be Productive: 19 Essential Habits For Productive People


How To Be Productive:  19 Essential Habits For Productive People

Are you struggling to be productive and get things done? 

Do you find yourself constantly procrastinating and putting off tasks until the last minute? 

Don't worry; you're not alone. 

In a hurry? Listen on the go!

How To Be Productive

In today's fast-paced world, being productive is essential - whether you're a student, a professional working from home, an entrepreneur trying to start up a business, or just looking for ways to be more productive at home. 

Being productive means achieving your goals efficiently and effectively. It requires discipline, focus, and determination, and most of all, it requires you to develop the right habits and mindset needed to be a highly productive person. 

The good news is that productivity is a learned skill. By adopting the right habits and behaviours, you can become highly productive and achieve your goals. 

you can learn how to be productive as it is a learned skill

In this article we are going to explore how to be productive and develop habits for productive people. So, let's get started on the journey towards a more productive you! 

The Benefits of Being Highly Productive

Being highly productive has many benefits. It can help you achieve your goals, improve your focus and concentration, and reduce stress and anxiety. 

Highly productive people are often successful in their careers and personal lives. They can manage their time effectively and prioritize their tasks.

All good reasons why you should learn how to be productive, right?

Famous entrepreneur and investor, Warren Buffet, once said, "The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say 'no' to almost everything". This quote emphasizes the importance of prioritization and focus in achieving success. 

A quote on how to be productive from Warren Buffet, who once said, "The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say 'no' to almost everything"

19 Habits for Productivity 

Being productive requires discipline, focus, and determination. It is essential to develop the right habits that can improve your efficiency and effectiveness. 

Let's take a look at how to be productive with some of the most effective habits for improving productivity that you can start to implement today to make you more productive, so you can get more done in less time!

1. Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique has gained popularity in recent years with people looking for techniques on how to be productive as an effective way to manage time and increase productivity. 

It's based on the idea that our brains are wired to work in short, focused bursts, rather than for extended periods of time. By breaking down your work into smaller, manageable chunks, you can stay focused and avoid burnout.

The technique is simple but powerful. Start by setting a timer for 25 minutes and working on a single task for that entire duration. During this time, avoid all distractions and interruptions. 

Once the timer goes off, take a 5-minute break to rest your brain and recharge your energy. Repeat this cycle for four Pomodoros, and then take a longer break of 15 to 20 minutes.

This technique works by helping you stay focused on one task at a time, without getting overwhelmed by the bigger picture. It's also helpful for preventing procrastination, as it can be easier to start working on a task when you know you only have to do it for 25 minutes. 

Additionally, the frequent breaks allow you to rest and refresh your mind, which can improve your overall performance and productivity.

Why not try our free online Pomodoro timer and get focused on what you need to do!

2. Setting SMART Goals

Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals can help you focus on what is most important and increase your productivity. SMART goals are clear, concise, and easy to measure, making it easier to track your progress and stay motivated. 

Productive people have clear goals and know exactly what they are working towards - this is key to being productive. When the goal is fuzzy and you aren't sure what you need to do, that's when we start to put things off and procrastinate.

This is a whole topic of its own, so I won't cover it in this article - you can read more about how to set SMART goals here.

3. Prioritization and Delegation

learning how to be productive by prioritizing

Productive people prioritize prioritization!

Not all tasks are created equal, and it's essential to prioritize your workload to ensure you're focusing on what's most important. 

The 80/20 principle, also known as the Pareto Principle, is a useful tool for prioritization. It states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. In other words, a small portion of your tasks will have a significant impact on your productivity and success.

To apply the 80/20 principle, start by identifying the tasks that have the most significant impact on your goals. 

These are the tasks that will help you achieve the most progress towards your objectives. Focus on these tasks first and prioritize them over less important tasks. By doing this, you can make the most out of your time and energy.

how to be productive using the 80/20 principle

Delegation is another powerful tool to master if you want to know how to be productive. Delegating tasks to others can free up your time and allow you to focus on tasks that only you can do. 

It can be challenging to let go of tasks, especially if you're used to doing everything yourself. However, delegating tasks can help you be more efficient and effective in the long run.

When delegating tasks, it's essential to choose other productive people who are right person for the job. 

Consider their skills and strengths, and make sure they have the necessary resources to complete the task successfully. Communicate clearly what needs to be done, and give them the autonomy to complete the task in their way.

Leveraging your time through delegation can be a game-changer for productivity. It allows you to focus on high-impact tasks and can lead to significant progress towards your goals. By prioritizing your workload and delegating tasks effectively, you can make the most out of your time and achieve greater success.

4. Having a Morning Routine

a morning routine is a good way how to be successful

An effective morning routine can help you start your day with energy and focus, which is a great way to be productive, setting you up for a productive day ahead. Here is an example of a powerful morning routine of productive people that will get you primed for productivity:

  • Wake up early: Wake up at least an hour before you need to start your day, giving yourself enough time to complete your morning routine without rushing.
  • Drink water: Drinking water first thing in the morning can help wake up your body and mind, plus sleep is thirsty work - we lose around a litre of water a night, so we need to top up our brains when we wake! Try to avoid having coffee as soon as you wake up, it's actually counterproductive as it firstly raises cortisol levels which can make you more stressed, but its also a diuretic meaning it dehydrates us even more.
  • Exercise: Exercise can energize you for the day ahead and improve your mood. You can do a quick workout, go for a jog, or do some yoga.
  • Meditate: Meditation can help you clear your mind and reduce stress. Take 10 minutes to sit in silence and focus on your breath.
  • Plan your day: Spend some time reviewing your to-do list and schedule for the day. Identify the most critical tasks and plan when you will complete them.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast: A nutritious breakfast can provide you with the energy and focus you need for the day ahead. Try to include protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates.
  • Read: Spend some time reading a book, article, or other materials that can help you learn and grow.

By incorporating these habits into your morning routine, you can start your day with focus and energy, setting yourself up for a productive day. A great resource for further reading on morning routines is the book "The Miracle Morning" by Hal Elrod. 

Check out this quick 7-minute book summary for the main points...

Remember, everyone's morning routine may differ, and it's important to find what works best for you. The goal is to create a routine that sets a positive tone for your day, helping you feel energized and motivated to tackle the tasks ahead.

5. Taking Breaks and Resting

It might not be what you expect to find in a post titled 'How To Be Productive: 19 Essential Habits For Productive People', but taking breaks and resting is crucial for maintaining productivity. 

Your brain needs rest to function at its best. Taking short breaks throughout the day can help you recharge your batteries and stay focused.

An analogy to consider is the concept of "sharpening the axe." 

Imagine you are a lumberjack who needs to cut down a forest of trees. You start by using a sharp axe, but as time passes, the axe becomes dull and less effective. 

learn how to be procuctive by sharpening the axe and resting

If you continue to use the dull axe, you will exert more effort, and it will take longer to achieve the same results. However, if you take a break to sharpen the axe, you will be able to cut down trees more efficiently and effectively.

Similarly, taking breaks and resting allows your brain to "sharpen the axe." 

When you rest, your brain can recharge, and you can return to your work with a fresh perspective and renewed energy. Taking breaks can also prevent burnout and improve your overall well-being.

To incorporate breaks into your day, try the Pomodoro Technique mentioned earlier. Another idea is to take a short walk outside, listen to music, or do a quick stretching routine. Whatever activity you choose, make sure it is something that allows you to disconnect from work and recharge your batteries.

Remember, taking breaks and resting is not a waste of time. It is a necessary part of the productivity process and can help you achieve better results in the long run.

6. Exercise and Healthy Eating

how to be productive by exercising

When it comes to exercise, it's important to find a routine that works for you and that you enjoy. The best exercise is one that you'll actually do consistently. 

Some exercises that are particularly effective for boosting productivity include high-intensity interval training (HIIT), yoga, and strength training. HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise, followed by brief periods of rest, making it a time-efficient way to get a workout in. 

Yoga can help improve flexibility, balance, and mental clarity. Strength training can help build muscle, which in turn can boost your metabolism and energy levels.

In terms of healthy eating, it's important to aim for a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Some foods that are particularly good for boosting productivity include:

  • Blueberries: These little berries are packed with antioxidants, which can help improve cognitive function and memory.
  • Leafy greens: Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens are rich in vitamins and minerals that can help boost brain function.
  • Nuts and seeds: These are a great source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber, and can help keep you feeling full and focused throughout the day.
  • Whole grains: Brown rice, quinoa, and other whole grains are a good source of complex carbohydrates, which can provide sustained energy and help keep you feeling full.
  • Lean proteins: Chicken, fish, and other lean proteins can help keep you feeling full and satisfied, and can provide the building blocks for muscle growth and repair.

Eating healthy can boost productivity

Just as a car needs fuel to run, our bodies need healthy food to function at their best. And just as a car needs regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly, our bodies need regular exercise to keep them in good shape. 

Productive people take care of their bodies. By taking care of our bodies, we can ensure that we have the energy and focus we need to be productive and successful in our daily lives.

7. Time Management

Effective time management is an essential trait of productive people. It involves planning and organizing your time to ensure that you're using it efficiently, and not burning it away. One way to manage your time better is to use a to-do list or a planner to keep track of your tasks and deadlines. 

Time management is essential for productivity so as not to burn time

In addition to using a to-do list or planner, there are other ways to be efficient with your time. Here are some suggestions:

  • Use productivity tools and software: There are many apps and tools available to help you manage your time more effectively. For example, project management tools like Trello and Asana can help you track tasks and collaborate with others. 
  • Track your time: To be efficient with your time, you need to know how you are spending it. Log your time every 30 minutes for a week and you will see that you spend a lot more time doing non-productive things than you realise... you can use a journal or time tracking apps like RescueTime which can help you analyze how you spend your time and identify areas for improvement.
  • Don't check email all day: Constantly checking and responding to emails can be a major time drain. Instead, set specific times throughout the day to check and respond to emails. This can help you stay focused on your work and avoid distractions.
  • Use the 2-minute rule: If a task takes less than 2 minutes to complete, do it right away. This can help you avoid procrastination and keep your to-do list from becoming overwhelming.

When it comes to time management and figuring out how to be productive, it's also important to remember that everyone's work style is different. What works for one person may not work for another. Experiment with different strategies and tools to find what works best for you.

8. Avoiding Multitasking

multitasking kills productivity and is not how to be productive

Multitasking may seem like a good way to get more done in less time, but it can actually decrease productivity. When you multitask, you're dividing your attention between multiple tasks, making it harder to focus and complete them efficiently. 

Research has shown that multitasking can decrease productivity and increase the likelihood of making mistakes. A study conducted by the University of Michigan found that when people switch between tasks, they experience a delay in processing the information needed for the new task. This delay, known as "switching cost," can add up over time and decrease overall productivity.

The duration of the switching cost, or the time it takes for your brain to refocus on a task after being interrupted, varies depending on the complexity of the task and the nature of the interruption. However, research suggests that it can take an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to a task after being interrupted.

Another study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that multitasking can decrease the quality of work produced. The study participants who multitasked while completing a writing task made more errors and took longer to complete the task than those who focused solely on the writing task.

So you want to know how to be productive? 

The most productive people try to focus on one task at a time and complete it before moving on to the next. You can also try setting aside dedicated blocks of time for specific tasks to minimize distractions and increase productivity.

9. Minimizing Distractions

In today's digital age, distractions are more common than ever before. 

The constant pings and notifications from our devices can easily divert our attention from the task at hand, leading to a loss of productivity. As mentioned above, research has shown that it can take almost 25 minutes to regain your focus after a distraction, so it's essential to minimize distractions as much as possible.

One helpful tip I found for minimizing distractions is to "go dark." 

This idea was coined in the book "How to be a Productivity Ninja" by Graham Allcott, and it refers to intentionally disconnecting from distractions during focused work time. This could mean turning off your phone, closing your email tab, and avoiding social media during certain hours of the day. 

By going dark, you can create a distraction-free environment that allows you to focus on your work and be more productive.

Another way I found useful for how to be productive and minimize distractions is to create a designated workspace that is free from distractions. 

This could mean finding a quiet area in your home or office, using noise-cancelling headphones, or setting up your workspace in a way that minimizes visual distractions.

10. Regularly Reviewing Progress

regular reviews are a good tool for improving productivity

Productive people review progress regularly. Regularly reviewing progress can boost productivity in several ways. 

Firstly, it provides a sense of accomplishment and motivation, which helps to keep you on track and maintain your momentum towards your goals. 

Secondly, it allows you to identify any areas where you may be falling behind and make adjustments to your approach to get back on track.

To track progress, it's important to set measurable goals (we talked about this already, remember!) so you can track your progress towards them. 

This can be done using a journal or a planner, or with digital tools such as productivity apps or spreadsheets. It's also important to regularly review your progress, i.e. weekly or monthly, to ensure that you are making progress towards your goals.

When reviewing your progress, consider the following questions:

  • Have I achieved my goals for this period?
  • What challenges did I face and how did I overcome them?
  • What can I do differently to improve my productivity going forward?

By regularly reviewing your progress and making adjustments as needed, you can stay on track and achieve your goals more efficiently.

11. Seeking Feedback

Feedback is great for productivity when learning how to be productive

Alongside reviewing your progress, another way how to be productive is seeking feedback from others can help you improve your productivity by identifying areas for improvement. 

Feedback can provide valuable insights into your performance and help you develop new habits and behaviours that can increase your productivity. 

It's important to seek feedback from others because we all have psychological biases that can cloud our judgment of our own performance. 

For example, the confirmation bias can cause us to seek out information that confirms our beliefs about our own abilities, even if it's not accurate. On the other hand, the negativity bias can cause us to focus only on negative feedback and ignore positive feedback.

Getting feedback from others can help us overcome these biases and gain a more accurate understanding of our strengths and weaknesses. It can also provide us with new perspectives on how we can improve and be more productive.

To track your progress in seeking feedback, you can create a system to regularly check in with colleagues or managers for feedback on specific tasks or projects. You can also ask for feedback on a regular basis in performance reviews or one-on-one meetings. 

It's important for productive people to approach feedback with an open mind and a willingness to learn and improve.

12. Continuous Learning

productive people prioritize continuous learning

Continuous learning is a crucial aspect of being productive in any field. It involves consistently seeking out new knowledge and skills to improve your expertise and stay current with industry trends. 

Continuous learning can take many forms, such as attending seminars, taking online courses, reading industry publications, or seeking mentorship from experienced professionals.

Continuous learning can boost productivity in several ways. 

First, it can help you identify new tools and strategies that can streamline your workflow and increase efficiency. For example, if you are a marketer, learning new digital marketing tools can help you automate some of your tasks and reach a wider audience in less time.

Second, continuous learning can help you improve your skills and expertise, allowing you to take on more challenging tasks with confidence. 

By becoming an expert in your field, you can provide higher-quality work, take on more responsibility, and potentially increase your earning potential.

Finally, continuous learning can help you stay motivated and engaged in your work. 

When you are constantly learning and growing, you are more likely to feel fulfilled and satisfied with your career. This can lead to higher job satisfaction, improved mental health, and ultimately, is a great way how to be productive.

13. Eliminate Inefficiencies

Eliminating inefficiencies is a critical aspect of boosting productivity for productive people. 

By identifying and reducing time-consuming, non-value-added activities, you can free up time and resources to focus on more important tasks. Here are some examples of how to eliminate inefficiencies:

  • Standardize processes and templates: Create standard processes and templates for routine tasks to avoid duplication of work. This can help save time and improve consistency across different projects.
  • Reduce waste: Identify and eliminate non-value added activities and processes, such as unnecessary paperwork or redundant approvals.
  • Automate tasks: Automate repetitive tasks where possible, such as sending out reminder emails or scheduling social media posts. This can help free up time for more important tasks and reduce the risk of errors.
  • Streamline communications: Minimize back-and-forth communication by using tools like project management software, instant messaging, and video conferencing. This can help reduce the amount of time spent on unnecessary meetings and emails.
  • Optimize your workspace: Arrange your workspace in a way that promotes productivity, such as reducing clutter and distractions, improving lighting and ventilation, and using ergonomic furniture.
  • Cut down on multitasking: As mentioned earlier, multitasking can actually decrease productivity. By focusing on one task at a time, you can eliminate inefficiencies caused by context switching and reduce errors caused by divided attention.

By identifying and reducing inefficiencies, you can optimize your workflow and improve your overall productivity. For more information on being efficient, check out lean thinking principles and the six sigma philosophy.

14. Mindfulness and Meditation

mindulfness and meditation for boosting productivity

Mindfulness and meditation are powerful tools for productive people that can help you achieve greater productivity and success. They are practices that involve focusing your attention on the present moment and cultivating a non-judgmental awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations.

Studies have shown that mindfulness and meditation can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, while also boosting resilience, emotional intelligence, and cognitive performance. 

They can help you become more aware of your habitual patterns of thought and behavior, and enable you to respond to challenging situations in a more calm, creative, and effective way.

To incorporate mindfulness and meditation into your daily routine, you can start with simple practices such as focusing on your breath or body sensations for a few minutes each day. You can also use guided meditation apps or attend mindfulness classes to deepen your practice and learn new techniques. 

Regular practice is key, so try to set aside time each day for mindfulness and meditation, and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable with the practice.

Read more about meditation for success here.

15. Positive Self-Talk

positive self talk improves productivity

Another recomendation on how to be productive is to practice positive self-talk.

Positive self-talk can help improve your productivity by increasing your confidence and motivation. By telling yourself positive affirmations and focusing on your strengths, you can stay motivated and productive.

One way to implement positive self-talk is to create a list of positive affirmations or motivational quotes and read them daily. For instance, "I am capable of achieving my goals" or "I have the skills and abilities to succeed." 

Another technique is to reframe negative thoughts and turn them into positive ones. For example, instead of thinking "I don't know how to do this," you can say "I may not know how to do this yet, but I will learn." 

By using positive self-talk in this way, you can stay motivated and productive, even in challenging situations.

16. Say NO!

Learning to say no is an important skill for productive people

Learning to say no is an important skill for productive people. When you say yes to something, you are essentially agreeing to work on someone else's goals rather than your own. 

Saying no can help you prioritize your own goals and stay focused on what's important.

One common example of saying no is declining unproductive meetings. Meetings can often be a drain on time and resources, so it's important to evaluate their productivity and whether or not they are necessary. 

If a meeting isn't necessary or can be replaced with a more efficient form of communication, saying no to attending it can free up valuable time.

In addition to meetings, saying no to other tasks or commitments that don't align with your goals can also help improve productivity. It's important to assess whether or not a task or commitment will help you reach your goals before agreeing to it.

Learning to say no can be challenging, but it's an important skill to master for improving productivity and achieving your goals and is one of the most effective habits you can learn on how to be productive.

17. Understand Your Circadian Rhythm

Understanding your circadian rhythm can help you optimize your productivity by scheduling tasks according to your natural energy levels. 

Our bodies have a natural cycle of peaks and troughs in energy levels throughout the day, and by recognizing this, you can ensure that you schedule tasks that require the most focus during your peak periods.

To recognize your natural energy levels, pay attention to how you feel throughout the day. 

Understanding your circadian rhythm can help you optimize your productivity

Notice when you feel most alert and focused, and when you start to feel sluggish or tired. You may notice that your energy levels tend to dip after lunch or in the mid-afternoon, for example.

Once you have a good sense of your natural energy levels, try to schedule your most demanding tasks during your peak periods. This might mean scheduling important meetings or working on complex projects during the times when you feel most alert and focused. 

Conversely, try to schedule more routine or less demanding tasks during your energy troughs, when you may not be as sharp.

By aligning your work schedule with your natural energy levels, you can optimize your productivity and get more done in less time. 

I have found this to be a game changing way how to be productive with my time, rather than trying to tackle difficult task during my low energy periods.

Additionally, paying attention to your circadian rhythm can help you identify the best times for other activities, such as exercise or socializing, which can further enhance your overall well-being and productivity.

18. Break it Down

Productive people break larger projects down into smaller tasks

Productive people break larger projects down into smaller tasks, which can help you stay organized and focused. 

When you have a large project to tackle, it can be overwhelming to think about everything that needs to be done. By breaking it down into smaller, more manageable tasks, you can approach each step with more clarity and confidence.

Think of it like a pizza - you wouldn't eat it all at once, but slice by slice it goes down just nice!

Additionally, leveraging your resources by delegating tasks to the right people can further boost productivity. This means identifying which tasks can be handled by others on your team or by outsourcing to third-party services. 

Delegating tasks can free up your time to focus on higher-value work and ensure that everyone is working on tasks that align with their strengths and expertise.

To break a project down into smaller tasks, start by identifying the overall goal and then work backwards to create a list of smaller, more specific tasks that need to be completed to achieve that goal. 

Using project management tools and techniques to help you organize and track progress is a useful way how to be productive. Set deadlines for each task and prioritize them according to their importance and urgency.

19. Take Note - Literally!

Taking notes can be a powerful tool to boost productivity.

Taking notes can be a powerful tool to boost productivity. Writing down information helps to free up space in your mind and prevents important details from being forgotten.

It's important to have a centralized note system where all of your notes can be stored in one place. This could be a physical notebook, or a digital system such as Microsoft OneNote, Evernote, or Google Keep. 

OneNote is my personal choice - I find it so neat and organized with lots of features.

By using a centralized system, you can avoid having multiple to-do lists scattered across various locations, and easily access your notes from any device.

When taking notes, be sure to include important details such as deadlines, priorities, and any additional information you may need to complete a task. You can also use note-taking as a way to brainstorm ideas and make connections between different pieces of information.

The Role of Mindset in Productivity

The success mindset is an important factor that contributes to your journey on how to be productive

The success mindset is an important factor that contributes to your journey on how to be productive. Having a clear focus on your goals and a positive mindset can help you stay motivated and avoid distractions that can lead to decreased productivity.

To develop a success mindset, productive people start by setting clear goals and creating a plan to achieve them. This helps to create a sense of direction and purpose, which in turn boosts motivation. 

When faced with challenges or setbacks, focus on finding solutions rather than dwelling on the problem. This helps to maintain a positive mindset and reduces the risk of procrastination.

Another key aspect of the success mindset is the willingness to learn and grow. 

Embrace opportunities to develop new skills and knowledge, and don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. This helps to create a sense of achievement and progress, which boosts motivation and productivity.

To maintain a success mindset, it's important to avoid negative self-talk and to focus on your strengths and accomplishments. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small, and use them to build momentum and maintain motivation. 

By cultivating a success mindset, you can achieve your goals and stay productive in the long run.


Lost time is never found again - benjamin franklin productivity quote

Productivity is a key factor in achieving success in both personal and professional life. 

In this article, we have discussed 19 essential habits for productive people on how to be productive in all aspects of life.

Developing the habit discussed in this article will help you to be more productive and to get more done in less time.

It's important to remember that productivity is not just about working harader, but also about working smarter and more efficiently. 

With dedication, focus, and a commitment to continuous learning, anyone can boost their productivity and achieve success in their endeavors.

As Benjamin Franklin once said, "Lost time is never found again." So start today, and make the most of every moment.


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