What is it that highly productive people do that makes the difference? Sure, they stave off procrastination, and, of course, they often wake up earlier in the morning than their counterparts — but what is truly underneath their increased levels of productivity day after day?
I have worked with thousands of individuals on this very topic. Here is what I have found: There are five pinnacle items that highly productive people do differently than your average person. Think of these items as points to a star. And, as you know, stars stand apart from the rest of the crowd.
First Point: Understand that everything is a choice.
People who are über-productive don’t complain about what they need to get done. They understand at a deep level that everything is a choice in the end, no matter who is doling out work to them. Think about it. Even when you are told you must do something, your choices of how you do it, when you do it, and where you do it have a massive impact on its successful, or otherwise, completion. Those choices are all within one’s control. Once you get this, work and other life have-tos become much less oppressive.
Second Point: Believe your brain is connected to your body.
Productivity, and all that goes with it, starts in your brain. Über-productive people understand that their mind is their greatest asset when it comes to increasing productivity. They realize that training their minds will give them a competitive edge. Meditation activates the part of the brain responsible for creativity and intuition and helps blood flow to the part of the brain responsible for helping to make decisions. I call that a pretty small investment for big results. Über-productive people also understand how proper nutrition and plenty of sleep nurture their minds, bodies, and souls. They know these to be the true building blocks to a higher level of stamina.
Third Point: Listen to others and course-correct as needed.
Easier said than done, right? We all want to be good at this, but the über-productive person knows that this is at the core of working smarter, not harder. The prime example is to stop talking and start listening. Listening is an acquired skill, and most people do way more talking than listening. In life and work, it is imperative to critically listen and then adjust as needed. Über-productive managers know that their best solutions come from their team, and if they ask the right questions and stop talking, they will get the information they need.
Fourth Point: Intentionally let things go.
The biggest plea I hear from people when engaged in a coaching relationship with them is “I want to get more done in my day.” My immediate response is, “What are you willing to let go?” This feels counterproductive to the average person, but to an über-productive person, this makes perfect sense, like balancing out a mathematical equation. Figure out what can be let go and intentionally let it go. The über-productive among us prune and curate what’s in front of them; they decide what is not going to happen or what can be delegated. You know the song from Frozen, “Let It Go”? Yeah, do that!
Fifth Point: Trust the process.
When asked for my best piece of advice, my favorite response is “Trust the process.” These are three powerful words, and it’s what über-productive people do all the time — from trusting the systems they have created, to trusting when it’s the right time to let something go, to trusting the process of their life unfolding on the right path at its own pace. It’s all relevant. When a highly productive person is on the right path, life becomes easier. Getting things done with optimal efficiency becomes a breeze.
Remember, über-productive people are made, not born. Sure, it is easier for some than others, but they still have to work to get there. They struggle. They practice. And they keep on shining the five points of their productivity star.
Sara Caputo transforms how individuals, teams, and small businesses navigate workflow and increase workplace efficiency. Her work has been featured in Working Women, Success, and Forbes, as well as other national and regional publications. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.