The Habits of Highly Productive People

The Habits of Highly Productive People

What are the keys to becoming more productive? According to a recent survey of nearly 20,000 readers of HBR.org, they are:

  • Plan your work based on top priorities and act with a definite objective.
  • Before you leave for the day, plan the next day's schedule, emphasizing priorities.
  • Identify the goal of each appointment/meeting.
  • Develop and issue an agenda for each group meeting with a status of the agenda item and the expectations of the team.
  • Identify the goal of reading lengthy material.
  • Before writing a proposal, report or another type of analysis, develop an outline with a logical order of key points you want to cover. 
  • Develop effective techniques for managing a high volume of information and tasks.
  • Develop daily processes that become routines, such as dedicating X amount of time to a specific task or designating a particular time of day to look at emails.
  • Make sure that you leave time in your schedule to deal with the unexpected and emergencies.
  • Scan the subject lines of emails and texts no more than once an hour.
  • Break larger projects into defined pieces and reward yourself for completing each section.
  • Delegate tasks that are not your top priorities to your team members.
  • Understand your team members' need for shorter meetings, clear directions and responsive communication.
  • Set a hard end-time for each meeting.
  • Respond immediately to messages from people who are most important to you.
  • Establish clear objectives and metrics for each project.
  • Learn from mistakes to prevent recurrences and avoid the temptation to blame others for shortcomings.

The survey revealed that working harder and longer does not necessarily make you more productive. Experience does matter. Older and more senior professionals recorded higher productivity scores than younger and more junior team members. Gender does not matter. Male and females scored about the same. 

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