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The Key Habits of Productive People

The Habits That Define Productive People

By Lewis HumphriesPublished about a year ago 3 min read

Productivity is crucial to business success

In the first quarter of 2023, productivity in the UK fell by 0.6% year-on-year, while it also declined by 1.4% when compared with Q4 of the previous year.

Interestingly, annual labour productivity in the UK has also risen at a noticeably slow pace ever since the 2008 financial crash. This can create a significant challenge for businesses at the micro level, particularly smaller ventures that may be heavily impacted by productivity inefficiencies.

Of course, productivity improvements start at the very top of any organisation, so entrepreneurs would do well to learn and impart the key habits of truly productive people. Here are a very such characteristics and practices to keep in mind:

#1. Productive People are Willing to Delegate

Regardless of the scope of your business, operating as a one-man band serves as an invitation to procrastination and productivity inefficiencies. After all, this means taking charge of all operation aspects, from responding to emails and networking with clients to invoicing and actually completing the work that your clients pay for.

Not only does this place a significant strain on your time and organisational capabilities, but it also makes it hard to prioritise or tackle the most important, strategic tasks as a matter of urgency. This can cause added stress and a long-term cycle of productivity issues, which can really undermine your business over time.

Given the added stress and pressure that this can also cause, it’s fair to say that the most successful entrepreneurs are able to delegate tasks wherever possible and make the most of the time at their disposal.

This rule applies even if you don’t employ permanent staff. For example, you could consider deploying virtual assistants to help manage your administration burden, while also employing skilled workers on temporary contracts whenever you take on additional work or a specialist project.

#2. Productive People Embrace the ‘Deep Work’ Mindset

The concept of ‘deep work’ refers to a state of peak concentration that’s ideal when undertaking difficult or complex tasks, while it was coined by US author and computer scientist Cal Newport.

The most productive people recognise the importance of deep work and actively embrace this mindset, which encourages them to devote serious time and mental effort to the central (but often time-consuming and mundane) tasks that are integral to every successful business.

At the heart of deep work is an ability to focus intensely and avoid the temptation to multitask for predetermined periods of time, and these are factors that can help identify a truly efficient entrepreneur.

If this mindset doesn’t come naturally and you still have complex work tasks to manage, it’s important that you strive to schedule deep work (ideally at a similar time each day if necessary). Try to avoid overcompensating for the mundanity of the task in hand by becoming too immersed in media content either, while switching off your phone to help with this endeavour.

#3. Productive People Manage Their Time Efficiently

Of course, deploying the requisite amount of time to deep work relies in part on efficient time management skills, and this is another skill boasted by highly productive people and business leaders.

What’s more, they’ll often used a specific time management method such as the ‘Pomodoro Technique’, which requires you to work intensively in 25-minute bursts that are separated by five-minute breaks.

Longer breaks, usually between 15 and 30 minutes, are also taken after four consecutive work intervals, with each such interval referred to as a ‘pomodoro’, which incidentally is the Italian word for ‘tomato’.

Of course, this technique may not be suited to either your mindset or the nature of the workload, but the important thing is that you settle on the right methodology for you and adhere to this over time. Discipline is key here, especially as you adjust to your new way of working.


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