10 things super productive people do differently

22-04-16 Blogger 13 comments

It seems to be trendy to be constantly busy these days. And people are just getting busier! But how productive are those who are always too busy in today’s world?

We all face the same challenge — there are only 24 hours in a day. Yet some people, have the uncanny ability to just get things done. Even when juggling multiple projects, they reach their goals without fail.

“Time is the only real capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose” – Thomas Edison.

Leaving the workplace after a super productive day is a working high that’s hard to beat. And you don’t necessarily need to work harder, you just need to work smarter.

The following 10 tips are easy to implement. So easy that you can begin using them from today! Give them a whirl, and watch your productivity soar…


  1. End each day by preparing for the next.

This practice accomplishes two things: it helps you solidify what you’ve accomplished today, and it ensures you’ll have a productive tomorrow. It only takes a few minutes and it’s a great way to end your workday.

“For every minute spent organising, an hour is earned” – Benjamin Franklin

  1. Eat Frogs.

“Eating a frog” is the best antidote for procrastination, and  super productive people start each morning with this tasty treat. In other words, they do the least appetizing, most dreaded item on their to-do list before they do anything else. After that, they’re freed up to tackle the stuff that excites and inspires them.

  1. Fight the tyranny of the urgent.

The tyranny of the urgent refers to the tendency of little things that have to be done right now to get in the way of what really matters. This creates a huge problem as urgent actions often have little impact.

If you succumb to the tyranny of the urgent, you can find yourself going hours, or even days, without touching the important stuff. Productive people are good at spotting when putting out fires is getting in the way of their performance, and they’re willing to ignore or delegate the things that get in the way of real forward momentum.

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst” – William Penn

  1. Stick to schedules.

Meetings are the biggest time waster there is. Ultra-productive people know that a meeting will drag on forever if they let it, so they inform everyone at the onset that they’ll stick to the intended schedule. This sets a limit that motivates everyone to be more focused and efficient.

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is, you’re the pilot” – Michael Altshuler.

  1. Say No.

No is a powerful word that ultra-productive people are not afraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, they avoid phrases such as I don’t think I can or I’m not certain. Saying no to a new commitment honours your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfil them.

Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Learn to use no, and it will lift your mood, as well as your productivity.

  1. Only check emails at designated times.

Super productive people don’t allow e-mail to be a constant interruption. In addition to checking email on a schedule, they take advantage of features that prioritise messages by sender. They set alerts for their most important vendors and their best customers, and they save the rest until they reach a stopping point. Some people even set up an auto-responder that lets senders know when they’ll be checking their e-mail again.

  1. Don’t Multitask.

Super productive people know that multitasking is a real productivity killer. Research conducted at Stanford University confirms that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.

But what if some people have a special gift for multitasking? The Stanford researchers compared groups of people based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multitaskers—those who multitask a lot and feel that it boosts their performance—were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time. The frequent multitaskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another. Ouch.

Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.

  1. Go off the grid.

Don’t be afraid to go off grid when you need to. Give one trusted person a number to call in case of emergency, and let that person be your filter. Everything has to go through them, and anything they don’t clear has to wait. This strategy is a bulletproof way to complete high-priority projects.

9 . Delegate.

Ultra-productive people accept the fact that they’re not the only smart, talented person in their organisation. They trust people to do their jobs so that they can focus on their own.

  1. Make technology work for you.

Technology catches a lot of flak for being a distraction, but it can also help you focus. Ultra-productive people put technology to work for them. Beyond setting up filters in their email accounts so that messages are sorted and prioritized as they come in, they use apps like IFTTT, which sets up contingencies on your smartphone and alerts you when something important happens. This way, when your stock hits a certain price or you have an email from your best customer, you’ll know it. There’s no need to be constantly checking your phone for status updates.


We’re all searching for ways to be more efficient and productive. I hope these strategies help you to find that extra edge.

What productivity hacks do you rely on? Please share your thoughts in the comments section as I am sure there are so many tips, we can all learn from one another.

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  • Mark Grimshaw

    A useful post.

    It’s curious how we’ve known the things that super productive people do differently for a long time. A quick Internet search around personal productivity will reveal that these 10 aspects are very well-known within the vast knowledge base.

    Even though what’s needed to be super productive has been known for decades we don’t seem to have many super productive people. I doubt it’s because the majority don’t want to be super productive so it must be something else, something we’re missing.

  • blogger

    Very true Mark, these are simple pointers, which the majority of us know. Perhaps what’s missing is a willingness to be like this all the time? When you are super productive do you get a higher workload? Food for thought.

  • Mark Grimshaw

    Sneha, indeed food the thought and your comment made me wonder:

    With the decades of assertions about productivity is seems there is a consistent unwillingness to be like that, whether all the time or otherwise. It seems like this unwillingness is destined to continue well into the future. No matter how much promotion and reinforcement occurs, the unwillingness continues.

    With the constancy of this unwillingness, or whatever you want to call it, one might wonder how long we can go on giving the same advice when we know for certain it has limitations. I’m some will be super productive following this advice but seemingly there are many others who are productive for whom it doesn’t fit the bill. Perhaps it’s time to cease wheeling out the same advice and come up with something a bit different. Just a thought.

  • William Chadwick

    Very realistic and practical -thanks

  • Mark Aouston

    It’s all about simple rules. Great!

  • Lori Bruhns

    Getting back to the basics. No magic wand.

  • Story Gordon Hill

    Excellent article. My only disagreement is that they delegate. As a technologist, many of the most productive engineers are in their highest productive state working alone.

  • Shari Saeger

    Simple strategies that work! I think doing the things you dread early in the day is a great way to prioritize and get things done. I also think planning at the end of the day for tomorrow works well too! I have always told my salespeople, plan your day…work your plan. Give it a shot!

  • Amanda Jackson

    We can all slip into bad habits, especially around multi tasking. Great reminder to refocus, thank you.

  • James S. Mueller

    Hearing it again helps me to assimilate it. Thank you.


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