Americans Habit

The Habits of America’s Most Productive People

Have you ever wondered how some professionals seem to cross everything off their to-do lists each day? It’s not just a matter of working harder.

They’re able to achieve their goals by adopting certain habits and techniques. Here are some of them: .

1. Prioritize their work

Top performers prioritize their work by focusing on important tasks and acting with a clear objective. They also practice advance planning, such as reviewing their schedule the night before and sending out meeting agendas in advance.

They weed out non-essential tasks that could be better served by someone else. They don’t feel guilty about saying no or turning down a request.

2. Stay away from distractions

Top performers know that distractions eat into productivity. Whether it’s checking personal email, completing an online banking transaction or texting your friends, they try to avoid these activities as much as possible.

Clutter in your workspace can also be a major distraction. Organizing your desk and using apps like StayFocused, FocusMe or Self-Control can help you eliminate distractions. So, too can minimizing time spent answering emails and taking frequent breaks.

3. Take risks

Top performers know that even a small risk can lead to big results. They encourage innovation by creating a culture where employees are allowed to try things out.

In our studies, observers rated risk-takers (regardless of the outcome of their work) as being more likely to be promoted and to receive a bonus than those who avoid risks. This is consistent with the literature on negativity bias, loss aversion and attributions.

4. Prioritize self-care

In a culture that champions working hard, top performers often ignore their own physical and mental health. They need to make self-care a priority in order to maintain their effectiveness and performance.

This can be as simple as opening the blinds in the morning to get a dose of sunlight (which can balance cortisol levels) or as complex as taking a weekend trip away from it all.

5. Eat healthily

Top performers eat healthily to keep their bodies and minds healthy. This includes eating plenty of nutrient-rich foods, avoiding sugary snacks that cause energy crashes and not skipping meals.

They also plan their work schedules around when they are most productive. For example, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams works out in the morning to maximize his productivity.

Productive people know it’s not just about managing time; they manage their energy, too. This might mean tackling the most difficult or annoying tasks first, or automating non-essential decisions.

6. Get enough sleep

A good night’s sleep is vital to productive work. You can make this a priority by going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning.

We’ve all seen caffeinated and careworn executives struggle to recall simple facts or reach clear-cut decisions. Leaders can break this downward spiral by embracing sleep training as part of a larger approach to well-being that also includes exercise, nutrition, and mindfulness.

7. Keep a daily to-do list

Top performers use a daily to-do list to prioritize and focus their work. It helps them plan their day the night before to ensure they are working on the most important tasks first.

They also use a system to park new ideas that may become distractions. This way, they can free up their decision-making energy for the most important projects. It’s also important that the items on a daily to-do list are actually achievable.

8. Schedule meetings in advance

Professionals who scored well on productivity tend to do better in advance-planning tasks, reviewing their schedules and sending out meeting agendas. They also know that meetings are only productive if they’re brief and focused.

Circulating an agenda in advance gives participants a chance to review it and prepare for the meeting. It’s also important to ensure that meetings are sensibly timed and allow wiggle room for discussions to continue.

9. Keep a journal

Whether in a traditional journal or digital tools, top performers document their thoughts daily. This helps them identify areas where they need to improve, recap meetings and stay energized throughout the day. They also adhere to the theory of ‘eating the frog first’, which refers to doing your most difficult task early in the day so that it doesn’t get pushed into tomorrow.

10. Take action

Top performers don’t carry the weight of their business on their shoulders – they know when to delegate tasks. They also make time to workout, which improves their mental clarity and focus.

They eat the frog first thing in the morning – that means tackling their most difficult task before anything else, as per motivational speaker Brian Tracy. They also reward themselves as they complete their tasks.

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