8 Qualities of Highly Productive People

Sinem Günel
Mar 10, 2019 · 6 min read
Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash

While the vast majority of the world’s population has probably never thought about increasing their performance or productivity, there is a group of people that is constantly striving for progress.

Wanting to perform better, get more done, deliver more results, succeed in many ways.

Those are probably the people who have read Tim Ferris’ 4-Hour Workweek, know Gary Vaynerchuk’s hustle mentality and are after building something bigger every day.

These people have a mission, something that is bigger than themselves. They are chasing to build something that has an impact on people’s lives.

At the same time, people with big dreams are the ones who are constantly working on optimizing themselves.

Building strong habits is one of the keys when talking about self-optimization.

The right habits can help you to save time, energy and willpower.

Here are 8 Qualities of Highly Productive People:

1.) Cutting away the unimportant

Especially if you are an entrepreneur, you will know how important priorities are.

We are constantly faced with the challenge of deciding what to do and what to postpone or neglect.

Highly productive people are doing great when it comes to focusing on the important.

I have recently published an article on the habits of happy people according to Warren Buffett and during my research, I came across Buffetts principle when it comes to setting priorities and focusing:

Buffetts 5/25 rule is a strategy to find out your own focus.

For this method, you just have to write down 25 things that you want to do and achieve in your life.

Next, you find your top five.

Once you know, what your top five priorities are, you completely focus on them.

You forget the rest, you discard the other 20 ideas and possibilities and focus all your energy on your top five.

Another way to set priorities is the Eisenhower Matrix.

This is basically a chart where you can organize your tasks according to urgency and importance.

According to the Eisenhower Matrix you first focus on your tasks that are important and urgent, you schedule urgent but unimportant tasks, delegate important tasks that are not urgent and forget about all the rest.


2.) Allocate breaks strategically

Besides setting the right priorities, highly productive people also know when to schedule breaks.

Overworking and not caring for your own health cannot end up in satisfying results.

That’s why you always have to keep an eye on your health but also on your business to see if a break is needed.

Sometimes, taking a break from the everyday business can be eye-opening and a great way to indicate new opportunities.

On the other side, also during your everyday work-life, you should schedule short breaks to ensure great productivity.

Moving your body, nourishing with great food and drinking lots of water is part of these breaks.

What also works wonders for me, when it comes to increasing my productivity is the Pomodoro Technique.

To make use of the Pomodoro Technique you set a timer to 25 minutes and focus on one task without any distraction.

Then you make a 5-minute break before again working without any distraction for 25 minutes.


3.) Remove all Productivity Killers

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Nowadays we are surrounded by distractions all the time.

If you want to be highly efficient and productive, you have to get rid of any sort of distraction that might come into your way.

Especially, remove everything that is not work-related from your desk.

Turn off notifications.

Get rid of applications and other distracting pop-ups.

Prepare everything that you need to get your work done in advance so that you can perform effectively once you start with the work.


4.) Source of Inspiration

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

If we are honest, everybody has times when he is demotivated and needs some inspiration.

What differentiates highly productive people is that they have clear sources of inspiration that work for them.

This might be a walk outside, a vision board with all their goals and dreams or a quick talk to an important person.

How you exactly get motivated and inspired is not crucial.

What is important, however, is that you have your own source of inspiration that you can come back to once you lack motivation.


5.) Don’t make yourself too accessible

Also here, I want to make use of a great article explaining how Warren Buffet explains the key to being successful.

In this article Michael Simmons explains that according to Buffett, saying No is a key for success.

If you are an entrepreneur, especially in the beginnings it can be tempting to join a lot of events, network and say yes to every opportunity that arises.

However, what differentiates highly productive people is that they don’t make themselves too accessible.

They focus on the relevant and on increasing their own performance.

Sure, collaborations and sometimes saying yes to a project can be a huge door opener, but if you say yes to everything and are too open, you will never be able to be in a state of high productivity on the long run.


6.) Optimizing Time Pockets

Photo by Sonja Langford on Unsplash

Highly productive people know how to make use of every minute.

There are so many opportunities to optimize the usage of free time throughout your day.

Even during your commute to work, while sitting in a waiting room or doing your groceries, you can use your time wisely.

My most favorite ways to make use of this spare time is educating myself through podcasts and audiobooks.

This way, I can consume high-quality content which is a great source of inspiration instead of losing time.


7.) Setting Timelines and Deadlines

If you are working on becoming more productive and efficient, timelines and deadlines must soon become your best friends.

Especially Parkinson’s Law is a concept that you will have to be aware of when it comes to increasing your productivity.

Parkinson’s law is the adage that “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.

Most people get overwhelmed by completing tasks and to-do’s because they work too much on the tiny details which are not necessarily important.

Increasing your productivity should definitely not mean delivering bad results, however, getting lost in the details and spending too much time with perfectionism can be your #1 productivity killer.

Good is good enough.


8.) Automation

Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

Last but not least, what highly productive people have in common is that they are constantly working on automating processes and workflows.

Once you know your goals and set up certain strategies on what needs to be done in order to achieve them there are many ways on how to optimize and automate your processes.

This can be done through outsourcing, delegation or simple automation through technology.

The easiest and cheapest way to outsource small tasks is to make use of freelancing platforms like Fiverr.

If you truly want to become more productive, take a look at your day and identify all the tasks that you work on, which you could automate.

Once you manage to automate those tasks, you can focus on things that have more impact on your projects, goals and yourself.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by +432,678 people.

Subscribe to receive our top stories here.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +564K people. Follow to join our community.

Sinem Günel

Written by

Coach, Mentor & Speaker. I write about personal growth, mindset, productivity & social media. 🇦🇹 🇹🇷 My daily journey: http://bit.ly/dailysinem

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +564K people. Follow to join our community.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade