6 things that highly productive people all have in common.

A million things to do and zero free time? We’ve all been there.

Right now, I have five assignments to do, including a 3,000-word law essay on a topic that will take about 2,500 words just to explain.

I also have three other articles to write for work, at least 17 uni readings to catch up on, dinner to make, chipped nail polish to remove, a bootcamp to go to and some life admin to sort.

I also really need to go to the bank, the post office, the supermarket, the beautician and a hairdresser.

So what am I doing?

Rewatching season four of Entourage (I’ve seen the series a bunch of times, but hey, maybe I missed a particularly funny moment the first few times?!?) and cutting Post-it notes into pretty shapes. Also eating my way through all the food in the pantry that I don’t even like.

Makes sense. Yeah.

If you can relate to the above – and let’s be honest, you definitely can – then you’re probably a procrastinator. In fact, you’re probably procrastinating right now by reading this article instead of doing whatever you’re supposed to be doing.

Luckily for you, this article may actually help with your procrastinating habits. Here are the seven things productive people all have in common – and seven things that you might want to consider introducing to your life. I’m certainly going to introduce them so that I can maybe, possibly get everything done before 2015 rolls around.

Yep, they’re busy. But they also prioritise to keep things under control.

1. They’re busy.

If you’re really, really, really ridiculously busy, you simply don’t have time to muck around. There are no, literally no hours in the day to waste, so you just carry on. You know that if you spend an hour browsing pretty watches on shopping websites, it’s an hour that will come out of precious sleep time. And you already only sleep four hours a day – so that can’t happen.

2. They prioritise.

The hours at the very beginning of your day are the most productive. That’s why it’s vital to look at what you need to get done on a particular day and get the most important task well out of the way in those early hours.

3. They eat breakfast.

Speaking of those early hours, they’re not going to be particularly productive unless you provide fuel for your brain and for your body. Breakfast is important, as so is keeping hydrated – you have considerably less energy when you’re dehydrated.


4. They don’t let themselves get distracted.

Distractions are to productivity what termites are to timber. Distractions are what make you look at your clock and do a double-take when you realise that four hours have passed you by and you have done NOTHING.

Shut down social media distractions and don’t let yourself access websites that have nothing to do with what you’re doing. There’s a bunch of apps that will help with this – Dark Room, Anti-Social, Rescue Time, WriteRoom and Leechblock.

5. They especially don’t let themselves get distracted by emails.

Emails are the time-suck to beat all time-sucks. Think about how much time you spend in a day reading and responding to emails. Too much, right?

Think about how you can minimise the amount of time you spend dealing with emails. If you can check your emails only a few times a day, make sure you do – don’t have them constantly popping up and distracting you. And if you must check emails all day, try to only reply to those which require a super-quick response and then get them out of your inbox. Leave the most time-sucking ones for later and dedicate yourself to them rather than trying to multitask.

6. Give yourself breaks.

Guess what? Productive people take breaks. You can thank us later for this news…

No good story ever started with, “So I sat at my computer for 12 hours straight and didn’t move from my chair or look up from the screen once.”

Bad for brain. Bad for focus. Bad for eyesight. Bad for everything.

7. They take advantage of wasted time.

Yes, you’ve got to relax every so often. But think about all the hours of your day that are also wasted while you’re sitting on buses, or sitting in your car waiting to work.

Truly productive people fill those hours somehow – not by staring aimlessly into space, but listening to podcasts, books or TED talks that further their minds and inspire them to do more with their lives.

If you’re stuck for a good podcast, This American Life is an amazing start.

What little productivity tips & tricks do you have?