5 differences between average and uber-productive people

Sara Caputo — №21 with Pat Flynn

What is it that highly productive people really do that makes the difference? Sure, they stave off procrastination, and, of course, they often wake up earlier in the morning than their counterparts — but what is really underneath their increased levels of productivity day after day?

As a productivity consultant and coach, I have worked with thousands of individuals on this very topic. Here is what I have found: there are five key things that highly productive people do differently than your average person. Think of each of these things as points to a star. And, as you know, stars stand apart from the rest of the crowd.

Understanding that everything is a choice

People who are uber-productive don’t complain about what they have to do or need to get done. They understand at a deeper level that everything (no matter who is doling out work to them) is a choice in the end. Think about it. Even when you are told you must do something, your choices regarding how you do it, when you do it, and where you do it have a massive impact on the success of its completion. Those choices are all within one’s control. Once you get this, work and other life have-to’s become much less oppressive and stressful.

Believing their brains are connected to their bodies

Productivity, and all that goes with it, starts in your brain. Uber-productive people understand that their mind is their greatest asset when it comes to increasing productivity. They realize that working with and training their minds ultimately will give them a competitive edge. Meditation activates the part of your brain responsible for creativity and intuition, as well as helping to get blood flowing back to the part of the brain responsible for helping to make the best decisions. I call that a pretty small investment for big results. An excellent return on investment, or ROI, if you will. Uber-productive people also understand how proper nutrition at the right times and plenty of sleep nurture their mind, bodies, and souls. They know these to be the true building blocks to a higher level of stamina.

Listening to others and course correcting as needed

Easier said than done, right? We all want to be good at this, but the uber-productive person knows that this is at the core of working smarter, not harder. The prime example for the fastest way to get there is to stop talking and start listening. Listening is an acquired skill, and most people do way more talking than listening. In life and in work, it’s imperative to critically listen and then course correct as needed. Uber-productive managers know that their best solutions come from their team, and if they ask the right questions and stop talking, they’ll get all the information they need.

Intentionally letting things go

In order to get to the things that matter, something has to be let go. It just can’t be any other way. The biggest plea I hear from people when engaged in a coaching relationship with them is, “I want to get more done in my day.” My immediate response is, “What are you willing to let go?” This feels counterproductive to the average person, but to an uber-productive person, this makes perfect sense, like balancing out a mathematical equation. Figure out what can be let go and then intentionally let it go. The uber-productive among us prune and curate what’s in front of them; they decide what is not going to happen or what can or needs to be delegated. You know the song from Frozen, Let it Go? Yeah, do that!

Trusting the process

When asked for my best piece of advice, my favorite response is “Trust the process.” These are three powerful words, and it’s what uber-productive people do all the time — from trusting the systems and structures they created, to trusting they know when it’s the right time to let something go, and to trusting the process of their life unfolding on the right path at its own pace. It’s all relevant. When a highly productive person is on the right path, trusting the process, life becomes easier. They are possibly happier, and getting the things done when they are supposed to be with optimal efficiency becomes a breeze.

Remember, uber-productive people are made, not born. Sure, some come to it easier than others, but uber-productive people work at their high-efficiency status. They struggle. They practice. And, they keep on shining the five points of their productivity star.

Photo: Flickr / Boston Public Library CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Sara caputo

Sara Caputo

A dynamic productivity coach, consultant, and trainer based in Santa Barbara, California. She has diverse experience in group process facilitation, project management, and team development. She is the founder of Radiant Organizing and author of the e-book The Productivity Puzzle: What’s Your Missing Piece?

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