Two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time – same thing with a habit. if you want to break it – replace it.
Productive people get all the kudos at work.
They are well awarded. They are on the top list when the next pay raise is given. And they have the highest chance of getting promoted.
So what makes these people productive? What makes them special that management loves them?
After managing people for 7 years, I could spot the difference between a productive and a non-productive employee one mile away.
It’s not about being a total kiss-ass to their boss, nor it’s about bringing down their co-workers telling gossips to get ahead.
It’s about the quality of their work that everyone sees and appreciates.
And if you’re not getting those kudos, pay raise and promotion, it’s time to reinvent yourself by applying the 5 traits of productive people below.
They Plan Ahead
Planning is very important. It will save you time and make you more productive by accomplishing additional tasks. Through planning, you will be able to come up with ideas to accomplish assigned responsibilities in the shortest possible time.
Planning will make you mind active and creative. At times you won’t be able to finish certain projects within a given time frame. But by delegating some of the tasks to your co-workers, or by discussing it with your superior, you can come up with a solution that will be beneficial to all.
So before you begin the day, get a sheet of paper. Write down the things you need to accomplish. Once you have done that start prioritizing them.
Try to finish the most important and urgent matters first. Then make your way doing the less important ones towards the end of the day.
They Don’t Procrastinate
After working for 20 years, I have met employees who love to procrastinate. They spend countless hours on not-so-important things. And they only start focusing on their job once the due date is nearing.
Since their job was not properly done, the result of their work is not going to be exceptional.
Unless they are really good, they can produce an excellent report within a day or two which typically requires finishing it in a week; which of course is not the case.
Some co-workers whom I have left behind are still stuck in the same position where I left them.
And like what I mentioned earlier, management could spot a good report from a bad one.
They Follow a Checklist
Following a checklist is very important. This will assure you that you will not miss a thing. Make a checklist of everything that you do. Apply it to your daily activities, weekly and monthly activities as well.
If you’re in finance, these will include, posting of payments, paying taxes, preparing monthly or annual reports.
Having a checklist will make you aware of the things that need to be done.
During my early years in the corporate world, I didn’t maintain any checklists. I was so confident I thought I could remember everything I need to do. But most of the times I miss certain important tasks.
As I got promoted, my responsibilities increased. And it was not until I missed to submit one important report that I started building checklists. I almost lost my job during that time.
Today I have checklists for everything; I have one at home, I have one at work and I have one when I write. Each time I do something in my life (like studies for higher learning) I immediately create a to-do-list checklist.
They Ask Questions
I always encourage my staff to ask questions especially if something is not clear to them. Good communication means asking when you don’t understand something.
Miscommunication happens because the intent of the speaker was not thoroughly understood by the listener. If this happens, any project that will be carried out following the miscommunicated instruction will be incorrect at the beginning.
Productive people start projects correctly. If everything has been communicated well, the project will be completed on time following specifics and instructions correctly.
But if a project was started incorrectly, then a huge amount of resources will be wasted. So try to clarify and ask if there is something unclear.
They Avoid Doing Personal Stuff
The easiest way to lose focus and motivation is to do personal stuff at work. You are wasting your time and cheating the company. Keep in mind the company is paying you to work.
Of course you take personal calls for a couple of minutes. But if you talk over the phone for 15 minutes or more then that is considered abuse.
What about chatting, texting, facebook and surfing the Internet. These activities swallow up time real fast.
If you want to become productive, avoid unnecessary activities at work. Focus on your job. Your superiors will eventually find out because your output will speak for itself.
They Educate Themselves Continuously
Education should not stop even after you finish school. You must always arm yourself with technical knowledge and current events.
Technology is evolving, economy is growing and the world is changing. You should be able to adapt to these kinds of evolvements, growths and changes. You should be aware with what’s going on around you.
Productive people educate themselves constantly. They read books about their expertise. They read and watch the news. They read articles and blog posts. And they will devour anything that will improve themselves.
Start changing your lifestyle at work. Unstuck yourself from your old habits.
If you have been accustomed doing facebook in the morning, change that. If you have been used to chatting, stop it. If you spend too much time talking with a co-worker in the pantry, control yourself.
Focus on your job and spend your time wisely.
By following these 5 powerful secret traits, I guarantee your productivity will increase by two fold.
It may not be easy at first. Your body will resist. You will feel discomfort. But the only way to succeed is to get out of your comfort zone.
And just like any habit, once you keep on doing them, will soon become part of you.
To recap everything which you have learned, let me share you my story.
I was assigned a special project during the early days of my managerial career. Since nobody want to take the project, I volunteered to do it.
It was due 30 days hence so I started immediately. I need an allowance just in case something goes wrong (avoiding procrastination).
Since the topic was new to me, I started listing down the things and people that I need (planning ahead). I listed the books I have to use as reference. I started writing down names of people whom I have to interview. And I researched the Internet for articles regarding the topic (education).
Each time I encounter vague parts of the project I went immediately to our Boss to clarify it (ask questions).
I finished the project 10 days earlier. I spent another day polishing the reports and submitted them the day after. The Boss was satisfied. Eventually he gave me additional projects to work on. I never complained but accepted it as way to educate myself and enhance my skills. And by the end of the year, I was smiling when I received my bonus.