One of the critical factors of business success has to do with productivity. As a leader, if you’re able to meet deadlines and consistently stay productive with other tasks, you’ll have an easier time building your brand. However, only some leaders are productive; several have poor habits that hinder their success. These habits negatively have a direct influence on productivity. For example, if you habitually procrastinate, your ability to complete work on time will suffer. But some leaders have mastered productivity, which has allowed them to excel in life. They credit their good habits as the reason why they’re so productive.

Today, we’ll explore ten (10) habits of highly productive leaders. These are listed in no particular order because all are equally important in increasing productivity.


1) Organize Your Day

Productive leaders prioritize their day so that the most important things are done first. Doing this will help you stay on top of your end goal, ensuring that each completed task moves you closer to achieving your objective. Create a list of essential tasks to be completed the night before so you know exactly how to start your morning the day. Think about it; you don’t want to spend an hour working, trying to figure out what you should be doing, right? This cuts into your productivity, and the pressure of starting work might cause you to forget something important you need to complete.

There are some excellent tools you can utilize to help you organize your day. For example, use tools like Evernote and online/mobile applications like Todoist to organize your work and declutter your life.


2) Utilize the Right Tools

Do a quick Google search, and you will find several productivity-boosting tools to help you stay on top of your game. Work is becoming more complex since communication channels are growing, your ability to network has broadened, and client demands are changing due to increased competition. It would help if you found a way to manage all of these changes effectively to ensure everything gets done on time.

Consider using tools like SaneBox to help manage overwhelming email messages, and implement autoresponders to lower the number of emails you need to respond to. Use Trello’s boards, lists, and cards to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible, and rewarding way.


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3) The Pomodoro Technique

Sometimes, leaders get burned out; the quality of their work suffers, ultimately lowering their productivity. Use productivity techniques like Pomodoro to help avoid burnout and manage your time more efficiently.

This technique involves working in 25-minute blocks with short 5-minute breaks in between. So, after 25 minutes, you take a short 5-minute break. Each work block should be highly focused, without any distractions. And, when taking a break, you must move away from your work. Working this way will significantly improve your productivity, making each minute count.

source: howstuffworks.com


4) Eliminate Distractions

One of the best ways to stay productive is to work in a place without any distractions. Think about how often you check your phone during work or how many times you answer calls in the middle of a project. A two-minute distraction can cause you to lose focus, which you’ll then have to regain, decreasing your productivity. Productive leaders know the negative impact of having distractions close by, so they’ll avoid them at all costs. So the next time you sit down to work, silence your phone, turn off the TV, and find a quiet place to work. You can also utilize your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” function.



5) Exercise

A 20-minute run in the morning will increase the flow of endorphins in your blood. These are your body’s natural painkillers and have been proven to increase focus, motivation, and energy. Specifically, A-endorphins are neurotransmitters just like dopamine and serotonin. Together with dopamine and serotonin, endorphins lower stress and fight off depression, allowing you to stay more optimistic at work and in life.

I recommend exercising first thing in the morning, so you get it out of the way. (It will also jumpstart your day!)


6) Batch Your Work Together

Switching from task to task significantly reduces productivity by up to 40%. As you start working on a project, you focus on every aspect. Try to maintain this focus because you’ll need help getting it back. The last thing you want to do is start a project due in two hours, then jump to another one, which takes all your time and energy.

Instead, it’s better to batch work together. Break down projects into similar tasks, and schedule these tasks together. That way, you’ll complete the project on time— (maybe even earlier!). For example, on Monday, work on Project A., Tuesday, Project B, and so forth. This method will ensure you give 100% of your focus and energy to the project you’re working on that day.


7) Say “No.”

I don’t mean all the time, just during work hours. Because saying “Yes” means leaving your priorities to help others achieve theirs. Imagine working on a task, and someone asks you for help, which takes 5 hours of your time. You come back tired, unable to focus, and remain productive. This will hurt your bottom line! It would help if you got into the habit of saying “No” when you are working on something that’s important enough to affect your overall success. Saying “No” will also give you a chance to take time to reevaluate what’s being asked of you. You’ll have time to think it through, not rush the decision, which can end poorly.


8) Enjoy Time Off

Getting burned out at work will destroy your productivity and affect the quality of work being done. For this reason, move away from work on your days off and enjoy the things you love to do (i.e. spending time with family, going out with friends, reading, etc.) Cutting out some time for yourself will recharge your battery and prepare you for the work ahead. As a result, you’ll not only be relaxed, energized, and motivated but also productive and focused, performing to your best abilities.



9) Passion Matters

Highly productive leaders love what they do; this keeps them motivated even when faced with adversity. To keep pushing forward, you need to love what you do, or you’ll give up when faced with difficulties. Being passionate about your work motivates you to jump out of bed in the morning and be an effective leader. As the late Steve Jobs said,

“You’ve got to find what you love,” Jobs said. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”- stanford.edu


10) Measure Results

Productive leaders know what works and what doesn’t. They have the right tools to measure results and can make tweaks to achieve their bottom line. In the end, if you are working and not achieving your desired outcome, you are wasting time instead of making progress. You can only progress if you can move forward. So ask yourself this question: How can you adjust your course so you’re headed in a better direction? It would help if you asked yourself this question every day so you can adjust your course the next day to achieve better results, ultimately increasing your productivity.


Final Thoughts

Your ability to stay productive in a competitive world is the difference between success and failure. But productivity starts with the habits you build in your life. The better your habits, the more productive leader you are at work; you’ll have an easier time motivating employees and building your brand. However, if you have poor habits, you’ll have a more challenging time conquering your goals and motivating your team to stay focused.

Start with the list above, going through each habit and marking off the ones you need to improve or already have checked off. This will give you a better idea of how close you are to those truly productive leaders who run successful companies. The one remarkable characteristic of habits is that, with practice, they can be built into a vital productive tool. However, just as quickly as they can be gained, they can be lost. So, make a conscious effort to enforce these productive habits daily, as doing so will increase your leadership skills.

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