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8 Things Super-Achievers Routinely Do To Be Insanely Productive

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8 Things Super-Achievers Routinely Do To Be Insanely Productive

The super-achievers amaze the normal people in every way possible. They have the same 24 hours per day that an average Joe has, but they manage to use those hours much more effectively.

Oftentimes, they not only thrive in one particular area but develop incredibly well in most of the fields. Be it mental and physical health, relationships and social life or business and career, these individuals manage them all in an exceptionally good way.

Now, to avoid creating a picture of a perfect human in your mind, these people tend to fail as well. In reality, they fail a lot. However, what separates them from the crowd is embracing the learning process and taking notes from every breakdown.

So it is no surprise that these confident people have eight things they regularly do, which all have a tremendous impact on their productivity.

1. They work out daily (yes, daily).

Don’t get me wrong, they don’t complete a hardcore training session every single day. It can just as well be stretching, low-impact cardio or yoga. The key message here is not the way of exercising, but the fact that top performers realize the importance of treating their bodies like a temple.

Whereas typical people tend take care of their physical health intermittently, high-achievers set it as one of their highest priorities.

Let’s take Barack Obama as an example. Although there are countless people in his team that contribute a lot to his daily effectiveness, there’s still no doubt that he’s among the elite of super-achievers.

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And do you know how his day starts?

It begins with a workout session, of course. If the president of United States is able to find an hour a day for working out, there’s no reasonable excuse you could use for not doing it yourself (unless you don’t care about increasing your productivity).

2. They schedule their days wisely and strategically.

I’m sure you already know that to-do lists are unbelievably helpful. Nonetheless, just throwing a few things you wish to accomplish at a sheet of paper or in your calendar app won’t get you too far.

If this strategy would work well, the majority of people would achieve their new year’s resolutions. In reality, however, almost 40% never make them.

In his book, “The One Thing”, Gary Keller shares one of the most crucial lessons to productivity. To find out your one thing, you need to ask yourself a very important question; namely, what’s the one thing I can do, that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

Once you determine that very thing, you’ll already be ahead of the majority of wannabe productivity freaks.

What you need to do is realize and then apply the difference between being effective and being efficient. Whereas plenty of people want to be more efficient, which means doing things the right way, the super-achievers focus on being effective, also known as doing the right thing.

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3. They plan a daily session for learning.

The process of becoming a super achiever is a long journey. Some people claim it’s given, but in reality, it’s earned through constant attempts of getting better after each failure. You can’t just sit down and expect to experience a sudden stroke of genius.

What you can do, however, is learn something new every single day. While wealth is not necessarily the number one factor when it comes to determining success, it definitely is a sign of productivity, effectiveness and achievement.

When asked about their reading habits, almost 90% of wealthy people said they read on a daily basis. Reading is one of the most simple ways to improve. Whatever your current toughie is, there’s at least one decent book discussing the issue and offering the answers you look for.

I can’t stress out how many times I’ve experienced a moment of enlightenment during reading, listening to a podcast or watching an educational video.

4. They separate themselves from the negative energy.

If you surround yourself with negative people who waste their time and complain a lot, there’s no way you’ll ever become successful. Super-achievers understand that they are the average of the five people they spend the most time with.

When your goal is to become more productive, the best source of inspiration and motivation to keep going is finding like-minded individuals who also embraced the journey of self-improvement.

It’s not an accident that super successful people know each other and join hands. They inspire and learn from each other, while at the same time removing the toxic environment from their lives.

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5. They leave their comfort zone day after day.

If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that top performers aren’t afraid of being uncomfortable in order to achieve long-term success. Instead of choosing instant pleasure, they are able to hold off on the gratification and experience a vein of discomfort.

The reason behind it are the amazing things which will happen once you step out of your comfort zone.

Great things never come from laying on the couch and eating your favorite ice cream. They happen once you decide to take action and challenge yourself on a daily basis.

If you are a newbie, there’s no need to start big. Choose one activity which causes discomfort and question your ability to do it. My favorite one is taking a freezing cold shower, preferably at the times I least want them.

6. They have a morning routine.

A morning routine is what helps you to run your day the way you want. Your morning actually determines the rest of your day. That’s why the highly successful people pay a lot of attention to their morning rituals.

Once you wake up, there’s no need to rush but you can’t linger either. Including a morning routine to my daily schedule made a huge difference. Personally, once I wake up, I make my bed immediately, then I head to the kitchen to drink a glass of water. Next is in the bathroom and the day then begins with a cold shower.

There’s an interesting correlation I noticed, though. Whenever I neglect to stick to my routines, my productivity legitimately suffers and I can’t get anything done.

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7. They use proper systems.

Instead of relying purely on their motivation levels, high-achievers depend on the right systems, which help to automate their daily routines.

The vast majority of people can’t use the technology in their favor. Social media, mobile games or pointless news apps distract them day after day. On the opposite side, though, are top performers who use technology to make their lives easier.

Applications and software help them to manage their time, cut off distractions, get more done and have a better overview of their progress.

This list will help you to get started (remember, the key isn’t to get them all, but to adopt the ones that work for you).

8. They say no consistently.

Being able to say no at the right moment is a skill which can guarantee you wealth, health and happiness. It’s not easy to learn but it’s absolutely possible. Saying no to one thing is actually saying yes to the other.

Say yes to exercise and diet and you will say no to being out of shape. This rules applies to every area of your life. Saying yes to being insanely productive involves saying no to a lot of things, such as distractions and needless commitments.

In addition to that, super achievers refuse to seek others’ approval. By doing so, they ensure that with each no they say, they won’t experience any doubts about their decisions.

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Featured photo credit: Phil Roeder via flickr.com

More by this author

Oskar Nowik

Oskar is a blogger and the author of "Brightening: The Positive Attitude That Will Change Your Life"

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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Are You Addicted to Productivity?

“It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

“Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

“The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

This is my mantra:

I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

Addiction to Productivity is Real

Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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“A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

“It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

“A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

“There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

“For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

  • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
  • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
  • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
  • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
  • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
  • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
  • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

1. Set Limits

Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

2. Create a Not-to-Do List

Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

3. Be Vulnerable

By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

5. Don’t Be a Copycat

Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

6. Say Yes to Less

Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

“In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

“That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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  • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
  • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
  • Establish realistic goals.
  • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
  • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
  • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

8. Simplify

Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

9. Learn How to Relax

“Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

“But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

“And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

  • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
  • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
  • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
  • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
  • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
  • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
  • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
  • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
  • Visit a massage therapist.
  • Just breathe.

“Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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