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9 Habits of Highly Productive Leaders

9 Habits of Highly Productive Leaders
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Nine habits of highly productive people

    There are many definitions of leadership, many quotes from highly revered people that sum up the essence of leadership. Perhaps the most well know is Gandhi’s

    “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

    Lead without title

    But as Leadership expert Robin Sharma has pointed out, you don’t have to have a title to be a leader. He tells us that we all must step up to the mark and be a leader in our own field, even if we work in a team or are self employed.

    When it comes to self leadership it’s about taking control and responsibility for your own circumstances. It’s about stepping forward, instead of stepping back. It’s about raising your hand and not staying in the background. If everyone were to step up and take responsibility the world would be a better place.

    Leadership and productivity

    For me Leadership and Productivity are very closely linked. Productivity is synonymous with getting things done but what few people consciously realize is that it is also synonymous with creativity; and these two elements are essential for effective Leadership. We all know that to achieve anything in life we need to get things done but if we are merely to complete tasks as they come our way this will amount to nothing. We need time for creative and strategic thinking. The most effective leaders are those who have the vision to make the world a better place and have the means through being highly productive to get the job done.

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    Here are 10 suggested habits that can help you become a more productive leader whether you have a title or not.

    1. Have a clear Vision

    Having a crystal clear vision of what you want to achieve which is communicated clearly to all involved will ensure the commitment and motivation are present to achieve the goal.

    2. Have a Workflow System

    A workflow system will allow you to work effectively and creatively by freeing up time to do the work the matters. Understanding the most effective flow of work will ensure that work is not duplicated or distractions don’t interfere with the work that matters.

    3. Take Responsibility

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    Take responsibility for all of your actions and behaviours. Eliminate any victim behavior, Remember that you are the master of your fate.

    4. Work Your Body

    All of the worlds high achievers work out regularly, Obama, Bush, Branson, all know the benefits of regular exercise for stamina, for performance and for productivity. It is one of the best habits you can adopt to become more productive. The extra energy that you gain from working out along with the de-stressing effect will enhance your productivity and performance more than any other habit.

    5 Relax Your Body

    Along with exercise the body needs rest, relaxation and plenty of sleep to perform at its best. Meditation and Yoga can also help to relax and de-stress the body.

    6. Value your Time

    Delegate, outsource and share your work.

    “Only do what only you can do.”

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    Your time is too precious to waste so only use it to do the work that no one else can do for you.

    7. Become a good Listener

    If you lead other people it is essential to listen well but you will also find that if you listen well it can make you more productive by eliminating duplication of work or misunderstandings that can lead to unessential work being completed.

    8. Be the best you can be

    Always do your best and you will have no regrets. Success doesn’t come to those who sit and wait, it is necessary to work towards your vision. Engage with your vision, keep taking action.

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    “Nothing will work unless you do.”

    Maya Angelou

    9. Make time for Thinking

    In order to excel at what you do, You must make time for thinking. Creative thinking and strategic thinking. This is one of the biggest mistakes people in business make. They are too busy with day to day tasks that they forget to plan, to innovate, to dream. And without these factors there will never be growth or involvement, simply stagnation.

    So step up and take the lead and start to make your life make a difference.

    (Photo credit: Number Rainbow Lights Glitter with Sparkles via Shutterstock)

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    More by this author

    Ciara Conlon

    Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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