Because of the work I do on a daily basis, I get the opportunity to observe many people in their work environment. I see highly efficient people getting on with their work with seemingly little to no effort at all. I also see highly inefficient people complaining about how much work they have to do, how they never get home at a reasonable hour and why all the things that go wrong in their lives are always somebody or something else’s fault.
There are many things I have noticed that indicates to me whether someone is productive or not. One of them is how often they cancel their classes with me. Of course, this could be because I am a terrible teacher and my students do not think they are learning anything useful from me, but the more likely reason is that they are not on top of their game and allow themselves to get distracted by the tiniest of things.
So, here are the five things I have noticed about productive and unproductive people:
1. They write everything down
This one is a classic sign of an organised person. When I am with a student or a client and they make a commitment such as “Okay I will send that to you later today”, if they write it down, I know it will arrive later that day. If they do not write it down, I can be reasonably sure I will have to remind them tomorrow. Organised, productive people write all their commitments down.
2. They use their calendar
This is another tell-tale sign of an organised person. They make full use of their calendar. Before making a commitment, they will check their calendar to make sure they do not have any prior commitment. The less organised person never does this and they end up having to rearrange an appointment and let other people down.
3. They are never late.
This is another classic tell. Organised people understand the importance of being on-time when meeting friends, attending a meeting or arriving at work. Largely because they know what their commitments are and have organised their day around their commitments if they are late for anything it is usually because of outside, unforeseen occurrences such as a traffic accident or mechanical failure of some kind.
4. Their work environment is clean and tidy
Whenever I walk into an office with row upon row of desks, I can instantly tell the organised productive people in that office. The people with clean tidy desks with only the files and work they are currently working on open on their desks are on top of their work. The people with papers, devices, coffee cups and all sorts of other things strewn across their desks are the stressed out unproductive ones who are unable to find what it is they need to do the work.
5. They never complain about how busy they are
Classic sign number 5 and the biggest give away for me, are the people who are always complaining how busy they are. When you are not organised, are not writing down all your commitments and not utilising your calendar, then you are going to spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking about what you have to do and when. All this thinking about what to do next gives the illusion you are busy. On the other hand, if you know exactly what it is you need to do and when, you know where you need to be at any particular time and everything important has been written down in a safe, trusted place, you are not going to feel busy at all.
6. Bonus: Organised productive people are less stressed
This one’s a classic. People who are organised, know where everything is and know what they need to be working on are observably less stressed than their disorganised co-workers. Despite having roughly the same amount of work to do as everyone else, the disorganised easily distracted worker is going be going around telling everyone who will listen how stressed they are because of all the work they have to do. In the meantime, the organised, productive person, is getting on with the work.
So, if you find yourself feeling busy, stressed out and always late for meetings, maybe you could learn a few things from these observances and change some of your behaviours. You might just be surprised how less busy and stressed you start to feel and receive a new lease of life.
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My goal is to help show you how to live the life you desire. To help you find happiness and become better organised and more productive so you can do more of the important things in life.