Have you ever heard the expression, when it absolutely has to get done, give it to the busiest person you know? At first glance, that statement seems counterintuitive, however, the reality is that it’s a universal truth, regardless of whether the productivity is related to business, school, athletics, work or home. We’ve all seen people who are so enormously productive, they seem to effortlessly run circles around everybody else. You know who they are, they’re the people you visit at random times, and no matter what time of day or night it is, their house always looks the same, perfect. What is their secret? Not only are they productive at work, but they also have kids or grandkids and still find the time to do volunteer work, go on vacations, have friends and enjoy life. Were these people born that way, with productivity superpowers? Who are they and what can we learn from these folks?
We all want to know how to get more done in a day and especially when it comes to a performance-based pay career such as ours. High productivity skills are directly correlated to both higher pay and more free disposable time. The Pareto principle or better known as the 80/20 rule, applies to business and personal life. For sales organizations, it means that 20% of the reps generate 80% of the sales results. The same is true for our virtual call center, 80% of the leads generated, are produced by 20% of the lead generators. This article examines some of the qualities these super productive people have in common.
Work first, play later.
One trait highly productive people have in common is a work first, play later work ethic. We’re not talking about workaholics. These people make time for play too. They keep the discipline of clearing out their tasks first in order to mentally enjoy their leisure time. If something is hard to do, they get it done. If they don’t want to do it, they get it done. They spend zero time avoiding it, worrying about it, complaining about it, fighting about it, lobbying for a different way to get it done, making excuses about it, defending it, rescheduling it or thinking about it. They just go straight to the task and get it done.
Napoleon Hill said, “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right. Start where you stand, and work whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.”
Do it right the first time.
Highly productive people have their own built in sense of quality control. It’s not that they are perfect. They make mistakes too like everybody else, but they spend less time doing damage control and recovering from mistakes because they have a tendency to get it right the first time. They are hyper vigilant when it comes to details and accuracy. They check their own work before moving on to the next task. They show us that it is possible to produce both quality and quantity results.
We’ve all seen people who have a habit of pretending to get things done just so they can move the item off their desk whether at school or at work, such as fake cleaning the house by throwing everything in the closet. The result of this approach ultimately creates more work and is the opposite of being productive. The culprit pays a price, but often this type of slip-shoddery causes others to pay a price as well. Highly productive people respect their own time and have a respect for time itself.
Highly productive people avoid drama and the various ways in which drama can manifest itself into either our business or personal life experience. There are plenty of stress-causing circumstances that can’t be avoided, such as a global pandemic, without borrowing needless drama. Highly productive people do not engage in gossip. They do not stay stuck in anger and resentment. They avoid energy vampires. They do not wallow in self-pity. They look toward the future and ways to move forward even in the face of bad things happening.
An early mentor said to me, “When you let your emotions get the best of you, you’ve already lost.” These words ring true, are easy to understand, but not always as easy to do.
Guidance from the famous prose poem Desiderata, from the Latin- “things desired” comes to mind. Max Ehrmann wrote 646 timeless words in 1920 that are as important and useful today as they were then. You can read them at www.desiderata.com. He wrote this elegant poem for his daughter, and then my mom gave me a copy of the poem when I was in middle school, however, this poem was written in my grandmother’s generation. Max Ehrmann was an American lawyer and poet from Indiana. His words are the kind of “truth” that makes the “truth bumps” stand up on your arm. With the current events of our nation and going into the new year 2021, it’s a good time to read this poem again.
Giving it to the busiest person you know makes sense when you think of it in terms of momentum. People who are already getting a lot of things done, have a system in place that makes them highly productive. Giving it to a person who is barely functioning is not a sensible strategy from the perspective of momentum. If the person has a track record of not getting much done, what logic is there to think the person will suddenly become highly productive? Once you’re in the zone, keeping the momentum going is much easier than giving birth to something from nothing. That’s why, when it absolutely has to get done, give it to the busiest person you know. If you’re reading this now, maybe you are one of those rare, highly productive people. Welcome 2021 and Happy New Year.