How to Be More Productive: 35 Habits of the Creatively Prolific [MIND MAP]
Do you ever wish you could get more done during the day? If there’s anyone who knows how to make the most out of her time, it’s Anna Vital, an entrepreneur who lived in seven different countries in 2013, including three months spent living in a remote village in India, while managing to get her work done. Half of the brains behind Funders and Founders, Vital mapped the 35 habits that led her to ultimate productivity. Here are her habits grouped by category.
As helpful as technology is for getting our work done, it can also be one of our biggest distractions. Vital recommends spending no more than one minute responding to an email and to avoid replying to emails you can’t understand. And though you might feel out of the loop if you tune out the news, you’ll come to find you’re not missing much: important things don’t happen very often. Finally, Vital recommends that you only answer your phone for emergencies (true emergencies are rare, she stresses) and that you use keyboard shortcuts.
Like other successful leaders, including Steve Jobs, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg, Vital wears the same thing every day. By wearing smart fabrics, carrying an all-occasion outfit on her at all times and discarding what she no longer uses, Vital removes a lot of trivial decisions and clutter from her daily routine.
When you’re working on new ideas, always try to visualize your end product, and don’t wait until you feel ready to start. If you’re in doubt, assume you’re right – this will increase your productivity. To help yourself out of a mind block, make a mind map. If you’re having trouble putting an idea into words, record it with your voice instead. And whenever you read something helpful, make a habit of writing to the author!
Manage anxiety through stress-reducing physical activities like running and swimming. Sleep more, and you’ll get more done. And don’t be afraid to take a nap when your energy is running low.
Besides wearing a uniform, another way to minimize trivial decisions in your daily routine is to actually set a daily routine. Little things like doing the easiest thing first every day and prioritizing one item each day can go far when it comes to reaching your goals. Avoid attending meetings where decisions aren’t made, and remember: done is better than perfect.
Routinizing your diet can help you move at a regular pace every day. Make sure you eat healthy food, feel free to order delivery if it saves time and, if you frequently work at a cafe, try to negotiate a daily deal for added savings or comfort.
Vital suggests a number of best practices for preparing your mind for success. It’s important to remove as many distractions as possible, which will allow you to treat your time like you treat your money and focus on the important rather than the urgent. One way to do this is by removing trivial decisions like what to wear and what to eat. Another is to learn to ignore things – not everything needs to be responded to. If you continuously come up with new ideas but currently have no time to work on them, you can jot them down in what Vital calls an “idea dump” journal. When it comes down to getting your work done, decide the outcome before starting, and don’t be afraid to do a bad first draft – after all, you can’t edit a blank page. Finally, acknowledge the 80/20 rule of productivity: think about which 20% of your work produces 80% of the result.
What habits do you have for being productive?