7 Habits of Highly Productive People

By Ted Behr, M. Ed., CPCC, ACC

Today I want to look at some ways that you can increase your productivity.

World renowned author Stephen R. Covey first published the concept of habits of highly productive people in 1989 in his “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”   Here he presented an approach to being effective in attaining goals by aligning oneself to what he calls “true north” principles of a character ethic that are universal and timeless.

As you read through this list of habits to improve productivity, take the time to rate yourself on a scale of 1-5, 1 being “I’m not that strong at this one” and 5 being, “I’ve got this one down.”

Habit number 1 is Proactivity.

Productive people take initiative and move toward their goals. They don’t wait for inspiration to strike, but rather start RIGHT NOW, move forward and trust that inspiration will catch up.

So how about you? Do you habitually make bold moves toward your goals and dreams? If so, give yourself a score of 5. If, on the other hand, you tend to wait for all the perfect conditions before getting started, then rate yourself a little lower.

Habit number two 2 is Taking Personal Responsibility.

Productive people accept that the only person who can do anything about their hopes and dreams is them. They know that whether they fail or succeed, it is their own responses that got them there, and their next response will determine the opportunities that follow.

Do you accept full responsibility for your life and the status of your plans?  If so, give yourself a 5. If you habitually make excuses and blame others, then score accordingly.

Habit 3 is Knowing Where You’re Going.

Highly productive people take a few moments before diving into their workload to visualize the finished product, or the accolades, praise and pay they’ll receive once they’re done.

Do you take the time to know where you’re going and visualize the end destination? Rate yourself, 1-5.

Habit 4 ties in closely to number 3. It is Knowing WHY You’re Going There.

Productive people know that the task they’re engaged in isn’t just busy work. It always serves a greater purpose. They take time to find that greater purpose, and align their actions accordingly.

Whether it’s setting up a crowdfunding campaign to feed hungry families in 3rd world countries, or working out to stay stronger longer and play with their own grandchildren, they understand that only by knowing the bigger picture can they find greater meaning in the menial minutia of day-to-day operations.

Do you make it a habit to know what you’re really fighting for? Do you see the bigger picture? Give yourself a score, 1-5.

The 5th habit of Highly Productive People is Baby Steps.

Highly productive people routinely commit to easily attainable, constant forward motion. They do a little each day. Soon, momentum builds and they’re able to get a lot more done. Then the next day, they do just a little bit again.

How about you? Do you feel like you have to knock it all out in ONE heroic effort, or do you take 3, 4 or 5 smaller, more achievable steps to get there? Go ahead and rate yourself.

Habit 6 is Celebrating Successes

Productive people like to party. They know that we all need a little celebration, and reward themselves with 5 minutes of a video game, a piece of chocolate, or a public outcry of “I did it!” when they reach their benchmarks.

Do you usually trudge through the drudgery of all the things you have to do, or do you take a few moments to enjoy your achievements? Mark your score, 1-5.

The 7th and final habit we’ll look at today is Teamwork.

Highly productive people know that we work best when we work together. They routinely set up accountability partners, seek coaching, or simply sit down to buddy up and work alongside someone else.

They also understand that all the greats delegate, and they frequently pass the ball to others. Each of us has only so much bandwidth, so it only makes sense to get some tasks off your plate, so that you can focus on what you do best.

Do you make it a habit to lean on those around you for support? If so, rate yourself highly. If you’re trying to do it all yourself, then give yourself a 1-5.

Alright, let’s review quickly. As we do, put a star next to your highest ranked habits, and circle the ones that carry your lowest scores.

Habit 1 – Be Proactive
Habit 2 – Take Personal Responsibility
Habit 3 – Know Where You’re Going
Habit 4 – Know WHY You’re Going There
Habit 5 – Take Baby Steps
Habit 6 – Celebrate Your Successes
Habit 7 – Buddy Up and Work Together

Embodying these 7 habits will help you become an unstoppable juggernaut in any field or endeavor.

Don’t feel like you have to do them all, though. Look at the two habits you circled, and simply make a daily effort to become stronger in those areas. As you do, your productivity will improve by leaps and bounds.

When you have those mastered, move on to another.

Please leave a comment below about what you are taking away from this article.

3 thoughts on “

  1. I am taking away that you have to start somewhere, no one is going to do it for you, decide where and why your doing what your doing, start small, be happy and get some help along the way so you can do what you do best. thanks a lot, I like these tidbits of information you send out periodically.

  2. Terry: Those are great takeaways. You could write them in big colorful letters on a sheet of paper and post it where it can remind you. If you are anything like me, things like these too easily slip my mind.
    Terry and Simon: I’m glad that you are enjoying my emails. More to come.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.