November 19, 2014

Five "Bad" Habits of Insanely Productive People

You might want to sit down for this post; I'm about to change everything you think you know about bad habits.

Now, before you get too excited, this post isn't about bacon; eating it on everything is still bad. (In the most heavenly way something can be bad, of course.)

No, this post is about habits you think are bad that actually help the most productive people among us be so damn... well, productive.

1. They write bad drafts.
You know what's the most important thing to a great editing system? It's having something to edit. When productive people sit down to write something, they often just write without worrying if their first draft is their best work. In other words, productive people generally don't stall a rolling train-of-thought to ponder proper comma placement.

2. They quit if it isn't working.
Whether it's a lack of coffee, a lack of sleep, or a lack of inspiration, sometimes you just don't have it. Productive people realize that and they don't spend time spinning their wheels if they're not getting anywhere. Instead of pounding their heads against the wall, they take a break for caffeine, a nap, or Pinterest and then start later with a clear head. Nine times out of ten, it gives their wheels the traction they need to get moving.

3. They're boring.
The key to productivity is time management. Ever wonder why Wonder Woman always wears the same thing? It's because productive people don't waste their limited time and brain power picking out which boots to wear to work; they often limit their variety of things like food and clothes to limit the time spent making decisions on them. (Instead, they use that time to consider how to best save the world.)

4. They set arbitrary deadlines.
Remember how efficient you were the night before a term paper was due? When you're working under a deadline, you're generally more efficient because there's no time to waste. Productive people often simulate the term-paper effect by setting somewhat arbitrary deadlines for themselves to finish tasks that otherwise might be interrupted by the all-intrusive Facebook feed.

5. They get it done, not get it perfect.
Back to that term paper. You know, the one that stood between you and a passing grade, the one that required three or four proofreads? Well, not everything is like that. You can waste time editing and re-editing that email to your colleagues regarding the new office fridge policy until you've reached lyrical prose... but then you wouldn't be very productive. Productive people understand what deserves the time it takes to produce near-perfection, and don't waste that time perfecting the things that don't.


So there you have it: five "bad" habits that are actually not that bad at all. And I'd say that's some pretty great news for a Wednesday, wouldn't you agree?

But you want to know some even better news? Even if you haven't mastered these habits yet, being productive isn't the most important thing in the world...

... There's always bacon.