When we think of highly productive people, we tend to imagine the ‘workaholic’, with no intact social life. However, highly productive people can manage their days and affairs and get things done. They can be artists, writers, and CEOs of corporations. They’re the risk-takers and inventors. They know what need doing and when they can take a break to play. These productive individuals have positive attitudes, can focus for long periods, and follow through with any given task.

What makes them so special? Perhaps it’s their positive outlook and can-do attitudes.

Here are five daily habits of highly productive people:

Adopt these habits and watch your productivity skyrocket.


1. They make a winning game plan from the start.

These energetic people have their days planned out. They keep schedules, make appointments, write them down, and follow-through. Before they go to bed, they already know what’s going to happen the next day. The Wharton School’s teacher and psychologist, Adam M. Grant, wrote a book about these types of people, which he calls “Originals.” They are the ones who move past the everyday matters and, even with some deviation, they tend to return to whatever project they are working on. Grant discusses the ability to even use procrastination as a tool to step away from something and return with clear eyes. The productive individual gives himself plenty of time to do things, and can also acknowledge when they can’t get them done. These people also know that no play makes them stressed, so they make time to exercise and have fun.

2. They know what they are doing

Even if they deviate from a plan or are distracted by someone, the highly productive individual can return to what they were doing. They have focus and they appreciate others giving some input. They don’t let overwhelming emotions of doubt or uncertainty dictate their days. These people know that they own their time. They can manage it however they need to in order to work for them. Sociologist, Christine Carter, Ph.D., of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, put it this way: “Busyness is not a marker of intelligence, importance, or success. Taken to an extreme, it is much more likely a marker of conformity, powerlessness, or fear.” These types of people don’t see being busy as a waste of time, and they also know when to stop what they are doing. They aren’t obsessed, but they can become overly focused on certain projects.

3. They know what comes first.

The productive individual knows how to follow through with projects, deadlines, and tasks. They also know when to say “no” and when to set healthy boundaries. They are moved by integrity and have an outstanding work ethic. Finally, they don’t step over anyone. The highly productive person works hard to achieve their goals and expects others to do the same. Adam Grant says that “To become original, you have to try something new, which means accepting some measure of risk.” It’s in taking risks and following them that new ventures unfold. These types of individuals know what it is to create and continue creating from the same place. They also know how to find new resources and never give up.

4. Brick wall? They’ve got a hammer.

The best person to have on your team is a highly productive go-getter. They will find solutions to all problems, usually by looking outside of the issue. They believe that there is always a different way to everything. These folks have positive attitudes. They don’t allow others to bring them down to negativity. Productivity coach and author, Hilary Rettig, says, “Highly productive people respond to barriers, problems, and challenges with much more of a problem-solving orientation. On the other hand, people who are unproductive try to shame and blame themselves into productivity, which only causes more paralysis.”

5. They know what goes where, when.

Highly productive people do not tolerate chaos around their work spaces. They need organization. Even their thoughts come out as bullet points. They tend to be methodical in nature, and love to put things in order. These folks are visual in nature. They may seem as if they are multitasking, but these types of people get things done in a timely manner. They can be juggling several things at once. But there is always one that takes priority until it’s finished. They know how to manage their time wisely and also get help.

The highly productive individual wants to see others succeed. They help others move up the corporate ladder. They also know that it takes coordination, cooperation and collaboration to get things done. It’s not just having a goal or a plan. Things get accomplished when you have other responsible-focusing individuals on a team. It takes a village! And this simple motto is what makes them so likable and productive.

Related article: 7 Habits of Inspired People

George Bernard Shaw said it perfectly in describing this type of individual: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

The highly productive individual is the unreasonable man who takes “no” for an answer and enjoys the risks ahead.