Survey Reveals What Makes Some People More Productive Than Others

Being productive should be a goal for everyone. Wasting time or using a lot of time and effort but not accomplishing much are not helpful in business or in life. Now, the results of a new survey can help us all learn why some people are really more productive than others, and we can learn from the results to become more productive ourselves.

The Harvard Business Review conducted a survey about personal productivity. Participants answered questions about their productivity and about habits associated with productivity. The results show which habits productive people tend to use to maximize their productivity.

Almost 20,000 people participated in the survey. Approximately half of the participates were from North America. Another 21% live in Europe while 19% live in Asia. The remaining 10% were from Australia, South America and Africa combined.

Several trends emerged when the data was analyzed. For example, it was proven that working longer hours does not equal being more productive. Gender did not seem to make a difference in how productive someone was; although male and female participants had different approaches to being productive. Finally, in general, older respondents and more senior level respondents were more productive than younger respondents and respondents in more junior level positions.

So, what are the habits of productive people? The most productive people reported that they prioritize their work and work with an objective in mind. They also have techniques that they use in order to manage a large workload, such as not checking their messages constantly and delegating tasks. In addition, they keep meetings short and give their team clear directions.

We mentioned that men and women tended to have different habits that they used to maximize productivity. Productive women responded to emails right away, sent out agendas before meetings and kept meetings under 90 minutes. They also looked at and prepared their calendars in advance, and made sure everyone had clear objectives at the end of a meeting.

On the other hand, instead of responding to emails right away, men said they looked at emails infrequently. They also made sure they kept free time available in their schedule instead of scheduling every moment, and they wrote outlines before sending memos.

If you want to be more productive, the key takeaways are prioritizing your work load, finding ways to manage your workload including messages you receive throughout the day, and keeping meetings short with clear directions. The exact habits you use to meet these objectives may be different than someone else, but in general habits of productive people include things like: adding appointments to your calendar, setting objectives for these appointments, writing an outline before writing a long memo, leaving free time in your day for unexpected things that come up, skipping over unimportant emails, responding right away to important messages, delegating tasks to others, and keeping meetings under 90 minutes.

Do you consider yourself productive? What do you think you could start doing to become more productive?