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How productive are you, really? New test and research shows how you stack up

https://bigthink.com/personal-growth/how-productive-are-you

bigthink.com

How productive are you, really? New test and research shows how you stack up
We all like to think that we're productive at work, but no one can be "on" all the time. Right? Everyone knows that person who is always ahead of their deadlines, despite an enormous workload. How do they do it? New research from MIT has identified some of the most common traits in productive people.

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Productive professionals

Productive professionals

One research survey, involving 20 000 individuals from six continents, wanted to find out why some people are more productive than others. 

They found professionals with the highest productivity ratings all tend to do well on the same clusters of habits.

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Productive habits

Highly productive professionals share the same clusters of habits:

  • They plan their work based on their top priorities and then acted with a definite objective
  • They develop effective techniques for managing a high volume of information and tasks
  • They understand the needs of their colleagues, enabling short meetings, responsive communications, and clear directions.

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Age and productivity

Age and seniority highly correlate with personal productivity.

Habits of seniors include:

  • Developing routines for low-value activities.
  • Managing message flow
  • Running effective meetings
  • Delegating tasks

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Gender statistics

There are noteworthy differences in how women and men managed to be productive.

  • Women are able to run productive meetings; they can keep sessions within 90 minutes and finish with the agreement of the next steps.
  • Men do very well at coping with high message volume. They are able to look less frequently at their emails, bypassing messages of low value.

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Coping with inbox overload

  • Most of us look at emails every 3 - 5 minutes. Instead, look every hour or two, and then only at subject matter and sender. 
  • Answer important emails immediately instead of flagging them.
  • Managing incoming emails needs to be paired with other, more big-picture habits. 

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Develop "habit clusters"

  • Focus on your primary objectives: Every night, revise your next day's schedule to understand your top priorities. 
  • Manage your work overload: Skip over 50-80% of your emails based on the sender and the subject. Break large projects into small steps — and start with step one.
  • Support your colleagues: Limit any meeting to 90 minutes or less and end each meeting with clearly defined next steps. Agree on success metrics with your team.

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Better use of the commute to work

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