16%. According to research, only 16% of the population fall into the “high performance category”. 16% fall in the “low-performing” category, and fully 68% are assessed as “average performers.” (http://www.giombettiassoc.com/high_performance_people.php). For a time in my own life, I thought that moving into the 16% of high performers was all about talent, or all about upbringing, or all about time and chance. In other words, if a person was born with the right genetics, or born into the right family, or born into the right time and place, they would become high performers. If they weren’t born with the right genetic composition, family supports, or circumstances, they were out of luck.
I’m so glad that maturity, research and experience has shown me how wrong this idea is. Highly-Productive People aren’t necessarily the lucky winners of the genetic or familial lottery. Just look at history or current events to see that. There are Highly Productive people in every demographic. And being in the right place at the right time with the right people does not automatically grant entrance into this elite group either.
So, how do we move from the 68% of average performers to becoming the 16% who are Highly-Productive? In my study of leadership, and in my career as a coach, I have been blessed to speak with a ton of incredibly productive people. You know what not a single one of them said? Not even one said this: “I don’t know how I get all this stuff done. I just wing it and hope for the best. I think it’s sheer luck.”
Each of the Highly-Productive People I spoke to described, in an almost mystical way, the concept of daily routines, habits and practices that added value to their lives, and added multiple levels of impact to everything they put their hand to. Productive people who consistently perform at a high level have a routine. Almost all have personal customs, consistent habits, and daily practices that they refined and applied.
Everything that Highly-Productive People is something you or I can do, if we simply understand what they are doing, why they are doing it, and make consistent choices. Highly-Productive People build a life that is based on habits. Here are 6 Habits of Highly-Productive People to add to your life and work, if you haven’t already.
Manage Your Mission. One consistent thread running through all of our lives, especially in the age of information overload and instant connectivity, is distraction. A 5-minute Google search can so easily become an hour or two in an Internet black hole. Highly-Productive People stay mission focused. They have spent time and energy to determine what they really care about in terms of mission, why they care about it, and how that mission will drive their daily actions. There is a ton of variation in the mission of different Highly-Productive People, but they remind themselves on a consistent basis of their personal and professional mission, and this constant reminder helps them stay sharp, focused, and clear. Mission speaks to focus.
Manage Your Motivation. Motivation matters. It is the fuel that keeps you going when the mission looks distant and unreachable. Your motivation is the why behind the what and behind the how in your life. A consistently healthy why leads to a healthy what and a healthy how. When our motivation is unhealthy, we place unrealistic demands on ourselves, and unachievable expectations on others. Highly-Productive People spend time digging deep, reflecting and pondering their motivation, and they do the work necessary, often in the framework of accountable relationships, to insure their motivations are mostly selfless, pure, and beneficial to others. Motivation speaks to fuel.
Manage Your Map (your daily plan). Highly-Productive People formulate and map out a plan for each day. Each day is a new 24-hour allocation to accomplish their mission, and so Highly-Productive People maximize their potential by mapping out a schedule for the day, week, and month. For many, the morning is a good time for this because it is one of the only quiet times a person gets throughout the day. The early hours foster easier reflection that helps when prioritizing activities and fitting things into a timetable. Most Highly-Productive People are early risers, but some do it on the other end, and stay up deep into the night to find time and space for quiet reflection. This speaks to formulation.
Manage Your Mind. The truth is that where the mind goes, the man or woman follows. Our mind can be our greatest asset in terms of positivity, empowerment, and support for our goals and objectives, or it can be our greatest hindrance. Positive thinking doesn’t change anything in and of itself, but it empowers us to execute with greater energy, authenticity, and empowerment. Negativity drains, attracts negative people with negative energy, and costs us the energy we so desperately need to achieve at a high level. Positive thinking enables us to do almost everything better than negative thinking will, and it attracts other positive people who bring energy, soul-nourishment, and brighter perspectives. If you wrestle with managing anxiety, stress, worry or fear, and would like to learn great techniques that will enhance your productivity in those areas, there are some fabulous free resources here: Breaking Free of Fear. This speaks to faith.
Manage Your Mood. Closely aligned with managing your mind is managing your mood. Happy people are productive and resilient people who continue to bounce back through obstacles, hindrances and setbacks. Interestingly, the vast majority of us have complete control over our moods. Unless we have a significant mental health issue, our daily mood is the product of our daily habits, including our daily thought lives. When we spend time exercising, eating healthy foods, getting the appropriate amount of sleep, honoring our spirituality, connecting with healthy people, and continually learning, our mood will be positive and healthy. However, when we consistently cheat ourselves of exercise, healthy food, sleep, spirituality, healthy relationships, and learning, we will find that our mood tends to be consistently negative and disempowering. Highly-Productive People manage their mood, and they do so be consistent self-care practices of exercise, nutrition, sleep, spirituality, healthy relationships, and learning. This speaks to fortitude.
Manage Your Mistakes. Highly-Productive People understand what C.S. Lewis said, that “…failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.” Attaining success is about having the courage to try new things and at times, not hit the mark. But each time we miss it, we learn and recalibrate our aim, and we cultivate our lives personally and professionally towards success. Failure is one of the best teachers, and is really just delay, not defeat. To overcome failure, we need to learn from it. If we do not learn from our failure, all that pain and misery is wasted, and we risk making the same mistakes over and over again. This speaks to follow-through.
Highly-Productive People are just like the rest of us, with the exception of their daily routine. This daily routine takes everything else that they do to a whole new level of efficiency, effectiveness, and empowerment. To move from the 68% of average performers to the 16% who are Highly-Productive, invest in the 6 habits described here, and don’t give yourself room or excuse to stay where you currently are. Also, reach out to us here at Momentum Coaching. We offer Professional and Executive Coaching and Workshops for individuals and teams that will enhance your productivity and boost your impact.