How to have a highly productive life.


By David Joel Miller.

Highly productive people, how do they do it?

1. Productive People Set Goals.

Life happens whether you are ready for it or not. Knowing where you want to end up charts your course. Productive people think about the end result they want. What will it look like when they have accomplished that goal?

2. Productive People Plan the Steps.

Goals are nice. Someday you want to own your own business or you want to be a professional athlete. What are the steps you would need to take to move that plan into reality?

Break that goal up into the steps you will need to take to get there.

What skills will you need to learn? What will you have to practice? Most importantly, what other pleasures will you need to forgo along the way. Lots of promising, talented people fade between the start and the finish because they get distracted by the pleasures of the moment and forget to do the work needed to get where they said they wanted to go.

3. Spend more time doing than planning.

Planning is need. So is preparation. But if all you ever do is dream, the dream stays in your head and does not materialize in reality.

Once you have that goal set and know the steps to get their make sure that each and every day you are doing something, no matter how small that thing is, that will mover you toward your goal.

4. Evaluate what you are doing.

The best plans do not always anticipate the changes that happen in the world. Circumstances change, plans do not work out or they need to be modified.

People with very productive lives periodically reevaluate their plans. They know what is working and what is not working. They also reevaluate that goal. Is that goal still where you should be headed?

5. Adjust plans as needed.

Be open to modifying plans when it is clear that you need to do so. Do not make frequent changes out of insecurity and doubt.

That career you planed on in high school, those occupations may not exist. Technology changes, demand changes. You plans may need to change with the circumstances.

6. Get advice from a coach.

When you are out there doing, you can’t see the things you are doing well or the things that need improving. Top athletes work with coaches who can spot flaws in their performance.

Working with a good coach can take your efforts to a whole other level.

7. Have a plan B that flows from your plan A.

If you plan to be a professional athlete what happens if you don’t make the team? You can keep trying, but eventually the dream meets up with reality. Even those who do reach that goal find that they can’t go on being a professional forever. What happens to you if plan A does not work out exactly the way you planned?

College athletes are well advised to get that degree and develop their other talents. After your carrier as an athlete, long or short, what will you do? With a degree you can teach. Maybe coach. Your options remain open.

8. Always be looking for the next step.

Periodically you need to look off into the distance. What is the next step in your development? When you get this goal accomplished what then?

Many people set goals, achieve them and then lapse into a depression. Their one reason to exist is over. Now what?

9. Do not be easily discouraged.

In attempting anything there will be setbacks. Expect setbacks. Plan on having failures. Learn from those obstacles and perfect you skills.

Learn and practice your skills along the way and you will find that you were able to accomplish much more than you expected. Do not quit before the miracle happens and if you continue to work you are bound to experience some miracles.

10. Do not let obstacles stop you.

If one obstacle causes you to give up you will not get much done.  The more you accomplish the more the obstacles. Learn to climb over them. Sometimes you will need to change course and go around them.

An obstacle is a chance to improve what you do and how you do it not a permanent defeat.

11. Learn something new each day.

Add to your knowledge base. You never know when something you learned will turn out to be useful in the future. Do not wait till you are desperate for an idea to go looking for one.

Many innovations have been the result of taking something that a person had learned in one field and applying it to another area. Be that creative person who can synthesize and create new and novel approaches.

12. Build a team by being a team player.

Most highly productive people have a team that they can depend on that backs them up. Develop that team by being a team player. Get along with and value others around you.

13. Maintain your mental health.

Take care of your emotional health. Do not let things discourage you. Do not become overwhelmed with anxiety.

In the area of mental health, prevention is important. Have a support system. Learn ways to manage your stress and when those problems of life overwhelm you get help.

14. Treat your body well.

The mind depends on the body for its fuel and energy. Eat well, sleep well and play frequently. A health body is far more productive than an impaired one.

15. Get a support system for you non-work life

Great producers at work have good lives outside of work. Many a work problem originated at home and was brought to work. If you want a productive life do not neglect your non-work life.

16. Know your work type.

Every job has its characteristic work type. If your personality fits the job you will be more productive and happier. Happy people are more creative and productive.

Look for projects that fit your personality and try to avoid taking on projects that will make you unhappy.

Keep these productivity principles in mind and work towards become more productive each day. Over time you will be pleased to see how much you have gotten done and how much your life has improved as a result.

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended books.

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