One Trait of Highly Productive People (and 6 Behaviors to Make It Yours )

Highly productive people are purposefully organized.

These days everyone is talking about goals and becoming more productive in order to achieve them. What I have found in all my years observing and working with highly productive people boils down to one key trait: they are purposefully organized.

Highly productive people are purposefully organized.

When I say “purposely” I mean that being organized is a trait that they nurture or adopt because they have figured out that being disorganized depletes them of energy that could be used to accomplish great work.

Darlene, for example, is a busy yet highly productive sales manager and the poster child of organization, or so I thought. Her keys and glasses always return to the same purse pocket. Her digital, color-coded calendar guides her every move. She tackles a goal at lightning speed and makes it look easy. For years I envied the ultra-organized people like Darlene, feeling cheated of an elusive gene that could have saved me hundreds of hours I had spent looking for keys, glasses, pens, or important documents. Eventually, I discovered that anyone can choose to become organized with a few learnable behaviors that yield the highest returns:


Reframe the story you believe about yourself. The stories you believe win. Keep telling yourself that you are disorganized, and you will keep getting it right. In his book High Performance Habits, Brendon Burchard shares, “Imagine your best future self and start acting like that person today.” It almost sounds too simple, doesn’t it? Trust me, it is. But only when you decide that being disorganized is not serving you any more.


Think Rituals. Putting your keys in the same place every time, like brushing your teeth, can become an automatic ritual. Starting small is the goal. Focus on adopting only one new ritual per month that will add more order to your life. At the end of the year, you will have 12 new rituals under your belt and a lot more peace of mind.


Win the Day Before Bed. Invest 10 minutes, before going to bed, to review your calendar, goals, and to-do-list for the next day. Once you experience the power of starting your day with a greater sense of purpose and calm, you will want more.


Try the 50/10 Rule—Work for 50 minutes. Rejuvenate for 10 minutes. Repeat. Studies show that multitasking contributes to low productivity and diminished mental focus. It is far more efficient to single task and rest. Use an app like Be Focused, to automate your 50/10 blocks and experience more creativity and productivity.


Schedule Your To-Do-List. Highly organized individuals make appointments with themselves to accomplish the items on their to-do-list. Then they keep the appointments just like they keep an appointment with the doctor or a client. At the end of the day, they get more done.


Invest In Yourself. If you are not sticking these behaviors on your own, enlist a life coach or an executive coach who can customize strategies that fit your temperament and lifestyle. As it turns out, Darlene regularly invests in coaching!

If you have not figured it out yet, being highly organized is not the end goal. Achieving your dreams, completing your projects on time, lowering stress, and enjoying life more is the goal. You can do it!


And by the way, Darlene is one of those highly organized people who chose to change the tide because the cost of being messy was one she was no longer willing to pay.