Many successful people have gotten that way because of intense self-discipline and a strong work ethic. Despite all of this, however, they are still prone to humane nature just like the rest of us. The difference is that they have learned productive life hacks to skirt around the traps of procrastination and find ways to achieve their goals. 

Perhaps the most important habit is to control the way your day begins. Start with time to yourself, unencumbered by emails or the world news or anything else that might dictate your mood or stress levels. This is your time. If people hit the ground running under the guise that they are being efficient, they are in a “reactive” state from the beginning to the end of the day. Oftentimes, they will spend the whole day chasing deadlines and feeling behind until ultimately collapsing, exhausted, at the end of the day. 

When you are choosing that it’s time to begin work, you can stay in control by setting up a routine. Eventually, your subconscious will associate that routine with switching into work mode. For some people, it’s the habit of pouring coffee. If you’re working from home, it can be moving to the designated working portion of your house. 

You should also decide what is important when it comes to setting the day’s goals. There should be a maximum of three main goals to achieve, with the priority on the one that will make the deepest impact on your life. Shallow goals are the minutiae that we go through every day as a means of work survival. They do not propel us up the chain of command. The Pareto Principle dictates that, when chosen wisely, 20% of efforts can lead to 80% of our productivity.

When procrastination does happen, there is a way to still be productive. Refer back to your list of goals and choose other items on the list. Behavioral psychologists explain that we can accomplish less enjoyable tasks as long as we feel like we are also achieving the reward of not having to perform a more dreaded one. It is very possible to get a lot of work done while avoiding another thing. 

In addition to having a routine, it’s important to listen to your body when you’re feeling productive versus times when you’re not. All of us have high and low windows of energy in any given day. The average person only has approximately 2.5 hours of maximum efficiency to spend, so that time should be spent on goals that will give you the most bang for your buck, career-wise.