16 Common Characteristics of High Achievers to Consider

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published July 3, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

In addition to the consistently high standard of their project outcomes, the accomplishments of high achievers are impressive because of the frequency of their output. Their abilities may occasionally seem mysterious or innate, but if you're motivated to learn, you might discover several factors that are common among high achievers. By learning some of the common characteristics shared among high achievers, you might reduce your stress and improve the quality of your projects. In this article, we list 16 characteristics of high achievers and examine how these characteristics might aid you in your own productivity.

What are the characteristics of high achievers?

The characteristics of high achievers translate often into precisely completed assignments submitted in a timely manner. Productivity is a powerful asset in the workplace because it fosters trust in your abilities among colleagues and employers. If you're curious about productivity and want to begin somewhere, you might start by forming habits that foster the characteristics that signal to colleagues and employers that you aspire to earn their trust and welcome additional responsibilities.

Related: What Is Worker's Productivity? (And How to Improve It)

16 high achiever characteristics

Here are 16 common characteristics of high achievers you can adopt:

1. Track your exercise, diet, and sleep schedule

Physical exercise, diet, and sleep schedule influence the stamina and quality of attention available to you throughout the day. The first step to providing yourself with the right amount of these three factors is activity tracking. Research safe methods, reach out to professionals, and experiment with healthy eating, casual workouts, and generous sleep goals. Developing the right balance is a unique process for everyone, so you can practise patience as you learn.

2. Make plans and envision outcomes

Understanding the tasks ahead of you, preparing your resources, and assessing the inherent risks in your projects might allow you to meet day-to-day challenges in a more organized way. Making daily to-do lists in the morning, including work and non-work tasks, can provide you with a complete timeline of your workday and put you in a position to envision possible challenges.

It may be challenging to avoid heavy traffic, unexpected meetings, sick team members, or shipping delays, but planning for these risks may save you stress, extra resources, and time. Planning ahead means you might react in a prepared manner. Try leaving early in the morning or packing your own lunch, for example, to see if there's a difference between pre-emptive and unstructured planning.

Related: What Is Visionary Leadership? (Characteristics and Benefits)

3. Keep an organized workspace

An organized workspace may increase productivity in a variety of ways. A tidy space, with designated areas for your important tools or documents, reduces the time spent looking for the items you need. In turn, saving time mitigates stress and helps maintain momentum as you move from task to task. Shredding and recycling unnecessary documents also eliminates clutter and prevents current projects from disappearing under old material. Dedicated storage boxes kept at a distance from your workspace might alternatively allow you to access infrequently needed items while also keeping a clean space.

4. Develop pre-work rituals

Developing pre-work rituals and routine activities, like doing push-ups, swimming laps, listening to music, or repeating a mantra, might focus your mind and help you achieve a productive mindset. Five to 30 minutes of mindfulness meditation may contribute to a healthy work-life balance through the ritualization of a mental and physical act. Reading a book, going for a walk, or any relaxing activity may likewise help to transition you from home life to work life.

5. Create a detailed task management plan

Detailed task management can make projects less overwhelming by clarifying what tasks are necessary for project completion. If you're producing a marketing video for an upcoming trade show, try to identify the contingent steps that lead to the completed project. A video requires pre-production, shooting, post-production, and publicizing. These are task categories. Within the pre-production category, tasks may include researching a product, writing a script, building a small space to film in, and choosing your on-screen personality.

Related: How to Use the Covey Time Management Matrix (With Steps)

6. Identify your peak productivity window

Peak productivity depends on your productivity style, but peak productivity awareness is among the primary characteristics of high achievers. Some general theories, like the principle of factor sparsity, might apply to you. This theory states that 80% of consequences often originate from 20% of effort. This might look like completing 80% of your daily tasks in the last 20% of the workday.

Many factors contribute to our periods of peak efficiency. Noticing when your productivity is high and investigating the reasons why may help you reliably predict your peak productivity window. Knowing how and when you work best might change the way you prioritize and finish tasks.

7. Start with a challenging task

Starting a project with the most challenging tasks may create a positive momentum that increases your overall efficiency. Saving easier tasks for the middle and end of a project rebalances the distribution of effort and shifts a perception of difficulty to one of ease as time progresses. The challenging aspects of a project may also align with the most important aspects, so beginning with a challenge might also prevent procrastination.

8. Take regular breaks

Attention diminishes incrementally over time, so taking breaks might benefit your productivity. While some take breaks every 25 minutes, others prefer productivity periods of 90 minutes or longer mixed with longer breaks. Give yourself different intervals of productivity and relaxation without interrupting one activity with the demands of the other. While on a walk, you can delay task-oriented thoughts for later. Conversely, you might indulge in fun activities or socializing after productive periods to reward your hard work.

9. Avoid distractions

Distractions are preventable causes of your delayed achievement. Avoiding them requires mindful management of attention. Try to keep all distracting factors in your environment to a minimum. Silencing your phone, using earplugs for extra focus, or having a computer that's only for work might all help to reduce distraction.

10. Develop e-mail efficiency

To prevent excessive time spent sorting and answering e-mails, several methods for productive e-mail management might help. Consider the information you include in e-mails. For scheduling meetings, you might include your full availability to avoid back-and-forth conversations. Keep a text file with pre-typed replies to frequent e-mail requests if possible. Automating your inbox to filter emails into folders according to their subject lines or senders also clears the inbox and streamlines the e-mail process.

Related: What Are Email Management Tools? (With Benefits and Tips)

11. Consider the pros and cons of multitasking

Because of the difficulties involved with focusing attention on more than one task at a time, attempts to multitask might resemble periods of distraction rather than productivity. Frequent refocusing puts stress on attention and may add extra time to tasks that, over long periods, might mean a substantial loss in productivity. Managing your time so that your attention can flow naturally from one subject of focus to the next reduces these interruptions and commits you to a workflow that may end in multiple completed tasks rather than a multitude of unfinished ones.

12. Practise boundaries

The importance of collaboration and a supportive company atmosphere aside, high achievers have limits for the number of responsibilities from other team members that they're willing to add to their own workload. If you think a colleague's request for support or collaboration might detract from your own work or put your deadlines at risk, it's OK to decline. Let them know you might collaborate after you've met your own obligations.

13. Share work

Sharing work, at its highest potential, enables fast and comprehensive task completion through considerate distribution of labour. You might ask others to join you in the planning stages of a project and see if they show excitement or a clear willingness to collaborate. If your team members need help with their projects before they might help you with yours, sharing in their responsibilities is of mutual benefit.

14. Reward yourself

You might enjoy positive re-enforcement as an additional perk for a productive day. One way to stay motivated is to reward yourself for accomplishing goals. The creation of small rewards might even encourage you to develop a more goal-oriented workflow. Creating time for enjoying an extended break or a delicious meal after you've finished an assignment also helps to maintain healthy work-life balance. For larger tasks or significant projects, you might include brainstorming more elaborate rewards as part of the planning process.

15. Learn from your mistakes

Conceptualizing past project challenges might result in avoidant tendencies and interrupt your progress. Issues with past struggles present as unnecessary doubt if your problem-solving tendencies aren't engaged and solution-focused. Remind yourself that the present moment is an opportunity to create future success. Past challenges might represent opportunities for risk mitigation if you change your perspective from concerned to opportunistic.

16. Measure progress by what you've accomplished

Having a constructive attitude and flexible expectations can dramatically improve your productivity. Focusing on your accomplishments might improve your attitude, just as focusing on missed opportunities might worsen it. If your responsibilities include stocking a warehouse or writing a safety report, consider the way those responsibilities have enabled your colleagues to do their own important work.

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