Productivity is the new black these days. We have so many things going on in our lives and people often struggle with balancing everything that has to be done and finding time for themselves as well. So it isn’t surprising that many of us are constantly looking for the ways to become more productive.

Of course, there are plenty of productivity tips available online – but if you do want to become as productive as possible, isn’t it wiser to learn from the best?

Sports champions are one of the most productive people out there. They set impressive scores and they look amazing, but this doesn’t come for free. It takes a lot of discipline, regular training, and willpower to reach their goals – and so they can tell you a lot about what you should do to become productive.

So if you do want to reach all your goals and learn how to organize your time, here are three outstanding productivity secrets given to you by sports champions.

Productivity Lesson #1: Know Yourself

While this might look like a vague tip, it becomes much more clear once you start planning your days thoroughly. There are so many people who write to-do-lists and monthly plans but still fail to complete their tasks and meet their goals on time.

Why does this happen? Because while planning does help to see the whole picture a bit clearer, it takes more than just planning to reach your goals. You have to keep two important things in mind:

  1. Your goals have to be attainable.
  2. You need to know for sure what it takes for you to reach them.

While the first thing doesn’t require any further explanation, the second one probably needs to be cleared a bit more. Steve Young, a football legend, once said that even the best world strategies could turn out to be ineffective if they aren’t backed up with sweat and muscle.

You need to understand that reaching your goals requires work – usually a lot of it. You also need to know yourself well enough to know how long it would take for you to deliver a certain result – and that’s where the real challenge starts.

Why don’t to-do-lists work for everyone? Because when some people write them, they actually have no idea of what they’re capable of. If they overestimate their resources and limits, they might load themselves with too many daily tasks, failing to complete them and becoming frustrated because of it at the end of the day.

You might not know your limits right from the start – however, this doesn’t mean that you cannot discover them later. Cameron MacMillan, who’s a co-founder and COO of Rotogrinders, believes it’s totally possible and advises measuring your performance to achieve that.

Measuring your progress helps you with three things:

  1. You discover your current level: how much time it takes for you to complete a certain task, how many push-ups can you do, etc.;
  2. You see how exactly you improve: maybe in a month you’ll discover that you started completing tasks faster and doing more push-ups;
  3. You are able to adjust your goals realistically according to your current level.

Productivity Lesson #2: Learn to Prioritize

That’s the most common advice given by a number of athletes. For example, Shannon Miller, who is considered the most decorated gymnast in the history of American sports, believes that scheduling and sticking to that schedule is a top priority that often defines the success of an athlete.

She says that she simply was forced to prioritize as well as stick to a schedule during her training: without it, she simply wouldn’t be able to keep up with her training, school work, family life, etc. A minute-by-minute schedule helps her to that day – as well as the ability to prioritize fast.

There are so many distractions around us these days – much more than before. It is especially hard for those whose work is related to the internet, as clicking the wrong link and ending on Facebook can make them distracted easily. However, even the ones who don’t need internet for work may find themselves distracted by various time-stealers, such as social media, YouTube, and games.

If you find yourself distracted by such things next time, remember the quote of a famous golfer Tiger Woods, who said: “I can either play golf or play on the internet – guess which one I chose?”

Briana Scurry, an American goalkeeper with two gold Olympic medals, shares Tiger’s point of view. She says that about 6 months before the Olympics she started questioning her every decision to do something. When she wanted to engage in a certain activity, she always asked herself whether this activity would help her perform better at Olympics or not? If the answer was NO, she didn’t do it.

However, this doesn’t mean that Briana or other famous athletes didn’t relax at all – they were just being mindful about it. All of them said that taking a power nap or a day off was totally fine for them as long as they felt this will help them rest and continue their training feeling more energized than ever.

Productivity Lesson #3: Everyone Else Doesn’t Matter

This might seem like a very selfish tip, however, it’s more of a self-conscious one. We are all different: some reach their goals faster, while for some it might take more time. Comparing ourselves with the others to evaluate our progress might be tempting, but it often leads to frustration and lack of motivation.

Sasha Trubnikov, who was an Olympic shot-putter before, thinks that’s not the right thing to do. He emphasizes that he always tries to beat his own record, not someone else’s. This helps him keep focus as well as keep his motivation high.

While competition can be helpful sometimes, it can be unhealthy as well, especially in the long run. If you focus on competing with the others and beating them, you might lose sight of your own goals and values. That’s why you should only compare you with your past self.

Hopefully, these tips will help you increase your productivity as well as motivation and reach your goals, no matter how ambitious they are!