What sets apart the most effective workers from their colleagues? A new study from corporate and leadership training firm VitalSmarts took a look the traits that top performers share.
In a survey of 1,600 managers and employees, the researchers found that 83 percent of leaders and 77 percent of workers say that top performers have less stress and increased productivity because of their habits.
According to the study, there are a number of factors that contribute to this reduction in stress. The participants said that top performers “ask for help” and are “not afraid to ask questions”, whereas the top complaints about average performers were a “lack of communication” or that they are “slow to respond.”
Related: 8 Ways to Clear Your Mind of Stress
And these communication practices lead to very different outcomes. Top performers were described as “organized” and as having “good time management” and an “attention to detail.” Meanwhile, average performers were docked for having “not enough time”, a “lack of attention” and “no follow through.”
The researchers then had 2,072 participants answer a series of questions about how their productivity practices (or lack thereof) contributed to their feelings of stress.
People who scored high on the productivity assessment were 10 times less likely to agree with statements such as “I live in a mess -- cluttered office, buried desk, disorganized home” and “I often feel distracted. Can’t focus on one task at a time,” than those who received lower scores.
In response to the statement, “I often feel anxious. I’m never sure that I haven’t forgotten something,” high performers were 21 times less likely to agree than low performers. And when posed with the statement, “I often feel inadequate. I disappoint myself and others because I lose track of important commitments,” high performers were 88 times less likely to agree than low performers.
Ultimately, the researchers found that those high performers were also 55 times less likely to start projects that never get finished, 17 times less likely to have an inbox with too many unread emails and 18 times less likely to feel overwhelmed.
So if you find yourself wishing that you could level up at work, think hard about how you are spending your time. The study shows that you don’t need to chain yourself to a desk to be seen as more productive. Creating more of a balance for yourself will be reflected in your work and how others perceive you.