Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Productivity Secrets of Successful People at Babson

This post was written by Kayla Hale ’15, CCD Peer Career Ambassador

Dr. Travis Bradberry, President and CEO of TalentSmart, has researched and defined productivity characteristics that successful people posses. I love this article, so I am going to share some of these secrets, adding a little twist – how these secrets apply to Babson students.

1. They Forgive Themselves

When we fail at something or make a horrible mistake, we tend to slip into a period of self-pity and wallow in the negative feelings. Successful people do not act like a failure is the end of the world, instead they shift their attention to what they are  going to do to improve in the future. Successful people understand that failure results from taking risks – and it’s not easy. As Dr. Bradberry puts it, “failure results from taking risks and trying to achieve something that isn’t easy.”

As Babson students, we are faced with many challenges, and we are encouraged to take risks and try as many new things as possible. Many of us our juggling 4 group projects, 5 extracurriculars, 7 exams, and 10 interviews for internships or full-time jobs. With all of this on our plate, we are bound to slip-up or make a mistake at some point. If you have a bad interview, get a bad grade on a project or paper – the best way to deal with it is NOT to dwell in the past and decide what you COULD HAVE done better (there is no point in ‘could-haves’); instead, look at what you WILL DO in the future to improve.

2. They Don’t Say Yes Unless They Know They Can Deliver

The more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression, all of which erode self-control. At Babson, we are all told about “the power of YES,” The more you say yes to, the better. “Can you be in my focus group for FME?” “Can you look at my essay?” “Can you tutor me in TOM?” It is ingrained in our minds to take on as many challenges, tasks, and activities as possible during our time at Babson and beyond. However, this sometimes leads us to not being able to fully commit to any of those things because our time is stretched so thin. Successful Babson students are able to decide what is most important to them and deliver on that- give 100%, instead of giving 50% effort to things that aren’t as important.

3. They Focus On Solutions

When you fixate on the problems that you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions. When you focus on the actions you’ll take to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficiency that produces positive emotions and improves performance. Emotionally intelligent people won’t dwell on problems because they know they’re most effective when they focus on solutions.

Babson students tend to be solutions driven, we are more likely to have the attitude of “I got a bad grade on this paper, what can I do to improve for next time,” not “I got a bad grade, my life is over.” This is how we stay positive instead- focus on how to fix the problem instead of consuming your thoughts with what the problem is.

4. They Sleep

Your self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present, which are a major productivity killer. Being busy often makes you feel as if you must sacrifice sleep to stay productive, but sleep deprivation diminishes your productivity so much throughout the day that you’re better off sleeping.

There is a culture at Babson and at many colleges around not sleeping or barely sleeping. Many students tell me that they get 3-5 hours per night on a regular basis in order to finish homework, a paper, or a project. With this lack of sleep, we are way less productive during the day, causing us to go to bed late again. It is a vicious cycle, where, if we change our habits to sleep 7-8 hours a night, we will be much more productive over the course of the day, and be able to go to be earlier. Just SLEEP- it is the best thing you can do for yourself.