Yes, it’s a cliché, and one that you’ve heard before — the secret to working smarter is to surround yourself with productive people. But have you ever really thought about whether or not this is true?  Does your work productivity really increase when you work with highly productive people? Here’s what you need to know to determine whether the cliché is silly or savvy in your own life.

Your Parents Were Right!

When you were young, odds are that your parents were concerned about who your friends were. They told you things like, “Steve started hanging out with the wrong crowd, and now he’s in jail!” They encouraged you to “hang out” with good kids who respected others and focused on getting good grades. And, it turns out they were right. We do end up acquiring the traits of those we spend a lot of time with. 

In fact, the renowned coach Tony Robbins says the same thing. In addition, he quotes another business guru, Jim Rohn, who said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” You may or may not believe that, but you can see where this is going. As human beings, we are almost programmed to take on the traits of those around us.

The Advantages of Surrounding Yourself with Productive People:

So, just how does being around productive people make you more productive? They’ll have an impact on how you spend your day, which tasks you accomplish, the number of emails you receive or need to send, and how focused you’ll be on a day-to-day basis. Here’s how.

1. You’ll become more productive.

Just like your parents said, you’ll end up being more focused and getting more done when you work with other productive people.  You won’t be able to avoid taking stock of your own habits, and finding ways to step up your own work productivity.  Beyond that, you may find that you get more done just because the productive people around you reduce the workload for your entire team, as you’ll discover below.

2. Productive people spot problems faster than others do.

A productive person develops a good understanding of what needs to be done, and they’re focused on doing things right the first time. They’ll tend to spot a problem, like an inaccurate deadline or a project description that is missing a step, before it starts causing even larger problems.

They’ll save time for the entire team by reducing the number of fire drills required to get things done right, which naturally increases the output for the team as a whole.

3. Productive people tend to find improvement opportunities.

If you’re working with people who accept the status quo because “we’ve always done it that way,” you’ll be the only one trying to find new procedures, shortcuts, and technology solutions to make your systems work more effectively. If you’re surrounded by other productive people, you’ll have allies in the search for finding ways to work smarter or faster. Productive people won’t create convoluted approaches to getting work done that cause you more work, and they’ll strive to get things done on time.

How to Spend More Time with Productive People at Work

If you’re the boss, you can have quite a bit of control over choosing the people on your team, but even then, you may not have the chance to start your team with all new hires. You’ll probably inherit a person or two from the previous manager.

What you can do is create a definition of what a productive person means to you and focus on finding ways to surround yourself with those types of individuals.  Here are some tips to get you there.

1. Define the type of people you want to be around.

Ask yourself these types of questions: What do you admire in the people you consider to be productive? What type of people make you feel energized? How can you quickly spot negativity in others? What qualities do you want to nurture in yourself?

2. Spend time with the productive people in your work world.

If there’s someone in your company who is always coming up with great new ideas, try to get them on your team. At the very least, find ways to join the projects they’re involved in so that you can bask in their productive light.

If someone you work with is a negative person, recognize that being around them will make it difficult to maintain your positive outlook. If you can’t avoid them, don’t participate in the discussions they start to belittle the company, the boss, or the pay. Change the subject or take a break.

Find someone you admire in the company and ask them to be your mentor. It’s always empowering to have the chance to chat with someone who supports you and provides good advice.

When you surround yourself with productive people, you’ll find it increases your ability to get things done, and it will reduce wasted time and frustration. Here’s the best way to accomplish this goal: Be openly positive and productive yourself. You’ll find that other productive people will be attracted to you automatically!


Wanda Sealy created Multi-Task-Her Coaching and Consulting Services to assist ambitious working mothers like herself. An experienced coach, Wanda has an uncanny ability to help women identify and address the core issues that are holding them back, allowing them to be the inspired and empowered people they were born to be. If all you have are questions, Wanda will help you find the answers. To learn more about Wanda and her company, visit her site or email her at [email protected].



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