One thing uniting most high-power leader with the lowest productive leaders is time. Day in and day out, we all receive 1470 minutes in our day. It's like a long buffet table lined with enticing selections. At some point, your most successful and productive leaders understand and apply one powerful principle: time isn't the thing to manage, your activities and selections are.
Here are seven sure-fire ways that can help you do that:
1. Identify big work
The most productive leaders zero in on what brings them the highest return for time spent. A study at the University of California found that when it came to workplace distractions, most employees were actually happiest when performing rote tasks (small tasks).
Your high achieving leaders do important work others put off.
2. They start their work day early
A recent study of CEOs and highly successful leaders found they get up early but most importantly, start their work early. It sets the tone and gives them a head start to get important tasks accomplished before doing battle with the barrage of distractions.
3. They set up their day in advance
They create a "short list" of two or three major tasks to work on, besides daily meetings or email responses. They work off a prioritized list, setting out one crucial task each day and focus on completion.
4. The focus and forget multitasking
Their ability to pick out what is important and then focus on it until its done sets them apart. They practice "time blocking" and can "turn off" devices.
5. They record great ideas
Bill Gates puts an equally high value on recording great ideas. Evernote, Get Pocket, Voxer, and a host of other apps are great to capture and save important information leaving your mind free to get back to work on big work.
6. They cut down on meetings
I have a fantastic Executive Assistant who is the gatekeeper to requests for my time. I have a number of "high value" coaching clients and speaking engagements where the bulk of my energy is allocated.
Every meeting must be high value or we simply don't schedule it. One of my top leaders has 50-minute meetings and 15-20 minute meetings. Keep meetings to a minimum and when they do occur, be much more disciplined and crisp.
7. They declutter their mind through solitude and meditation
For the last several years, I've practiced a simple morning ritual of 20/20/20.
20-minutes: Solitude and meditation
20-minutes: Reading and personal development
20-minutes: Identifying my MVPs for the day (most valuable and profitable work)
Solitude and meditation have become my life-ring. It centers my soul and reminds me each day is a gift. It's my time to ask for wisdom and guidance.
I've found as I work those 20-minutes into my routine, I stand a greater chance of holding on that productivity boost for the long haul.
I'd love to hear from you and hear about your productivity habits.
Here's to a productive week!
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