7 Productive Habits of the Most Successful Leaders

One thing uniting most high-power leader with the lowest productive leaders is time. Day in and day out, we all receive 1440 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 to 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!

As a master storyteller, Steve has unparalleled ability to communicate dynamic business and leadership truths through stories, anecdotes and humor. Harness the power of the “number one” predictor of professional success, impact, leadership, high performance and sustainable relationships in business and life. Steve’s highest rated keynote presentation.

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“The purpose of Leadership Quest is to help professionals develop their personal leadership, vision and emotional intelligence. Everyday I strive to help leaders and teams achieve their desired goals in sales productivity, leadership, time maximization, and life-balance. ”

About the Author

Steve Gutzler is the President of Leadership Quest, a Seattle-based leadership development company. Steve is a dynamic, highly-sought-after speaker who has delivered more than 2,500 presentations to a list of clients including Microsoft, Starbucks, the Seattle Seahawks, Pandora Radio, Boeing, Cisco, Starwood Corporation, the Ritz Carlton group, and the U.S. Social Security Administration. He recently was voted #1 by the readership of Huffington Post as the Most Inspirational Leader on Social Media.

A published author on leadership and emotional intelligence, Steve resides near Seattle with his wife Julie where they enjoy time with their three adult children and six grandchildren.