Whether you’re a CEO or a team leader, these hacks are tried and tested by people in leadership roles.
There are only 24 hours in a day and some of those hours have to be devoted to sleep, no matter how big your company is or what projects and developments are occurring at any given moment.
Since you can’t add to the available hours, you have to make better use of the ones you’ve got. While every leader will work in different ways—some are up at the crack of dawn and others are up well into the night—finding what productivity hacks suit your style will help you gain some time and perhaps help you focus as well.
Here are a few productivity hacks that work for others. Maybe they can help you find more time in your day too!
Meetings take up a lot of time and often don’t end with any tangible results. You want meetings to be as short as possible, with only one topic on the agenda, and the strict minimum of attendees. If someone isn’t directly related to the topic, they shouldn’t be there.
Plan your day, the day before
Even if you walk in the door with a ready plan, you can almost always be assured that it will go off the rails before noon. The point, however, is that you don’t get to your office and spend time looking at lists and trying to decide what to do, which can be overwhelming. Do that planning the day before and you’ll walk in ready to hit the ground running during what are typically the most productive hours of the day: the morning.
Tip: if you like to exercise, make sure your plan includes it and if you can, get it in before work. Why? It will give you the adrenaline and dopamine rush your brain will use to get going with more zing!
However you plan your day, make sure you include some downtime. There is little creative thinking that happens when you’re constantly on the move, being interrupted or in meetings. Good thinking and great ideas happen when you can shut down for a little while, and really relax. Whether massage, a hot shower, a nap, or a sauna gets you there, find a way to fit in time to think.
Prioritize your to do list and set deadlines
This seems obvious but it’s surprising how often people don’t bother to do this. It takes five minutes to prioritize a to do list but it will focus your thinking with regards to how to move forward with what needs to get done. By doing that, instead of getting overwhelmed with the whole list, you will be more efficient.
“Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, starts each morning with his twist on the standard to-do list. “Make a list of everything you want to accomplish that day. Be as exhaustive as possible,” he told Hoffman during an episode of Masters of Scale. “Group a few similar tasks together. Ask yourself for each group: What one action takes care of all of these? “It’s like a game of leverage.” (Source)
In the same style, setting deadlines for yourself, a task, a project or your team is the best way to make sure that things get done. If there are no milestone dates and hard deadlines, it’s easy to get caught up in putting out fires and attending to all and sundry instead of remaining focused on the end result.
One thing at a time
Multitasking is the least productive way to get anything done. You do all of the tasks poorly instead of doing one thing right. While it might seem counterintuitive for a busy person to limit themselves to one thing at a time, it’s the most effective use of human brain capacity. We just aren’t wired to do multiple things at once; doing so splits your brain, which won’t help in the long run!
And for the really committed…
The average person spends 11 hours a day on, in part, social media. That’s almost half of every day! Of course, CEOs probably don’t figure into that group, but it’s a pretty awesome statistic and one worth remembering the next time you’re just about to go down the rabbit hole of a Twitter thread that has nothing to do with what you do.
With these hacks in play, you can find more time in your day for the things that matter to you most. It requires a little forethought on your part, but you’ll be glad you spent the time in the end.
Take the quiz:
What's your generosity quotient?
To become a groundbreaking leader, you need to know where you stand. Discover your default generosity style with our free assessment.