By Patricia Bennett, CEO
I have come to realize that productivity is a skill that you can learn over time. As the leader of my company, I find that my time is my most important asset. Here are some lessons I have learned, (sometimes the hard way, and some I am still learning) to be more effective.
1. Flexibility in Work Hours
Working 9-5 may not be the best time span for productivity. Your personality and lifestyle may mean you prefer working from 6 a.m. till 3 p.m., or perhaps noon to 8 p.m. fits you better. I recommend that you tackle your most challenging projects during your most productive hours and schedule meetings and routine tasks for that time of day when you start to wane.
2. Know Your Priorities
Prioritizing may be the best skill you develop. Always address the critical activities to move your business forward first, even if they are the most difficult. For example, set aside at least an hour every day to work on your business to keep your vision alive. For example, if you know that managing by spreadsheet is error-prone and becoming a pain, use your time to investigate automation solutions that will handle tasks more effectively.
Don’t be unrealistic when creating your priorities list. Break down a project that may require more time into increments so you can accomplish them.
Make sure you list those things that must be done today first and get them done
3. Personal Time in the morning
Spend 15 to 30 minutes with yourself every morning. If you want meditate and quiet your mind. This gives you clarity for the day and allows you to prioritize your day ahead of time.
4. Hire the Best
Hiring people who are better than I am with knowledge of specific areas of the business is a necessity. As a leader, to grow the business to the next level, the goal is to become less needed on a day-to-day basis. If I hire the right people, they can actually accomplish more than I ever could.
It is tempting as a leader to handle things on your own. You can empower your employees by allowing them to make decisions, and mentor them to get the outcomes that you expect.
5. This one is hard. Don’t check email first thing.
Don’t get sucked into hours of back and forth replies. Use your time for more creative tasks. Some successful CEOs reduce their time on handling emails to one to two days per week. You may not have to be involved for problems to get solved. I am not there but I am working on this one.
6. Listen to Yourself
Choose those types of productivity tools that help you most. If you react better to constant reminders from your phone or desktop pop-ups — install some handy apps! If you like to write down things and physically tick them off, buy a big planner and a fancy pen. Don’t follow trends, self-reflect and use what suits you most.
7. Set Up a “No Distractions” Zone
You can insulate yourself from distractions by giving yourself “Do not disturb” time for part of the day in the office. Your focus and ability to get something done with fewer errors will improve. Focus on dealing with the top three high-priority tasks from your list.
8. Use the 2-Minute Rule
If it takes less than two minutes to finish the task do it right now. Yes, as simple as that, but believe me this small habit can drastically increase your productivity if you use it.
9. Always Have the Decision Matrix at Hand
Going back to prioritizing, if you have a lot of urgent things to do or a small crisis going around, use this simple, yet highly effective decision-making matrix.
Everything that is easy to do and will have a big impact should be labeled as a “do it now” priority. Smaller impact and easy-to-do items should be delegated. The big impact and hard-to-do items get put into the mix for prioritization against other initiatives.
10. Learn to Say No
Learn to refuse invitations to multiple conferences and meetings; you will never have time to focus on what’s truly important while trying to chase some possible opportunities out there, even if they seem useful or interesting. Networking should be limited to a necessary amount.
Do you have some great productivity tips you would like to share? Please comment below.
Patricia Bennett is the founder of PC Bennett Solutions, a company dedicated to providing end-to-end services for Acumatica software. With over 14 years selling, implementing and tailoring business systems, PC Bennett Solutions is the go-to company for successful Cloud or on premise ERP Systems.