Staying sharp and laser-focused can be a serious challenge considering the numerous distractions and energy-draining tasks that can pile up during the course of an average work day. Every business strives for a good performance and productive employees – but how can this be achieved on a practical level? Seartec looks at how some top CEOs stay so productive.
- Don’t overdo it on the to-do list
To-do lists can be invaluable but often they become an endless “dump” of tasks that accumulate and are never ticked off. Studies have shown that 41% of to-do lists are never completed! However, 50% of the items on the list were completed within a day. This means that a productive to-do list should be short, focused and refined daily. Each day, put a few essential tasks which must be accomplished at the top of the list and use that to guide daily activities.
- Don’t stay stuck on one task
Even CEOs have things that they battle to do. If there is something in particular that you struggle with or don’t have the skills to handle, don’t spend precious hours trying to wade through it. Find someone who does have the know-how and delegate the task. This means that you have to be self-aware enough to know your own strengths and weaknesses.
- More meetings, less progress
Facebook uses a strategy called “no-meetings Wednesdays”, which can be applied to any day of the week. It simply means that each employee has one day of the week where no meetings are scheduled – giving them uninterrupted time to work on projects. It’s simple, yet effective, especially if it’s a company policy and everyone adheres to it.
- Use your brain for “processing, not for storage”
David Allen’s Getting Things Done suggests that you optimise your problem solving and creative abilities by freeing up your mind. Write things down immediately instead of trying to remember them. Use apps or a whiteboard (either a traditional one or even an electronic whiteboard) or a journal to capture tasks and dump information. When your mind has been emptied and you feel confident that everything important is noted somewhere, you are able to sort through the information and address challenges in a more clear-headed way.
- Don’t neglect yourself
Don’t use work as an excuse not to eat properly, exercise or to binge on caffeine. The most productive CEOs recognise that mind and body are all part of one machine and that machine must be maintained. So take regular breaks, stay properly hydrated and exercise more – even if it’s just a short walk or doing a few stretches in the office.
- Put that phone on silent!
Every single CEO interviewed agreed on one thing – no matter how you prefer to work, it is necessary to block off time where there are no distractions. Many studies have dispelled the myth of multitasking, as our brains are far more productive when focused on one task than they are of they are trying to deal with many things simultaneously. This is why numerous CEOS allocate regular time slots where they put their phone onto airplane mode, refuse to take calls or go somewhere where no one can reach them.