As an executive, you’re not alone in feeling like you never have enough time in your day. There are always opportunities that arise unexpectedly, meetings that run over or fires that need to be put out. Read on for five easy ways to improve your productivity. (Yes, you probably already KNOW these tips, but are you DOING them?)
Tackle the Most Important Tasks First
Begin every day by making a list of the things you need to get done and prioritize the most important tasks. That way, you can avoid spending all your time and energy on less important things and burning out during the day.
Batching is a strategy in which you group similar tasks together and do them consecutively. This allows you to focus better, which in turns improves productivity and performance. For example, if you have to evaluate the performance of several of your managers, dedicate a number of hours to do so, and get as many evaluations done as possible in that time. For the best results, give yourself a five to 10-minute break every 90 minutes.
Reserve Uninterrupted Time for Deep Focus Work
Sometimes a task is more complex and requires you to focus deeply. It’s best to determine how long you need and then make sure you’re not interrupted during that time. Note that every time you’re interrupted it takes 15 minutes to return to a state of deep focus again. When you have an important task, decide how much time you think you need to complete it and then set that time aside. When the time comes, turn off your phone and all alerts. Plan for break after 90 minutes to help maintain your energy levels.
Limit How Much Time You Spend on Emails, Messaging and Meetings
As U.S. News points out, emails, messaging and meetings are notorious for being time-consuming. Be selective about the meetings you take, and reserve one or two blocks of time to handle messages and emails each day — for example at the beginning and end of the workday. In addition, keep all your communications concise and to the point.
It’s impossible to do everything yourself and delegating is a valuable time management tool. Make sure you hand off tasks to team members who are capable of seeing them through without your input.
Productivity isn’t about working harder; it’s about working smarter. If you keep these strategies in mind, you’ll soon see your workdays become more streamlined — and that in turn can have a positive impact on your performance.