Personal productivity is a key differentiator between those who succeed in their chosen field and those who do not,” says bestselling author Brian Tracy. Leaders and entrepreneurs who are at the top of their game know how to achieve what they want in less time than others. We can learn a lot from the tactics of these successful, and incredibly busy, individuals on how to better organize our own days.
Here are 9 top tips worth trying out:
1.Have a single purpose focus. One thing many successful entrepreneurs have in common is the ability to focus on what matters most. Jason Goldberg, CEO of Fab.com, has this piece of advice: “Pick one thing and do that one thing—and only that one thing—better than anyone else ever could.” We can derive a great deal of power from developing a laser focus on our top business priorities. It’s one of the attributes that sets apart the average businessperson from the more successful one.
2. Ruthlessly block out distractions. Tennis legend Martina Navratilova says, “I concentrate on concentrating.” For those of us who don’t have the willpower to be self-accountable, there are several technology solutions for blocking out distractions. For example, you can reduce time spent on Social media including face book, twitter, Google plus or Linked in e.t.c or even do away with those that are of little help to you.
3. Set a strict time limit on meetings. Gary E. McCullough, former U.S. army captain and now CEO of Career Education Corp., gives people half of the time they ask for a meeting or appointment. This forces them to be brief, clear and to the point. “By doing that, I am able to cram a number of things in the day and move people in and out more effectively and more efficiently,” McCullough says. People generally don’t need as much time as they ask for. Meetings are time vampires. Be ruthless in managing this endemic productivity drain so you can focus on high value tasks.
4. Set up productivity rituals. Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project, provides four tips for setting up rituals to automate behaviors that will make us more productive, without depleting our energy reservoir. One of them is prioritizing one key task to accomplish per day, and starting your day focused on that task. “Force yourself to prioritize so that you know that you will finish at least that one critical task during the period of the day when you have the most energy and the fewest distractions,” Schwartz says.
5. Get up earlier. Research shows that mornings can make or break your day. It’s not uncommon for successful CEOs to start their day well before 6 a.m. As Laura Vanderkam says in What Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide To Making Over Your Morning—And Life, while many are sleeping in, successful people are already up and getting a lot done. If this is not your preference, Vanderkam advises to start with small steps, such as getting up just 15 minutes earlier every day and gradually increasing the time.
6. Outsource personal chores. Highly productive people are selective about how they expend their energy. They don’t waste it on tasks that others can do. For example, you can outsource services like washing clothes or even cooking meals which will be delivered or bought from the restaurants. Do a cost/benefit analysis of how you spend your time and see if it’s worth offloading some repetitive tasks so you can focus on what will bring value to your company.
7. Set up email rules to maintain sanity. Designer Mike Davidson has set up an email policy that limits any email he sends to five sentences. As he explains, many email messages in his inbox take more time for him to answer than they did for the sender to write. Analyze your email habits and institute time-saving policies that work for your particular situation.
8. Capture all creative ideas. The world renowned scientist Dr. Linus Pauling once said, “The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.” Most leaders and entrepreneurs are visionaries who generally don’t lack good ideas; however, capturing all these ideas is often a challenge for busy people.
9. Don’t lose it: Read it later. Don’t miss out on important information because you’re in a rush and have no time to read.