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16 Productivity Hacks For Leaders

16 Productivity Hacks For Leaders

Productivity is a skill you have to develop over time, especially for self-made leaders. When you are in charge of running a business, time is your most valued asset. And the one that slips through your fingers the most. By using the following 16 productivity hacks you will learn how to work more effective rather than efficient and create a less busy work routine for yourself.

1. Drop the 9-to-5 Schedule

It’s no longer news that the traditional 9-to-5 workday is not the optimal productivity time span. Depending on your personality type, habits, and lifestyle you might prefer to work from 6 a.m. till lunch or pop in after noon and be the last one to leave. Do the most challenging tasks during your most productive hours and schedule meetings and routine tasks for that time of the day when you start feeling low.

A quick reminder: Don’t be the first to come and the last to leave. In the long run, this practice will ruin productivity and your personal life as your brain will never have a chance to fully recharge. You can’t be a great leader if you can’t properly take care of yourself.

2. Know Your Priorities

Either you learn to prioritize like it’s nobody’s business, or you are doomed. The essential activities that will move your business forward should always be tackled first, even if they are the hardest to crack. Placing effectiveness over efficiency should be your daily mantra. You can never complete everything, yet you can finish the tasks that will move your vision and your company forward.

Here’s an excellent tip from a Pentagon general: “First I make a list of priorities: one, two, three, and so on. Then I cross out everything from three down.”

Multitasking is often deemed to be a good skill, except that it’s not. Numerous tests have proved: chronicle multitaskers in the long run perform worse on the tasks, compared to those handling one problem at a time. Rather than switching between tasks from minute to minute, dedicate a 20-minute chunk of time to a single task, and then switch to the next one. It’s called the Pomodoro technique and you’ll feel your productivity increase from day one.

3. Embrace Power Naps

Your brain needs to reboot after long hours of work. According to scientists, if you need a quick boost of alertness, nap for 10 to 20 minutes; for cognitive memory processing, a 60-minute nap would suit best and a 90-minute nap will involve a full cycle of sleep, which boosts creativity, and emotional and procedural memory. These days there are a lot of smart personal comfort technologies to help you sleep comfortably and even gently wake up you at the right time.

4. Hire the Best Talent

As Joshua Conran, senior partner at Deksia, puts it, “I’ve learned to hire people who are better at specific things than I am. I actively work to ensure I’m the dumbest person in the room. As I do this, I become less needed on a day-to-day basis to complete projects, and the company’s talent actually accomplishes more than I ever could.”

As a leader, make sure you spend time acquiring and keeping the best people in your company, rather than micro-managing and struggling to handle everything on your own.

5. Do Not Check Your Email First Thing in the Morning

Spare that time for more creative tasks, rather than being sucked into hours of back and forth replies. A lot of successful CEOs already reduce their time on handling emails to one to two days per week. You’ll be surprised to know that a lot of people in your company can actually handle their problems without you being involved.

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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 “Airplane Days”

Did you ever notice that you could accomplish more goals while being totally disconnected from the world on a long flight? Well, you don’t need to fly anywhere; you can create the same environment at home or at your office. On “Airplane Days” block out the time on your shared calendar, switch off your phone and network connection, eliminate all other distractions, and focus on dealing with the top three high-priority tasks from your list.

8. Clean Up Your Facebook

No matter how hard you try, you still peak at your Facebook once in a while. To limit the time spent at the social network Roman Grigorjev suggests moving everyone from “friends” to “acquaintances.” This way you’ll see only two to five of the most important posts per day instead of hundreds of cat pictures and personal musing statuses.

9. 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.

10. Don’t Waste Desk Time

Read and reply emails on the go, and save interesting articles you’ve found to Pocket app to catch up on them later. Your desk is the place where you should solely focus on work and nothing else.

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11. Support Your Team

As a leader you should focus on encouraging others to cross things off of their lists just as you do. The more inspired and motivated your team is the more goals you can accomplish at once. If you can help others achieve their daily tasks and overachieve goals, you’ll be able to lead the whole company towards higher productivity.

12. Eat That Frog First

Not literally of course. Start your day with working on the activity you dread most (frog), yet the one that currently stands between you and the next giant step toward success!

13. Always Have the Decision Matrix at Hand

impact-grid

    Going back to prioritizing, if you have a lot of urgent things at hand 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.

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    14. Learn to Say No

    You are often invited to multiple conferences, meetings, and speaking engagements. Learn to refuse the invitations; 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 fun, useful, or interesting. Networking should be limited to a necessary amount. For instance, commit to attending two conferences per year, one to two meetups per month, and so on.

    15. Schedule Appointments With Yourself

    You have dozens of meetings on your calendar, but when was the last time you have specifically blocked a few hours to sit down in peace, gather your thoughts, and go through critical things you want to get done?

    16. Try Voice Recognition Software

    I presume you still type slower than you speak, so using Siri to type messages for you on your iPhone will save you a lot of time. Use Dragon Dictation to type all sort of memos, emails, and other papers for you or Evernote Premium that now has the same feature. This will save you at least one hour a day.

    Featured photo credit: Nana B Agyei via flickr.com

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    Elena Prokopets

    Freelance Writer

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2019

    30 Best Procrastination Quotes to Get You Back to Work

    30 Best Procrastination Quotes to Get You Back to Work

    What do your 3pm fridge raid and perfectly alphabetised bookshelf have in common?

    You most likely did both of them when you should have been doing work.

    Procrastination is one of the most human behaviours. We’re all guilty of putting off what we know is important from time to time, and it seems the more pressing the task at hand, the better we are at avoiding it.

    Sure, it means that every time we have an important deadline we end up with a spotlessly clean house and a completely empty inbox, but the real work gets left until the very last minute and is finished in a frenzy of stress and caffeine.

    But we can gain control over procrastination by noticing it as soon as possible and stopping it in its tracks. On the contrary, you know you have a bad habit when you’re aware you’re putting something off, and you continue avoiding it anyway.

    To start you off with combating procrastination, here are a few quotes to get you in a motivated frame of mind, because if procrastination has any enemies, it’s motivation to work harder.

    A Few Home Truths

      “Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.”
      ― Mark Twain


      “It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”
      ― Leonardo da Vinci


      “Someday is not a day of the week.”
      ― Janet Dailey


      “Success is not obtained overnight. It comes in instalments; you get a little bit today, a little bit tomorrow until the whole package is given out. The day you procrastinate, you lose that day’s success.”
      ― Israelmore Ayivor


      “The man who waits to know everything is the man who never does anything.”
      ― Craig D. Lounsbrough


      “Procrastination is like going to a fancy restaurant and filling up on bread and not leaving enough room for dinner.”
      ― Richie Norton, The Power of Starting Something Stupid: How to Crush Fear, Make Dreams Happen, and Live without Regret


      “Procrastination is the lazy cousin of fear. When we feel anxiety around an activity, we postpone it.”
      ― Noelle Hancock, My Year with Eleanor


      “Doing things at the last minute reminds us of the importance of doing things at the first minute.”
      ― Matshona Dhliwayo


      “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
      ― Abraham Lincoln


      “A day can really slip by when you’re deliberately avoiding what you’re supposed to do.”
      ― Bill Watterson, There’s Treasure Everywhere


      “By what right do I, who have wasted this day, make claims on tomorrow?”
      ― Alain-Fournier, Le Grand Meaulnes


      “If you want to get ahead in life, I’ve found that perhaps the most useless word in the world is “tomorrow.”
      ― José N. Harris


      Some Practical Advice

        “If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.”
        ― Hilary Mantel


        “Thinking too much leads to paralysis by analysis. It’s important to think things through, but many use thinking as a means of avoiding action.”
        ― Robert Herjavec, The Will To Win: Leading, Competing, Succeeding


        “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone”
        ― Pablo Picasso


        “It is only by working the rituals, that any significant degree of understanding can develop. If you wait until you are positive you understand all aspects of the ceremony before beginning to work, you will never begin to work.”
        ― Lon Milo DuQuette, The Magick of Aleister Crowley: A Handbook of the Rituals of Thelema


        “Do first what you don’t want to do most.”
        ― Clifford Cohen


        “How often do you find yourself saying, “In a minute”, “I’ll get to it” or “Tomorrow’s good enough” and every other possible excuse in the book? Compare it with how often you decide it’s got to be done, so let’s get on and do it! That should tell you just how serious your procrastinating problem really is.”
        ― Stephen Richards, The Secret of Getting Started: Strategies to Triumph over Procrastination


        “How to stop procrastinating starts with believing you can overcome procrastination.”
        ― Robert Moment, How to Stop Procrastinating


        “Never put things off…you will wake up and find them gone.”
        ― James Jones


        Some Tough Love

          “Do something instead of killing time. Because time is killing you.”
          ― Paulo Coelho, Aleph


          “If you take too long in deciding what to do with your life, you’ll find you’ve done it.”
          ― George Bernard Shaw


          “If you want to get ahead in life, I’ve found that perhaps the most useless word in the world is “tomorrow.”
          ― José N. Harris


          “What is deferred is not avoided.”
          ― Thomas More


          “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work”
          ― Chuck Close


          “If you always do what is easy and choose the path of least resistance, you never step outside your comfort zone. Great things don’t come from comfort zones.”
          ― Roy Bennett


          “Your ideas have legs and just as they run through your head, they could be running through someone else’s head and it’s just a matter of who gets to the finish line first. Nothing is new under the sun so act on your ideas.”― Sanjo Jendayi


          “You may not be punished for your procrastination, but for sure you will be punished by your procrastination.”
          ― Debasish Mridha


          When You Need Pulling out of Procrastination

            “Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.”
            ― Denis Waitley


            “A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
            ― Karen Lamb


            Print these quotes out, stick them on the wall in front of your desk – do whatever it takes to remember why you shouldn’t be putting your work off, or getting distracted by a desire to rearrange your socks into colour order.

            It won’t be easy, but being aware of how detrimental procrastination is to your longer-term goals is the first step towards overcoming it.

            More Motivational Quotes

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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