As a leader, the pressure to be constantly available, productive and effective can be overwhelming. With so many things to juggle, it's easy to lose sight of what truly matters and get caught up in the noise of the ever-urgent work environment.
To achieve true success and make a real impact, it's crucial to be intentional about how you spend your time and energy.
Four actionable steps that can help you get above the noise and be more productive
- Shorter meetings
Meetings can quickly eat up your time and energy, leaving you with little time to focus on your actual work. To combat this, try scheduling shorter meetings. Instead of defaulting to hour-long meetings, aim for 25-minute meetings with a clear agenda and purpose. You'll be surprised at how much can be accomplished in a shorter amount of time when everyone is focused on the task at hand.
Action: Identify 3 meetings in the next week that could be reduced to 25 minutes.
- Work with the clock in your body
Not everyone is at their most productive during the typical 9-5 workday. Pay attention to your body's natural rhythms and work during your most productive hours. This may mean getting up earlier or working later in the day, but it can lead to greater productivity and a better work-life balance. The key is to be mindful of when you are most productive and schedule your work accordingly.
Action: Identify your chronotype. Are you an early bird or a night owl? Once you have done this, protect this time for your deep or mentally intense work.
- Create purple patches
It's easy to get caught up in the constant barrage of emails, notifications, and requests. To combat this, block off time in your calendar for deep, focused work. These 'purple patches' can be an hour or two of uninterrupted time where you focus on your most important tasks. Turn off notifications and eliminate distractions so you can focus on the task at hand. You'll be amazed at how much you can accomplish when you give yourself dedicated time to focus.
Action: Schedule a one-hour recurring meeting with yourself during your 'best' time and protect it vigorously.
- Prioritise rest, fuel, and movement
Taking care of your body is essential for productivity. Make sure you're getting enough rest, eating healthy food, and moving your body regularly. Taking breaks throughout the day can also help you recharge and stay focused. Whether it's a short walk, stretching or a quick meditation session, taking time to recharge can help you be more productive and focused in the long run.
Action: Choose one of the levers of rest, fuel and movement to focus on this week. This might mean going to bed an hour earlier, or a short walk in the morning, or eating breakfast. Do it for a full week and notice the difference.
By implementing these four steps, you can get above the noise and achieve greater productivity. Remember, it's not about working harder, but about working smarter. Don't let the busyness of everything consume you - take control of your time and energy and make the most of every day. By being intentional about how you spend your time, you can achieve greater success and make a real impact in your work and life.