Ilya Pozin is an entrepreneur, writer and investor. He is the founder of Open Me, a social greeting card company, and Ciplex, a digital marketing agency. He’s a columnist on entrepreneurship and marketing
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Productivity is a hot topic for just about everyone in the working world. But when it comes to those of you in a leadership role, the need for increased productivity and efficiency may be even more glaring.
Maybe you’re a CEO, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, or even a project manager. All of these positions have one thing in common: The need to accomplish more than you probably have time for… a lot more, really. Toss in the unavoidable workplace distractions and the temptations of social media, and you’ve got a recipe for productivity loss.
Unlike lower-level employees, if your productivity level sucks, there’s no one to blame but yourself. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to rejuvenate your productivity.
Leaders, try these tips:
1. Redefine your to-do list
Ask yourself: Do you really get things done when you create a lengthy, unnecessary to-do list? I know I don’t. For a more productive way to accomplish tasks, try scheduling what you need to accomplish right down to the minute.
For instance, take today’s tasks and add them to your calendar with a specific time allotment. If you’re looking to add some extra heat to your productivity, create a tight deadline for yourself and stick to it.
2. Avoid meetings like the plague
You don’t need to attend every meeting you’re invited to. While it may feel like being there will keep you “in the know,” you’re actually wasting valuable time you could be spending on accomplishing things.
Set your own personal rules for what types of meetings you’ll make mandatory and which you’ll politely decline. If all else fails, skip out early and catch up on notes later.
3. Get a hobby
This may sound counter-productive, but you’d be surprised what a hobby can do for time management – like joining an intramural soccer league, for example.
If you know you have practice or games certain nights a week, you’ll be more likely to fly through your tasks with efficiency. Also, taking time for activities away from work means you’ll probably be a lot happier on the job.
4. Quit chasing perfection
If you’re constantly sending things back to the drawing board or tweaking them into oblivion, you’re not only killing your productivity, but also your team’s.
Forget chasing 100 percent and settle for 80 percent. This is known as the 80/20 rule. Your productivity level will rise because once you’ve completed 80 percent of a task, the remaining 20 percent only gets you diminishing returns anyway.
5. Get an early start
Whether you come in an hour early every morning or knock out some projects on Sunday evening, getting an early start may be just what you need for increased productivity.
Diving in earlier than normal will allow you to cut through some of the daily noise, dedicate more time to a task than normal, and clear off your plate much faster.
6. Truly trust your team
Delegation could save you hours of time every day, week, month, and even year. If you’re not making this an active part of your workplace routine, you probably don’t trust your team.
Just because someone completes a task differently than you doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Rather than trying to tackle everything on your own, delegate some of your work to those employees whom you trust the most.
7. Minimize online distractions
Locking yourself in your office isn’t doing much for your productivity if you’re obsessively checking social media, your phone, the news or other websites. If you’re unable to put an end to your distracting online tendencies, then maybe you need the help of an app.
8. Set email boundaries
If your inbox is the main culprit in your productivity downfall, it’s time to set some boundaries.
Choose a few times a day to check your inbox and make your schedule known to those who email you most frequently. If someone needs to reach you for an important matter, have them call or text you directly.
9. Cut down on planning
How much time do you spend every day just planning to accomplish something? Instead of twiddling your thumbs, dive right in. Remember, you can always go back and prove throughout the process. In most cases, getting a jumpstart is more important than planning.
10. Avoid tunnel vision
Contrary to popular belief, tunnel vision isn’t indicative of productivity. In fact, staring at your screen for five hours will probably leave you feeling a little fried. Be sure to take regular breaks so you can come back to your project or task feeling refreshed.
Leaders, put these tips into play to boost efficiency and give your productivity a jump to the next level.
How do you stay productive as leader?