The problem isn’t that you, as CEO or business owner, need to be more productive than anyone else within your business. If everyone efficiently accomplishes their share of work, the business should thrive. Rather, the problem is that you almost always claim a significantly larger share of responsibilities, so it is much harder for you to be efficient or effective in every task.
As a result, you might spend 90 hours a week at work, rarely see your family and friends, and have an abominable sleeping and exercising schedule — all for the goal of completing the bare minimum of your tasks.
However, this is the wrong strategy. To be an effective CEO, you should focus on devoting your time to the right activities instead of devoting as much time as possible to your work. The following work hacks should help you develop more efficient habits that ensure you increase your productivity and accomplish more of your duties on time.
Undoubtedly, you’ve already heard of the big strategies for reducing distractions while you work: staying away from social media and email, logging out of internal messaging services, closing office doors against talkative employees, etc. However, you probably didn’t listen, and as a result, you are constantly prevented from concentrating on important tasks.
For just one week, you should take this common advice and remove distractions from your workday. Whenever you want to deeply concentrate, you can put your phone in airplane mode, log out of email, social media, and IM on your computer, and get to work. You should turn off any and all notifications, which might pull you away from your current task, and you should let your coworkers and loved ones know that you won’t be reachable for a certain period of time. Then, you should be able to work through your most important responsibilities quickly and efficiently.
Organize Your Tasks
There is a reason that division of labor was so revolutionary in the last industrial revolution: Workers waste time trying to switch between different tasks, and lost time is lost money. As much as you can, you should chunk your duties together, so you can make the most of your precious time and reduce the likelihood of distraction. For example, many CEOs only check their email twice per day: in the mornings and evenings. Additionally, you should try to schedule meetings into big blocks, so you’ll have the right mindset throughout and you won’t interrupt other tasks while you scurry to different conference rooms. Organizing your time is crucial for doing more work in less time.
Use Fewer Tools
There’s a misconception that the more tools you have, the more effective you will be at your job. However, this is simply not the case. For every new tool you use, you must devote time and energy to learning how to use it, importing your information into it, and integrating it into your daily schedule. If you are constantly switching back and forth between different applications, you are wasting huge chunks of time shifting from one skillset to another. With too many tools, you can’t be productive.
Instead, you should limit your tools to just one or two with broader applications. For example, if you run a salon, all you truly need is a thorough hairstylist appointment book; if you run a bookstore, a comprehensive catalogue should suffice. You can research the best tools that provide all the functionality your business needs.
Automate as Much as You Can
CEOs must often complete repeated or mindless tasks. For these, you should acquire some sort of automated software that will largely perform your responsibility without your direct engagement. Marketing is an ideal field for this: Scheduling software can automatically update various social media sites and blogs with inputted content, so you don’t have to worry a second over what you’re going to write your followers today. Nearly any tasks that occur on a regular basis can be automated, allowing you to devote more energy to more complicated responsibilities.
Be Happy and Healthy
Perhaps most important to your productivity are your mental and physical health. If your brain is foggy from lack of sleep, if you’re unhappy about a relationship, if you have pain or discomfort anywhere in your body, you won’t be doing your best work. Thus, it is imperative that you exercise, eat well, sleep enough, and generally maintain a healthy balance between your work and your life. You should spend your free time doing things that make you smile and laugh — with people you love — so when you head back into work, you feel refreshed and ready to be productive.