The daily responsibilities of an executive are endless. Problems arise when you get bogged down in small daily tasks to the neglect of larger, more strategic initiatives. You can easily lose days putting out one fire after another, not realizing until the end of the week that you have made no real impact on your business. Stay focused on your career and organizational goals to maximize your productivity.
Busy Does Not Mean Productive
You can be genuinely busy all day and still not achieve your goals. It’s tempting to power through quick, simple tasks that you can check off your to-do list. However, many of these can and should be delegated or given a lower priority. Focus instead on the items that only you can perform effectively and those that will propel your organizations forward.
Determine the relative importance of everything on your to-do list and act accordingly. Focus on one or two significant goals per day. Add two or three tasks of lesser importance that you can work on if you have time. Move to lesser tasks only when your top priorities have been accomplished.
The key to effective management is allowing each member of your team to play to their strengths. Hire well, then trust your people. Handle only the most critical tasks yourself. You can’t control everything, as much as you might want to. Focus on the big picture and let your subordinates handle the details.
Plan Your Day
Planning ahead is critical to avoid flying by the seat of your pants all day. Trying to strategize the night before is preferred, but early morning may work for you as well. Look at what you hope to accomplish in your day and decide what will reasonably fit. Start with appointments or meetings that can’t be moved and high-priority projects.
Create a Buffer
When you schedule things back to back, your day can go completely off the rails if any one thing takes longer than projected. Give yourself fifteen to thirty minutes between appointments whenever possible.
Block Out Distraction-Free Time
Make regular appointments to think and work without interruption. Strategizing requires uninterrupted time. Go off-site if you must. Working from home or a coffee shop is sometimes the only way to prevent repeated knocks at your door.
Lead the Way
Does your organization have a culture of busyness? You can change that. Launch an initiative to identify redundancies and busywork so that every employee spends more time on productive work. Corporate culture comes from the top down. If you can change yourself, you can change the organization.
Focus On One Thing
As commonplace as multitasking has grown the last few years, it’s not an effective way of getting things done. Make an effort to focus on just a single task until it is done. Keeping your desk clear, your email closed and your phone on do not disturb can help.
Get the Right Start
Don’t start your day rushed or frantic. Get up early enough to allow contemplative time, exercise and a good breakfast. Your first hour or two sets the tone for your entire day.
If hiring the right people is one of your current priorities, the executive search consultants at BrainWorks can help. We have the resources, experience and expertise to identify and attract proven leaders to your organization. To learn more, read our related posts or contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you!