No matter what job you do or how long you’ve been in business we all have the same restriction as today’s top business leaders, we all have 24 hours in a day to get through our day-to-day to-do lists.
So, why does it seem like CEOs and business leaders can accomplish so much more than the average person? The difference between your life or Elon Musk’s is defined by what you choose to do with the hours you’re allotted.
Here are a few productivity tips from today’s leading CEOs.
Get a good start: Establish a Morning Routine
A productive day starts as soon as you wake up but it doesn't have to start at the crack of dawn but there’s something to be said for being ready to start your day by 7 a.m. Your morning routine is essential to set the tone for the rest of your day, these precious first hours count for a whole lot and will set you up for the rest of the day. One way to be more productive is to choose one activity that will start your day on a positive note. It incentivises you to get out of bed, get moving, and start your day with a healthier outlook.
Whether it be taking your dog for a walk around the block, meditating for a few minutes, or even making a full breakfast, the most important aspect of any morning routine is that it’s made up of actions you can commit to doing everyday. There are a ton of ways you can choose to start your day, be sure to make the most of every morning.
Take Advantage of Your Commute
One of the best ways to stay productive all day long is to make the most of your free time. Your morning and afternoon commutes might seem like blocks of lost time but you can actually use them to your benefit. The average commute time in the UK is between 30-40 minutes, this means your time to and from the office each day offers up at least an hour of time you can use to stay productive. Preparing for a meeting, listening to business-related news, taking a calls, or simply reading and responding to emails (for those who use public transit) are just some of the ways to be productive during your commute.
In fact, many find their commute to be a great way to stimulate thinking and planning, whether it be while driving, walking, or riding the train. Any work-related activity completed during your commute can free up time for other projects or allow you to tie up any loose ends from your day’s work.
Tackle Toughest Tasks First
Procrastination is probably one of the biggest arch-enemies to our productivity. We often leave our most difficult tasks until the end of the day, but this can kill your productivity levels.
Why waste that time on meetings or reading emails? Challenge yourself to complete your most challenging tasks, or the things that must get done by the end of the day, before lunch time. Not only does this open up your afternoon to complete any last-minute or additional tasks, but it also gives you a great sense of momentum to complete your day.
Think about how great it feels to check off a task on your to-do list; it’s an even better feeling when that task is the hardest one you have. The rest of your day will feel like a breeze, and you’re not spending the day in dread. It’s much easier to be productive when you’re in a good mood.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: Exercise
If you’re constantly busy, you might argue that there’s no time for exercise in your daily schedule. However, many successful entrepreneurs and business leaders credit their fitness routine as a critical component of their success. Their thinking is totally accurate; there are many scientific studies that support the impact of exercise on productivity.
One study from Bristol University found that exercise improves concentration, motivation, and speed to completing a project. Getting into the habit of regular exercise can supercharge your energy levels when working. It can also help to establish a morning routine, as discussed earlier.
Even a brisk walk on your lunch hour or with your dog, can help you clear your mind and focus throughout the rest of the day.
Collaboration is vital
If there’s one skill that many business-minded individuals have a tough time learning, it’s asking for help. Whether you want to seem like you can “do it all”, you're apprehensive to impose on others or your ego just has a tough time thinking someone else can do it better, failing to collaborate with others can have an adverse effect on productivity.
Not asking for help forces you to spend more time on low-priority tasks, instead of things that actually move you and your business forward. Separating the work makes a difficult task more manageable and easier to accomplish, all in a shorter amount of time.
Set Daily Goals
When you’re hoping to accomplish a certain set of tasks, it’s often best to plan your day the night or day before. This way, you’re less likely to be caught up in the hectic morning or sidetracked by new tasks that might arise throughout the day. Planning ahead focuses you on what needs to get done within your working hours.
Carve out a few minutes right before you leave the office or as soon as you get home, note a few things you’re hoping to complete the following day. Not only will this give you an idea of what lies ahead, but it allows you to decide what tasks need to be a first priority while the work day is still fresh in your memory.
Recharge: Take Time Back
As an entrepreneur, you're stressed, this is part of who you are, in other words, part of your 'anatomy' however you need to know how to take time to recharge. In the same way that your Monday through Friday is dedicated to the daily grind, your weekend should be set aside to relax and recharge for the week ahead.
It’s important to reward your week of productivity with your favourite hobbies, spending time with friends and family, or just taking some well-needed R&R. Your mental wellbeing is one of the most important aspects of your health to take care of, choosing a regular recharge time each week has been scientifically proven to support physical and mental wellbeing, as well as boost immunity and reduce stress. If anything, use your Saturday to be unproductive. Then, utilise your Sunday to plan out your week or accomplish any smaller tasks that allow you to be more productive throughout the work week.
How can you implement these CEOs' productivity lessons?
If you are looking to make more of the twenty-four hours in your day, think about how you can incorporate some of these ideas into your personal workflow. Structuring your day to achieve maximum productivity isn’t just about what you do within your work hours. Even the smallest adjustments to your daily routine can help you become more productive. You might be surprised to learn just how much you can do in a day.