5 ways top executives improve their productivity

Finding enough time in a day to complete all your tasks may be difficult. Sometimes you’re left with small pockets of time that you have no idea what to use on. Then realise where all your time went. Productivity is always key when running a business and making use of every minute you have efficiently could determine how well your company grows.

Here are some of the best tricks practiced by top executives in order to improve their productivity.

 Prepare for your day the night before

By preplanning, you will be able to start your day efficiently and get to work faster. Before going to bed, prepare your breakfast in the kitchen – put coffee in the coffeemaker, put out a non-perishable breakfast such as cereal. You should also iron and lay out the clothes you would like to wear the next day and pack your bag or briefcase and place it by the door so you wouldn’t forget it on your way out. This way, you won’t be spending your morning deciding on what to eat, what you should wear or even looking for items to bring all around your house. This could save you at least half an hour and have you on your way to work worry free!

Additionally, you can also place post it notes on your dresser or mirror to remind yourself of any daily reminders such as “pick up the dry cleaning” or “get the car washed”. Place these post its on dashboards where you would easily notice them

Plan first!

Similarly, you should also set aside some time to your day to plan what your daily tasks are. James W. Botkin in his book Smart Business, give the advice of the 15:4 rule: by spending 15 minutes planning what you’re going to do before you start will save four hours of wasted time later on. A worker who sets aside time to plan her tasks before executing them will accomplish more in the day than one who moves randomly through the day. Boost your company’s productivity by implementing the 15:4 rule for you and your staff.

Use spare time wisely

According to founder of Boardroom inc. Martin Edelston, “Those spare minutes –five minutes here, ten minutes there –can be very, very valuable.” Using these pockets of spare time wisely could allow you to get more done in a day.

The key is to make use these small intervals of time in between meetings or waiting in a line to clear some menial tasks. For example, within five minutes, you could scan your email for important messages, or set up your appointment calendar or even start the guest list for an upcoming event. Alternatively, if you have larger intervals of time, like 30 minutes, skim a quick report, or attempt to clear some parts of a larger project you are working on. There is always something more that can be done during the minutes you waste waiting, so always have something in hand for you to do.

Have a wide network to retrieve information

It gets frustrating sometimes when you’re unable to begin your task because you need information from another department. While this problem may not occur for start-ups with a smaller number of employees, it happens all to often in larger businesses with numerable departments and staff. A tip would be to get to know at least two people from each relevant department so that if you ever need assistance or information from them, it is easily retrievable. Build good relations and assure them that you would be happy to help them as well.

One useful way of making friends from different departments is by purposefully taking different routes around the office to get to your desk. You will definitely meet different people along the way and have more opportunities to interact with them daily.

Reevaluate your routines

There will be times where we feel that the odds are against us no matter how hard we try to be efficient. If you feel like your daily routine and practices are not getting you to where you want, make small changes in your habits and you will see more time opening up. For example, a manager who comes in to office every morning at 7.30am to work on some personal tasks and projects finds that he seems to be making very little headway. He realized that he was using too much time looking for his files and documents. By shifting his habit and preparing his resources the day before, he finds that his mornings are much more productive.

Always ask yourself “should I do this earlier?” or “can this be done better as a team?” By reevaluating your habits and routine, you’ll be able to boost your productivity and achieve more in the same period of time.

There are definitely other ways of improving productivity. More tips and tricks employed by top executives can be found in Stephanie Winston’s book: Organised for Success.

ThunderQuote is the most comprehensive business services portal in Singapore, Australia and ASEAN , where hundreds of thousands of dollars of procurement contracts are sourced every month by major companies like Singapore Press Holdings, National Trade Union Congress and more.

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