Isn’t it strange how you seem to never have enough time, no matter how much you try? It seems to slip through your fingers like sand. Well, if you are having trouble leading your normal-human life, imagine what CEOs of top companies have to go through? Actually, they are pretty much all sorted out time-wise – they have killer time-management skills! Here are 8 excellent tips to get jobs done on time, have a working schedule and still have a life! Grab these tips by the collar and make them your own, and enjoy more productivity, every day.
Top Time Management Tips That CEO’s Have Been Hiding
1. Note it down
This is the first tip many CEOs offer – make every minute of the day count, assign a task to every hour. You should also jot down all the ideas that occur to you during the day or at night in the same place. This can be done in many ways – using an online list-making app from your smartphone, or a reminder list in your phone. Or you can choose the old-fashioned way, like Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer, using a notebook where you write down your daily to-do lists and scratch them off as they are accomplished. Not only does this put everything that you need to do in one place, you also get a sense of fulfillment as you finish off the tasks one by one. You can even color-code them for more efficiency like VMWare CEO Patrick Gelsinger.
2. Wake up early
Most of us are night owls nowadays, even though it is scientifically proven that the best time to sleep is between 11PM to 4AM and that the work our brain does in the wee hours of the night stays less longer in our memory. There is a long list of highly successful people who avoid late-night habits and have a productive morning routine instead – GE CEO Jeff Immelt, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Disney CEO Bob Iger, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz are just some of them. All of these CEOs work out in the mornings to stay fit and healthy and then indulge in some me-time, watching the news, catching up on TV, or getting ahead of their day’s work by sending and reading mails, preparing the day’s to-do list, etc.
3. Don’t work on Aeroplanes
Most businessmen use the time spent on flights to do more work. However some successful people like Evernote CEO Phil Libin use this time to relax. Giving your mind and body enough time to relax and rejuvenate is important for your ability to be productive – it is a proven fact that working for hours on end reduces your levels of productivity. The CEO of the note-taking software uses his time spent on planes to catch up on video games, watch movies, reading books and taking that long nap during a particularly busy day. This kind of scheduling of time to relax also makes you look forward to these sessions and makes the work-time more fruitful.
4. Learn to say No
The great entrepreneur Malcolm S. Forbes said, “One worthwhile task carried to a successful conclusion is worth half-a-hundred half-finished tasks.” This is great advice for people who lead busy lives – there is only so much you can fit into a single day. So stop thinking yourself to be some superhuman – you will end up doing everything in a slapdash manner, if you bite off more than you can chew. Always keep in mind Oprah Winfrey’s words – “You can have it all. Just not all at once.”
5. Say No to distractions too
You need to be even stricter with temptations or distractions that might lure you away from the work at hand. – allow yourself to relax only after you have accomplished the present task in your to-do list. There are so many things to distract us in today’s world – instant messages, emails, phone calls, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Log out of all your social media accounts, switch your phone off and hang a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on your door when you are doing work of utmost importance. Also resist the urge to reply to emails as they pop up on your screen.
6. Assign every day with a single “Must Do” task
To ensure that every single day of your week is spent doing something important, assign one significant task to each day. Put it on top of your to-do list, call it your “Must Do” task and do that the first thing in the day. Also it is a mistake to put in too many tasks in your to-do list aiming to cram in as much as you can in a day. As entrepreneur James Clear explains, if you do the important task at first, you won’t have a single day when you haven’t done something important.
7. Engage in true productivity through effective time management
Being busy all day is not a measure of your productivity, as Timothy Ferriss puts it so well, “People checking their BlackBerry over dinner is not the measure of productivity.” There has to be a time for everything – doing one task at a time always wins over multi-tasking. You must allow time even for interruptions during a day – do not let a minor interruption ruin an important task; deal with it calmly and quickly, asking that person to make an appointment later. Increase your quality of work by taking five minutes before every call or activity to think on what you mean to achieve from it – always do your homework.
8. Be strategic
Every successful person has a strategy that works for him or her – it is like a mantra that makes their days “flow” productively. You must find your own strategy – a plan that works for, setting achievable goals, taking on manageable tasks, finding the most productive time zone of your day, etc. Being completely focused on your area of work is also an essential part of your strategy – dabbling in too many things won’t make you an expert in a single one of them.