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Six Ways To Be More Productive Today

Six Ways To Be More Productive Today

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Timothy Ferriss

There seems to be a direct correlation between the number of work-related tasks we are assigned and the amount of time we have in which to complete them. The more tasks we have, it appears, the less time in the day we have to tackle them. So unless you win the lottery or your über-rich uncle leaves you a fortune, you’ll need to hold down a job to have what you need and what you want in life. And this job will include days where it seems the projects pile up on our plate as if we were in a high plains snowstorm. So what does one do when the drifts begin to resemble mountains of “I’ll be late tonight, honey, so start dinner without me.” ? Inc.com asked a few of America’s most successful CEOs about how they practice effective time management in order to increase their productivity. Here’s what these time-savvy individuals have to say about being more diligent and concise at tackling your duties on a daily basis.

1. Avoid multitasking
Author and former CIO of Google Douglas Merril offers some advice that flies in the proverbial face of what we have been taught is necessary to succeed in today’s world: Don’t multitask. “…(O)ur brains just aren’t cut out for it. When you multitask, you’re interfering with your brain’s ability to perform at max-capacity. Yes, you can walk and chew gum at the same time. You can fold laundry while talking to a friend on the phone. Clowns can ride a unicycle while juggling brightly colored balls. These are role tasks that don’t demand a lot of brain power. But in most cases, multitasking=lesstasking. When you make those shifts from one context to another, you risk dropping things from your short-term memory. Do one thing at a time, minimize context shifts, (and) maximize brain power!”

2. Live by the “Two-Pizza” rule
Flickr co-founder Catarina Fake has a unique way to ensure that meetings don’t last any longer than necessary and that all information exchanged is to-the-point and pertinent to the meeting’s aim. “(I) follow Jeff Bezos’s two-pizza rule: Project teams should be small enough to feed with two pizzas. At the beginning of each meeting, everyone (drinks) 16 ounces of water. We… discuss everything on the agenda, make all the decisions that need to be made, and the meeting is over when the first person has to go to the bathroom.”

3. Rank Items on Your To-Do List
Real Estate mogul and co-host of NBC’s “Shark Tank” reality show Barbara Corcoran feels that doing things in order of importance saves time and forces you to focus on what has to be done now versus what could be done later. “Make the next day’s ‘to do’ list before you leave the office. Rate each item A, B, or C based on its importance, and work on A items first.”

4. Have a “Stop Doing” list
Author and founder of Barr Corporate Success Krissi Barr feels that “To Do” lists, while important, are too easy to create and add to. She challenges everyone to create something that’s a little harder to make: A “Stop Doing” list. “A ‘Stop Doing’ list is as important as a ‘To Do’ list. A ‘To Do’ list is easy, you just keep adding to it and the more you have on it, the more important you may feel. But ‘Stop Doing’ is more difficult because you have to give up some things.”

5. Be extra productive during off hours
Seth Priebatsch, CEO of SCVNGR, believes productivity doesn’t clock out at the end of the work day. “I get almost as much done outside normal office hours as during them. I’ll interview people on Saturdays, late at night, early in the morning. If I’m trying to solve a particularly difficult problem, I’ll come in on the weekend, when there’s less going on, and spend a day focusing on it.”

6. Skip meetings
Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, “Shark Tank” co-host, and CEO of HDNet, feels meetings are “a waste of time, unless you are closing a deal.” He says there are a multitude of ways to have real-time communication and that any meetings you do attend should “have a duration and set outcome before you agree to go.”

Despite what the Rolling Stones would have you believe, time is not on your side. Time waits for no one, and it isn’t making more of itself. With a little planning and a lot of discipline, you can make time work more effectively for you and for your business. So get to it. Time’s wasting!