Successful Executives Reveal Productivity Tips for Improved Performance

Any employee can be busy at work. Being busy, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that a worker is using their time effectively and wisely. Tim Ferriss, the author of “The 4-Hour Work Week,” advises people to focus their energy on being productive rather than busy.

Successful executives and leaders know how to accomplish the goals they set in less time compared to other people. They understand that time management is a critical skill, as this directly affects the success of their organisation.

If you’re looking to be more productive and effective at work, take note of these five productivity tips from executives who are at the top of their game:

1. Seek Help When You Need It

Rather than waste time stressing over a task that you’re not sure how to handle, get up your chair and ask for assistance. You can boost your productivity when you have people helping you. Neo Kian Hong, the Chief Executive Officer of SMRT, believes that people will perform if they have the tools and support they need to do their job.  ; 

Asking for support and collaborating with your colleagues are not signs of weaknesses — and you should never look at them that way. They’re an indication that you trust your co-workers enough to let them give you a helping hand.

2. Be Proactive

The road to better productivity and career success begins with you. No one else can mould your life exactly the way you want, so being proactive means taking ownership of the things under your circle of control.

Take the SMRT CEO again as an example. When he took over the role of Chief Executive Officer, he made it his personal mission to check out the maintenance works at night and visit the train stations during the day.

Instead of waiting for major problems to come and addressing them as they arise, he took a hands-on approach by being on the ground. Doing so has helped Mr Neo better understand the problems that the riding public is facing on their journeys.

3. Block Out Distractions that Eat Up Your Productive Time

Steve Jobs, the charismatic founder of Apple, was incredibly strict about filtering out distractions. Many would come to him to discuss all sorts of problems, such as issues with manpower or legal concerns. If he didn’t want to tackle these problems, he would give these issues the cold shoulder. What he would do is to choose a few things that were important to him — and ruthlessly filter out the rest.

Getting rid of distractions (or pretending they don’t exist) is key to keeping your productivity levels high. If the distractions in the office are overwhelming you, take a deep breath, find a quiet area to work if you can and focus on finishing the essential tasks.

4. Keep Meetings Short and Meaningful

Extraneous business meetings are something that business leaders dislike. During these times, people can forget the agendas, get distracted and bring up matters that are unimportant or irrelevant to the conversation.

What’s more, pointless company meetings are a drain to an organization’s finances. A report from ZDNet revealed that bad meetings are costing U.S. business professionals and enterprises approximately $399 billion.

If you want to stay productive, try to limit the number of meetings you hold in your department. If a meeting is necessary, keep it as short as possible and stick strictly to the agendas.

Richard Branson, founder and CEO of Virgin Group, recommends conducting meetings standing up to keep things brief. He says that this approach is a fast way to get down to business and make important decisions.

Another way to keep meetings impactful and short is to set an agenda. Chris O’Neill, the Chief Executive Officer at Evernote, adheres to a no agenda, no attendance policy. If the host of the meeting fails to provide an agenda, you shouldn’t attend.

5. Keep Email Responses Short and Sweet

As much as possible, keep your email responses concise and straight to the point. Kuchoon Co-Founder, Andrew Torba, takes e-mail conciseness to another level. On top of writing one-word email responses, he imposes character limits on his emails — similar to tweets people post on Twitter.

When you keep your emails short, you save a lot of writing time and save your co-workers’ reading time. If the issue is too complicated to discuss in an email, arrange a meeting with the concerned parties.

Keep these productivity tips in mind, so you can get more work done in the office. Tackling the seemingly endless tasks on your plate may seem impossible at first glance. If you make the effort to follow these strategies, however, you’ll be surprised by how much work you can complete in a single day.