One of the most challenging aspects of leadership is finding ways to manage your time while leading your team down the path of success. As leaders, you have probably asked yourself on a regular basis, “How can I find the time to get everything done without sacrificing time with my family?”
On today’s episode of The Aspiring New Leader Podcast, Dan and Jacob discuss time management strategies and productivity techniques that can help you get it all done and add 2 hours to your hectic daily schedule to allow you to be more productive and spend more time with your family.
“Your time and your team’s time is valuable. Try to schedule everything.” – Jacob Roddis
10 Time Management & Productivity Tips for The Aspiring New Leader:
- The Morning Routine – Wake up early, hydrate, meditate or pray, and do one thing that takes a lot of energy.
- Separate Strategic Tasks from Brain Dead Tasks – Front-load your calendar with tasks requiring strategic planning and cognitive skills.
- Email Management – Only check your email twice a day.
- Calendar To-Dos – Schedule to-dos on a calendar – not a to-do list.
- Chunk Your Work
- Shorten Your Meetings, or Cancel Them
- Reduce the Number of People Attending Meetings
- Schedule Office Time vs. Drop-in Visits
- Always Have an Agenda for Meetings with Priorities – Collaborate with meeting attendees, outline the goal, identify the facilitator and time keeper, follow-up and set deadlines.
- The 80/20 Mindset – Determine what part of your job you should be focusing on 80% of the time and have strategic focus throughout the year on your job.
5 Bonus Black Friday Productivity Tips for Aspiring New Leaders:
- Just say no.
- David Allen’s Next Action Strategy
- David Allen’s Weekly Review
- The Evening Routine Strategy by Jeff Sanders
- The Importance of Sleep – 10 Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep
The Aspiring New Leader’s Email Management Tips:
- The 2-minute rule – if it takes you less than 2 minutes to respond, do it. If not, schedule to complete later.
- Turn off email while doing other important tasks.
- Turn off your email notifications on your devices.
Steps to Chunking Your Time for Aspiring New Leaders:
- Focus on one thing at a time and don’t let yourself be distracted.
- If work takes more than an hour to do, break it up into chunks that each take less than an hour to complete.
- If you have several little things to do, bundle them into chunks that take at least 10 minutes to complete.
- Allow yourself frequent, small breaks between the chunks to clear your mind and enjoy your progress and accomplishments.
Subscribe & Review to The Aspiring New Leader Podcast!
Thank you for joining us on this week’s episode of The Aspiring New Leader Podcast! We’re happy you joined us and hope the information, interviews, tools, and tips we share have helped you learn new, creative ways to improve your leadership skills.
If you found the content in this episode inspirational or helpful, please help us reach even more aspiring new leaders by subscribing to the show on iTunes or Stitcher, leaving your honest feedback, and sharing it with your friends. Be sure to check out our website at NewToLeadership.com to download your free downloadable PDF on ways to help you improve your sleep habits, as well as other helpful guides to help you lead a better life, business, and career.
Read Podcast Transcript
005 – How to Add 2 Hours of Productivity to Your Day
DAN: Welcome to The Aspiring New Leader Podcast. I’m your host Dan Perryman and you have joined us for Episode 5. In today’s episode we’re going to be discussing how to add 2 hours of productivity to your day. Joining us, as always, Jacob, welcome.
JACOB: Happy to be here. Have you noticed that’s my tag line?
DAN: Happy to be here?
JACOB: Yea. I think I’ve used it in every episode. Now we’re going to be fact checked and people are going to realize I didn’t use it in the first two.
DAN: I’m going to go back and listen to all the episodes. So today is black Friday. It’s 7AM in the morning, we always record in the morning and we’ll be talking about why we do that a little bit later but, Jacob, you do anything fun yesterday?
JACOB: Well it was thanksgiving here in the United States so I got together with family, went up to my wife’s grandmothers in Moroa and had some delicious turkey and ham.
DAN: That’s good and you put your tree up you said?
JACOB: Oh yea I did put my tree up. I did that Wednesday. Rachelle and the children were out of the house so I put up the Christmas tree when I could do it without anybody grabbing stuff that was going to have to be on the tree.
DAN: And your oldest child is excited about the tree?
JACOB: Yea she came home and the tree was all lit up and she ran upstairs and was jumping around yelling that it was Christmas and then I had to break it to her that there were 30 days left until Santa came.
DAN: So she’s sad right now?
JACOB: No she’s still happy. Every morning or night, every day she wants to be the one that turns on and turns off the Christmas tree, so that’s her job.
DAN: Yea it’s exciting as a child.
JACOB: Anything exciting for you on thanksgiving Dan?
DAN: Yea we got some exciting news. My oldest daughter told us that she was pregnant. It’ll be our first grandchild, she’s due July 18th. So that’s pretty exciting.
DAN: All my kids are together down in Tennessee and they spent all day sending, have you see the mannequins? What they do with mannequins?
JACOB: It’s a huge craze right now.
DAN: If you don’t know the mannequin thing, everybody freezes in the picture and then they take a video and they send it around. They’re pretty entertaining actually.
JACOB: What were they doing?
DAN: Playing jenga. Happy Thanksgiving to everybody and we hope you have a great holiday weekend. Just want to talk about the viewers. The podcast continues to go international. We have listeners from Turkey, United Kingdom, Sweden, French Polynesia, Ireland, Spain, and Tanzania. That’s kind of cool.
JACOB: Pretty exciting.
DAN: And of course the United States. Alright today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about productivity and how you can add 2 hours of productive time to your day. Just want to go through some facts about productivity in the US.
(cont.) DAN: A study last fall in NY found that office distractions ate up 2.1 hours a day for the average worker. It takes workers 25 minutes to return to their original tasks, we’ll talk about that later too. So most people actually use 60% or less of available work time for productive work. And they did this study internationally, interviewed 38,000 people and it showed that even though they were physically at work 5 days a week, they were only productive 3 days a week.
JACOB: That’s amazing.
DAN: 43% of Americans categorize themselves as disorganized. And 21% have missed vital work deadlines. And these are all different studies; these aren’t from the same studies. Now I can attest to this one. People who regularly juggle several streams of electronic information do not pay attention.
JACOB: That’s pretty obvious.
DAN: Could you get off your iPhone and pay attention?
JACOB: Sorry…sorry… I was checking my Facebook.
DAN: Yea we see that a lot at work. I do that as well. Office workers spend an average of 4 hours per week in meetings; half of them feel this time as wasted. You ever felt time was wasted in a meeting?
JACOB: No, all our meetings are successful.
DAN: It says unnecessary meetings cost US businesses approximately 37 billion dollars each year in lost productivity. This is interesting; 3 quarters of surveyed employees saw an improvement in their time management when they exercised before work or at lunch time.
JACOB: I could see that. It gets the brain flowing and your body moving so….
DAN: Two questions for you: first question is have you ever exercised?
JACOB: Have I ever? Yes.
DAN: And then have you ever done it before lunch?
JACOB: No… Never before lunch.
DAN: Well work on that one. Then sleep deprivation is now costing US companies $63 billion dollars a year in lost productivity.
JACOB: These are crazy, huge numbers.
DAN: I know. It says exhaustion makes employees less efficient, even in the time it takes to read an email. We can see that when people come into work, say they haven’t slept well last night, and they’re not very productive. And it says insomnia costs $2,280 dollars per worker in lost productivity. Kind of crazy stats so what we’re going to do today is we’re going to go through some ways of how you can be more productive, and they’re actually pretty common sense ways, so it’s something that you can begin to do tomorrow.
Productivity Tips and Hacks
#1 The Morning Routine
(cont.) DAN: So let’s start with number 1: the morning routine. We’ll talk about morning routine in a second. Jacob, do you do anything, morning routine wise?
JACOB: Well I always get up when the alarm goes off. So the alarm is set at the same time everyday, get out of bed. First thing I do is shower then I get ready, go into work, and then I have my pre-breakfast which is a yogurt. And the reason its pre-breakfast is because then Dan comes in later and we go get breakfast again so, I pre-breakfast.
DAN: So for all the listeners, you can compare what Jacob does, basically getting out of bed and going to work, eating twice, to what other people do that are…
JACOB: more productive possibly?
DAN: I was going to say more successful but, we’ll let the listeners be the judge of that.
JACOB: That’s a little deep of a dig.
DAN: So we’ll start with the President, Barack Obama. He gets up, starts his day with a workout at 6:45 AM, reads several newspapers, has breakfast ONCE with his family, and then starts his workday.
JACOB: I like that the first successful person you compare me to is the President of the United States. You could have set the bar a little bit lower.
DAN: He’s our leader. Ok so David Carpe, founder of Tumblr, it says as demanding as his schedule is, Carpe makes sure he doesn’t check his email until he gets in the office. And why he doesn’t read it at home is because he says that reading emails at home never feels good or productive. So if something is urgent, then somebody will call him or text him. So the former chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says that he wakes up at 5AM every morning, does a 4 mile run, follows it with prayers, reads a newspaper, and then eats breakfast ONE time.
JACOB: All these people need to get on the two breakfasts, the pre-breakfast and the regular breakfast.
DAN: Yea it would help with their success. Michelle Gass, President of Starbucks for over 15 years, she has woken up each morning at 4:30 to go running. She believes it has boosted her happiness and business success.-
JACOB: Starbucks is usually part of my pre breakfast, does that count?
DAN: So the late Steve Jobs, apple CEO, he says for the last 30 years, he has looked in the mirror every morning and asked himself, “if today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?” That’s a great perception of the day.
JACOB: Good way to start.
DAN: And one more, Mr. Motivation himself, Tony Robins – he’s a self-help writer and motivational speaker – he said that the thing that changed his life was when he decided he wasn’t living up to his potential, so he changed his habits in the morning. And he does an “hour of power” every morning, which includes motivational sayings and visualizations. I think what this shows us is that most successful people do have a morning routine because it’s time that you can invest in yourself, and that’s what I read a lot about. So if you wake up every morning you rush off to work, you really don’t have time for yourself because as soon as you get to work, your day most of the time is out of your control.
JACOB: Unless you’re like the other 60% of people who are not very productive at work and then apparently their day is all about themselves.
DAN: Exactly. So a couple tips:
- Wake up early. There’s a podcast, and I think he wrote a book as well it’s called the 5AM Miracle by Jeff Sanders. And he talks a lot about why he gets up at 5AM, it’s his time to do what he thinks is a priority in his life. So if you’re looking for some guidance on what you should do in the morning, at least get up an hour before you typically do.
- A lot of people would recommend hydrating, so drink a glass of water.
- Meditate a lot of people pray.
- Do one thing that takes a lot of energy and that’s a priority in your life. I talked about why we do the podcast in the morning.
JACOB: We do the podcast first thing in the morning because that’s when we found out we’re the most fresh. All kidding aside from my pre-breakfast, I actually do get up early, so 5:30 in the morning and I found out that that’s a good consistent time to wake up. And the reason being is because after my shower, that’s when I’m awake, alert, and that’s another reason we do the podcast early in the morning. All of your thoughts are put together and we are ready to go.
DAN: Most of the people I talk to, when I ask them what the most productive time of their day is, they do say morning. There are a few that will say that they’re more productive at night. Speaking for myself, I am definitely more productive in the morning, I can think clearer, that may have something to do with age as well. I try to get up an hour, hour and a half early and then work on something; typically it’s with a podcast now.
But I found, writing and researching, you may not think that you’re that fresh that early in the morning, but get up, have some water, drink some coffee, maybe do a few jumping jacks or really light exercise just to kind of get your blood flowing and wake up a little bit. And then if you just go to the computer and start working on something, you are actually really productive in the morning. And then all day you have this sense of accomplishment, but what I would recommend is spend the time with something you want to do. Just don’t get up and then rush off to work because it gives you time for yourself. Ok moving on, #2…
#2: Separate Strategic Tasks vs. Brain Dead Tasks
JACOB: This is the thought process that is built around your cognitive ability, which is your brain skills that are based on our need to carry out a task from the simplest, to the most complex. It has more to do with the mechanism on how we learn, remember, problem solve and pay attention rather than actual knowledge. So you focus on the time of day that your brain works best and that we establish for Dan and I, that is the morning and so what I do is, since I work best in the morning is I front load my calendar with strategic tasks for meetings that are needed to accomplish strategic goals. And then back load my calendar with tasks that are more brain dead and easier to go to.
DAN: Like what would be an example of something you would front load your calendar with in the morning?
JACOB: So I front load my calendar in the morning with a, right now I’m working on readmissions. So it’s one of the goals to lower our readmissions in the hospital, so I front load my calendar with work based around that project. So any of the projects I have that fit into my strategic plan or the hospital’s plans, I do first. So if it’s building projects or capital projects, those are the first things I work on.
DAN: Yea is started doing that with my calendar. I try to block of a couple of hours to work on strategy first thing in the morning and what I do everyday is front load as well. So I set a couple hours in the morning to work on strategic priorities. And then I push off emails typically to lunch or later because you can go through a lot of email and answer those and it doesn’t always take a lot of strategic thinking. I think this is a really good tip and what we found with our CEO book club and talking to others is that they don’t do this. Whatever comes into their day they just do and there’s no rhyme or reasoning around it.
JACOB: Right, they multitask really is what they do. I read an article in Forbes that was a study that was performed at Stanford University about multitasking and they found that those that focus on single tasks vs. those that focused or did multitasking. Those that did single tasks were far more productive. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the ability to perform both tasks successfully. And that they found out comparing it to any other study that the University of London did, so that multitasking is compared to smoking marijuana and can actually lower a male’s IQ 15 points into the range that would be compared to an 8 year old child.
DAN: Wow. I also read there really is no multitasking; you’re just switching very quickly back and forth between tasks. People say “Oh I’m multitasking” but really they’re just not paying attention to one task for very long and they’re switching back and forth right?
JACOB: Right and you talked about email management. And how you did your emails. I got some tips on email management that I think would be helpful.
- The two minute rule: spend less than 2 minutes per email. If you’re spending more than 2 minutes per email that task is too important to complete by email so what you should do is pick up the phone, call that person, bring that small group together and complete that task.
- For email management is to turn email off. So if you’re doing an individual task, if you’re working on your strategic plan, your projects, an important item for the day turn your email off. Shut it off on the computer, which is a lot easier to do than say your smart devices. Emails a very big distraction and it wastes a lot of your productive time.
- The other thing is while we could just turn your devices off, turn off your notifications for your email. So my email is minimized on my computer or the notifications are shut off on my phone. It doesn’t vibrate and then I don’t get the popup on my computer as well. So if I’m on a task and working, I don’t get that distraction.
DAN: Yea and on the two minute rule. If you can’t set up a meeting with the small group but you have to answer the email, the recommendation is that you schedule some time to answer the email if it’s going to take a while. Because if it’s going to take you more than a couple of minutes, it’s probably a pretty important email. So you want to take some time to think about what your answer is.
JACOB: And as we talk about notifications, the next time you’re in a meeting, watch everyone in that meeting you can tell who has their notifications and it almost turns into Pavlo’s dog, which is reaction and similarity training. You’ll see people reach, wherever their phone is, or glance down the minute that notification goes off.
DAN: And you know, as you know, one thing we started doing with our administrative team meeting is everybody puts their phone on the counter or they don’t bring it in and actually, we shortened the meeting from 2.5 hours to an hour and we are more productive because no one’s looking at their phone.
Going back to work through the list real quick, since we promised the listeners that they could add a couple hours of productivity, we kind of want to keep track. So number 1, the morning routine, if you add an hour to your day, early in the morning, there’s one hour of super productive time. So we’re already halfway to our goal everyday. So you just added an hour. email management, how do you save time with that, Jacob?
#3 Schedule Times to Check Your Email
JACOB: You block or only check it two times a day, so I check mine in the morning, it’s part of my morning routine, I do it at work when I get there first thing, knock them out and then I don’t check it again until the afternoon. So I am not checking email all throughout the day, it’s actually scheduled into my calendar.
DAN: Right, great point. So well say at least 15 minutes a day focused on answering emails and we’re going to talk about chunking here in a second. The separating strategic vs. brain dead tasks, that I think makes you super productive because you’re focused on what’s important when you’re the freshest and when you have the most energy. So not only will you save time but you’re actually going to produce better work.
JACOB: Right your results will be better. You won’t have to rework and you’ll lose productive time on rework.
DAN: Right so that’s going to save you some time as well. The next one on the list is…
#4 Enter To-Dos in a calendar, not on a To-Do list
(cont.) DAN: Some may have disagreement over this, but this is personally what I think is effectively in the past I would take a notepad and I’d write down everything that I had to do. Then you just continually update that list, but it always seemed like there was so much on the list that you would never get to a lot of it so instead what I do now, if I have a project, I actually enter it into the calendar, and schedule that time. So if I have to work on a priority for so many minutes, I put it on the calendar. And at least, in my case, then another meeting doesn’t get scheduled over it
(cont.) DAN: This kind of goes back to the multitask comment, Jacob, that you are definitely more productive if you focus on one thing. What chunking means is you just take time to focus on one thing and you focus intently. Here are the steps; they’re kind of obvious actually
- Focus on one thing at time and don’t let yourself be distracted I was listening to the podcast a 5AM Miracle and he was talking about all the steps that he goes through to not be distracted, which is interesting, because we live in this world of distractions; our phone we’re always checking, TVs on, he actually has a 10 step process that he goes through not to be distracted. I won’t go through all the steps, but is basically designed to create space for him and time, because he’s an at home entrepreneur where nobody will bother him during this certain time.
- If work takes more than an hour to do, cut it up in chunks that each take less than an hour to complete. So if you have an hour and a half project that you need to complete, break it up into either 3 – 30 minute sections, or 2 – 45 minute sections. If you have lots of little things to do, bundle up into bigger chunks that take at least 10 minutes.
- Allow yourself frequent little breaks between the chunks to clear your mind and enjoy your progress and accomplishments. And once you start accomplishing things, you actually get this nice feeling of accomplishment and kind of a sense of pride once you are completing things.
JACOB: You do. It helps with the productivity with completed task, or jobs and you do have that sense of accomplishment. Distraction, another thing I found, distraction for myself is that if my brain starts to wander, what I’ll do is just stand up, get out of my chair, go to the window in my office, look out the window for 5 minutes and just reset and then sit back down and I am able to complete some more work
DAN: Everytime I walk by your office you’re staring out the window.
JACOB: I’m distracted a lot.
DAN: It’s always the 5 minute break. So you know chunking, that does actually make a lot of sense. One thing I do is I turn my phone off. I actually don’t turn it off; I turn it to airplane mode. If you’re like me, I’m always looking at my phone, always wondering what emails coming in. That actually helps me physically; that I don’t hear it and kind of mentally, I know nothing new is coming in. So typically I try to do 25 minute blocks and then I’ll stand up for a few minutes and then I’ll start again. 25 minutes seems to be what’s right for me, I’ve read like 45 minutes or an hour work for others.
#6: Shorten Your Meetings, or Cancel your Meetings
(cont.) DAN: So this one actually saved me a lot of time. I went through my calendar, all the meetings that I was in charge of and I shortened them. I went from one hour meetings two times a month with my senior leaders to one meeting for 20 minutes a month. That actually saved 15 hours a month approximately. And you think “well that’s not enough time” but since Jacob is one of these meetings, did it change anything with how much we reviewed?
JACOB: Yea it changed with how much we reviewed. The agenda was more structured, we accomplished more during those meetings, found yourself keeping each other on track, so if we started to talk about something else (usually that was you trying to talk about something else. I was like hey hold on! I got a list here to cover). I only have 20 minutes. We can talk about that later.
DAN: Right we actually became more productive and I really haven’t heard one complaint about needing more time. So that saved a lot of time. Went through and shortened other meetings. We have a weekly administration meeting that used to take about 2.5 hours and we shortened that to an hour; that saved about 10 hours a month. And then I just cancelled other meetings. This right here saved about 37 hours a month in meeting time, just for me, and then there are 7 other people who saved a lot of time as well. So this actually saved days of time, allowing us to focus on what is more important-our priorities. The one thing I want to say though is, when you free up your calendars, you need to make sure that you’re going to spend that time productively, so just don’t go through your calendar, save all this time, and then sit and stare at email during all this free time.
JACOB: I did the same thing, so I went to the 20 minute meetings with my leaders as well too. I found it’s also good to also communicate to them that you are still available. It’s not just cutting time down for the meeting but that you want them to prioritize, reprioritize, and plan their day better as well, but that you are still available for things that come up
DAN: And I know some of you may be thinking “well I can’t do that because I’m not in charge of these meetings” but with all of these things, view this as kind of a tool box, you can pick and choose what you do have control over and how much time. The first six, we’ve already saved 2 hours a day and so it’s really easy to save time and be more productive because of what we’ve changed.
#7: Reduce the Number of People who Attend Meetings
(cont.) DAN: So how many of you have sat in meetings with 5 other people and you’re all listening to the same thing, wondering why you’re at the meeting? My recommendation here is to send one person to a meeting, if it’s possible. I mean I have meetings that I have to go to at the corporate office that we’re all there and there are certain meetings that you’re going to have to go to. But if you have any control over this, send one person and let them brief you later on, they can send a quick email. So instead of 5 people sitting through a meeting, you have one person sitting through the meeting and just sharing the information
JACOB: And I look at my calendar, when I see meetings, and I go into that meetings and look at the attendees and if somebody in meetings is an individual that is part of my team, I will look at the topic and then, if I think it’s possible or that I don’t need to be there for a decision to be made, I’ll remove myself from that meeting because I feel that my team is confident enough to be able to bring that meeting and that information back to me if necessary.
DAN: That’s a great point.
#8: Scheduling Office Time vs. Allowing Drop in Visits
(cont.) DAN: So Jacob, scheduling office time vs. allowing drops in visits, what’s your thought about that?
JACOB: That’s a difficult one because there are things that do come up during the day. I just ask for my team that if they’re going to do a drop in, that they send a text or they try to put it on the calendar as opposed to just walking in. So to really drop in could be rude on an individual. I also find that to minimize that, you can shut your door. That’s about the easiest thing to do. People may knock, but again, it’s your time if you have something scheduled when they do drop in, there’s nothing wrong with saying ‘hey I’m working on this,” “I’m available at this time, is it ok if we talk then?”
DAN: I’ve read several articles about this, and there is no such thing as “you got a minute?”
JACOB: That’s true, somebody says “you got a minute?” it usually turns into thirty.
DAN: When someone pops their head into your office and asks “you got a minute?” and you say “yes,” so there is no minute, about 5 to 10 minutes is the typical interruption. The time that people don’t factor in, is the time it takes you mentally to get back to your task. The latest article says that every time somebody pops their head into your office for a minute, it actually reduces your productivity or eliminates it by 23 minutes. Because it take that long to actually get back into your task. Keep that in mind. So the idea of having an open door policy, you only want to take that so far, I mean if, at the hospital if there’s an emergency, they’ll pop in and we’ll talk about it. But otherwise, we try to schedule everything because not only is it good for both of your productivity, but it actually, when you schedule it, allows you to concentrate on that person. You’re paying attention to them kind of, but in the back of your mind you’re thinking about what project that you should be working on. You might even be thinking about “man, you’re taking away my productive time.” It’s just better to schedule this and try to eliminate drop-ins for everybody.
JACOB: Did you say it takes 23 minutes to reset?
DAN: 23 minutes, yeah, they say the average drop-in costs you 23 minutes of productivity.
JACOB: So if you’re thinking there’s 8 hours in your work day …
JACOB: So, there’s 23 minutes gone of that 8 hours already.
DAN: That probably goes back to the point of your productive 3 days a week, out of the 5. The original statistic.
#9: Always Have an Agenda for Meetings with Priorities Listed on Them
JACOB: So you’d have to seek input from other team members that are going to be in that meeting before you even develop an agenda. You want to make sure all the topics in the meeting are covered in that agenda. If you don’t do that there are going to be other items that come up during that meeting that will derail the agenda. So you need to make sure all topics are covered in the agenda. State the purpose of the meeting: you want to outline the goals so everyone knows the task at hand and can remain focused. You want to make sure its priority and that’s it going to move forward and make the project move forward. You also want to identify a facilitator and a timekeeper for each meeting. This defines the lead to keep the meeting running smoothly. And then also the time keeper is used to holding the facilitator accountable that time is met.
DAN: And the other thing we started doing is… just because a meeting is scheduled doesn’t mean you have to hold it. If you don’t have any topics for your agenda and you’re just meeting because it’s scheduled, we started cancelling the meetings. And nobody complains when a meeting is cancelled, they actually get a free hour or a free 20 minutes or whatever the time frame is. Consider that, if you don’t have a lot of topics, they can wait, cancel the meeting and cover it next week when you meet. That will save you a lot of time as well.
JACOB: We already talked about making sure all the correct individuals are in the room. Don’t over invite, don’t under invite. You can always fill people in that are just there as informational. And then last but not least for those meetings: follow up, assign and follow up. So you need to make sure each action item has a completion date or otherwise those meetings aren’t going to move forward and that project won’t be completed.
#10: 80/20 Mindset. Goals Focus
JACOB: Right, this is the Pareto principle that 80% of our results will come from just 20% of our actions. Take that into real life, think of that 20% of the customer’s account for 80% of your total profits. Or 20% of the employees do 80% of the work, or 20% of the employees cause 80% of your problems, however you want to think of that. Also, with your own life, think about what you own, think about your clothes, you cable subscription, your smart phone. I would imagine you only wear 20% of your clothes that you have in your closet; there are certain items you love. You don’t watch all the channels on your cable subscription; you only watch a few of your favorite. For Dan, I know that’s Lifetime.
DAN: I think it’s called the Oprah channel now
JACOB: I think maybe Oxygen actually. We may have butchered that one completely…and then you only use probably 20% of the apps on your smartphone too. Look at your apps; they’re probably taking up a whole lot of memory that could be used for other things. How do you gain more time or productivity in your job? So take a close look at your job description or your calendar, where do you get 80% of your results? So, what part of your job should you be focused on? What part of your projects do you need to be on? It’s good to have strategic focus throughout the year with your job, so what items are you needing to be working on and that’s where you need to spend your time. I’ll give you a hint, it isn’t in emails, it isn’t in meetings, but instead it’s your actual work. And with this, not only will you get more time back; you’ll decrease your stress.
DAN: Yea, great point. So this is the top ten list right here, and we kind of lost track of how you much time your save, but clearly you can see at least two hours of increased productivity. So you save time just adding in an hour in the morning, before you get up, before your children get and you can easily add 2 hours of productivity. So Jacob, since this is black Friday, we are offering five additional tips for free.
DAN: So for those that are looking for a deal, they have come to the right place, right?
#11: Just Say No
(cont.) DAN: This seems obvious, but we started trying to do this at work, hopefully no physicians are listening. We deal with physicians and they request equipment and typically what we do, even if we think that we’re not going to do it, we’ll say “let us look into it” and in the back of our mind we’re pretty confident we’re not going to do it. So we just started saying “no we’re not going to do that project” right up front. Because that actually saves us time, it saves them time, and we can all go back to work and not worry about this project. But I think a lot of people, instead of just saying no to a person, they say “ok, well let me think about it” and then you spend a lot of time spinning our wheels when you know it’s not going to happen anyway.
JACOB: And you spend a lot of time thinking how to get out of it.
#12: Next Action
DAN: So David Allen has a book Getting Things Done and it is a very, very comprehensive book about productivity. It’s kind of the go to resource for productivity and it’s been around for a long time. One of the most important things that he talks about in his book is this next action. So the way this works, say you have a project and it has 20 steps that you need to take care of.
What people typically do, they write down the project, then they write down the 20 steps that need to be done, and then they look in horror at the list saying “I can’t accomplish this, this is too much” and you really don’t accomplish anything. So what he recommends is, say you have a project with 20 steps, you take the first step, and make it very specific. So for example, say your goal was to make a cup of coffee, he would recommend that you would write the next action is “go to refrigerator” not “go to the refrigerator, grind the coffee, and put it in the coffee pot.” It would be one specific step. And I actually started doing this and it actually works really well, so you just put one little tiny step and you accomplish that, and then you put the next step. That is, it’s actually a very simple but brilliant concept.
#13: The Weekly Review
JACOB: Another David Allen concept is the weekly review. And you can pull it from his website which is http://www.davidco.com and it’s a pdf document that you can work through and it has every single step. But the basic concept is to go back and look at your past week, review what worked, what didn’t, what happened in your meetings, what should have took place, and prioritize those thoughts. Get clear and reset yourself going into the next week.
DAN: Yea and the weekly review makes you look at what you actually accomplished and I started going this and it almost makes you work harder during the week because you know you’re going to review what you accomplished or what you didn’t accomplish.
JACOB: You understand how productive or unproductive you were and then you’re able to make adjustments for the next week, so you can use some of these tips that we outlined.
#14: The Evening Routine
(cont.) DAN: So we talked out the morning routine, it’s just as important at night that you have a routine. The first thing is going to bed at the same time every single night. I know everybody right now is saying that’s impossible, but it’s actually not impossible.
JACOB: It’s not impossible, if I can do it with a 3 year old, a 10 month old, you can too.
DAN: Yea and what you do with your evening routine is you set the priorities for the next day. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate routine, it can just be simply setting the top three priorities that you want to accomplish in your morning routine. So your evening routine is actually preparing for your morning routine. You want to get to the bed at the same time so you can get 7 to 8 hours of sleep. You want to set your priorities for your morning routine, so when you wake up, you’ll be full of energy. A lot of people say “oh I can’t get up early”, well you can if you go to bed a little bit earlier, so you have to manage your evening routine in order to manage your morning routine. Jeff Sanders and the 5 AM Miracle talks a lot about how they’re tied together so you have to have a successful morning routine and a successful evening routine for this to work.
#15: The Importance of Sleep
(cont.) DAN: So what are some of the benefits of sleeping properly, Jacob?
JACOB: So some of the benefits and this is taken from the “10 Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep” article, it lists 10 benefits but we are only going to touch on a few.
- Sleep makes you more alert: so I know that all of us out there have gone to bed later than we should have, woke up, and just felt groggy and almost like a walking zombie. That goes with getting a good night’s sleep, having an evening routine and having a morning routine. You’ll be more alert when you wake up.
- Sleep improves your memory: So you’ll be able to remember the tasks that we outlined in this podcast in this toolbox. Napping makes you smarter. A little bit of a nap in the afternoon will get your through the rest of the day and make you more alert and productive. Do check your rules on sleeping at work before you nap; napping makes you smarter.
- Sleep helps the body repair itself: As you’re sleeping, your body is still working and a lot of people don’t really realize that. That that’s your down time for your body, it’s repairing your cells and getting you prepared for the next day
DAN: sleeping is vital to your success. So, I’m just piecing together your routine, Jacob, so you get up, get ready for work, pre-breakfast, breakfast, stare out the windows for 5 minutes, take a nap, stare out the window for 5 minutes, and then lunch?
JACOB: Well you forgot that I have dinner and then a giant post-dinner. Kind of my routine, not all of it. You took a little bit of some author liberties there as you went through it.
DAN: I own the equipment.
Ok we’re going to summarize the 15 ways to increase your productivity:
- Morning Routine
- Separate Strategic vs. Brain Dead Tasks
- Email Management
- Enter To-Dos in Calendar, not on a To-Do List
- Chunk your Work
- Shorten Your Meetings, or Cancel your Meetings
- Reduce number of People who Attend Meetings
- Schedule Office Time vs. Allowing Drop In Visits
- Always have Agenda for Meetings with Priorities
- 80/20 Rule
- Just Say No
- Write Down Your Next Action
- The Weekly Review
- A Good Evening Routine
- The Importance of Sleep
(cont.) DAN: Ok thank you for joining us today. I am excited though. So, this is a pitch about what we’re doing right now, I’m currently in the process of having the whole website redesigned, so maybe in three to four weeks that will completely redesigned. And on the website were going to have full transcripts, we are going to have summarized show notes, and I have just written my first blog and that will be posted on the new website. We will be coming out with weekly blogs, so really excited about what we’re going to be doing and you will start seeing more and more on the social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. So I’m really excited about what we’re doing, I hope you will enjoy it, I hope that it will help you. Until next time, take care and keep learning.