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How to be more focused and productive

I recently facilitated an off-site for an Executive Team. 

This team’s number one complaint is that they are too busy. 

They are all working 16-hour days.

Unfortunately, this complaint is a common one.

Many leaders are working very long hours and are exhausted. 

This pace is just not sustainable.

Plus, exhausted leaders are not good for business. 

I asked these leaders, “What are your key time-wasters?” 

They shared that their key issues are meetings and people sending them incomplete information. Also, they receive too many emails, texts, and Slack messages to which they need to respond daily. 

Did you notice that, when answering my question, they blamed other people for wasting their time?

I suggested they take a different perspective and focus on how they can more effectively take charge of their own time. I call this “self-management.”

So, instead of blaming others for sucking up your time, you need to focus on what YOU can start and stop doing to be more effective.

You must focus on your key deliverables and be protective of your time. 

Making this change may require some self-discipline, which means you need to stop:

  • Saying “yes” to meetings and other requests that aren’t critical
  • Getting in the weeds
  • Doing other people’s jobs (as well as your own job!)
  • Attempting to do too much at once 
  • Setting unrealistic timelines

Rather than being busy all the time, what if the new business paradigm was that we were all super focused and productive?

That feels like a worthier goal than winning the “How busy are you?” game!

So, next time someone asks you, “How are you?” why not answer them by saying, “Focused and productive.”

What can you do to self-manage better?

What do you need to stop doing to be more productive?

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World. Order your copy here.

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