Productivity Hacks That Every Leader Needs To Know

Being a leader isn’t as easy as it looks in the movies and social media. There’s a lot that goes into upkeeping your company and making sure you’re at your best each day. Thankfully, there are ways to help these matters and make things smoother than usual. For example, one thing the people at the top need to remember to do is go to the gym. You might ask why, so continue reading for the answer to that and many other productivity hacks for leaders.

Nap It Up

power nap
thisisMS2/Twitter
thisisMS2/Twitter

Have you ever heard the phrase, “I’ll sleep when I die?” You usually hear it from those hardcore entrepreneurs who want you to believe that sleeping is for the weak.

Well, your brain needs to reboot after logging all those hours. Scientists say that a quick 20-minute nap helps cognitive memory processing, while an hour nap is best. There are tech gadgets out there that will help you sleep soundly and even gently wake you up at the right time.

Prioritize Properly

effective
populasfurniture/Instagram
populasfurniture/Instagram

If you’re unable to prioritize as your life depends on it, things could become increasingly difficult for you. Tackling the essential activities that will move you and your business forward should get handled first.

It’s also important to value effectiveness over efficiency. Since it’s a task to complete everything, you can always ensure that you complete the deeds that move your vision in the correct direction. A Pentagon general says: “First I Make a list of priorities: one, two, three, and so on. Then I cross out everything from three down.”

Scour For The Best Talent

interview
Chris Hondros/Getty Images
Chris Hondros/Getty Images

When you’re a leader, you need to be sure that you take the time to secure the best talent possible for your team. If not, you might end up micromanaging, which will then lead you to struggle to handle everything on your own.

The senior partner at Deksia, Joshua Conran, says: “I’ve learned to hire people who are better at specific things than I am. I actively work to ensure I’m the dumbest person in the room. As I do this, I become less needed on a day-to-day basis to complete projects.”

You Matter, Listen To Yourself

to yourself
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Figure out what productivity tools help you most and use them. For instance, some react better to constant reminders bleeping on their phones and desktop, so install handy apps designated for that.

Others find it helpful if they write down things and check them off. In that case, purchase a big planner and a fancy pen! Following trends might not be as helpful, so self-reflect and utilize what suits you most. It’s basic, but some won’t do this.

Don’t Mind Your Email First Thing In The Morning

email
GALI TIBBON/AFP via Getty Images
GALI TIBBON/AFP via Getty Images

You’d be surprised how much time you’d save and more productivity you’d have if you stopped checking Email’s first thing in the morning. Instead of getting into a back and forth of replies for who knows how long, spend that time on more creative tasks.

A lot of promising CEOs channel email time into one or two days per week, and it goes a long way. People in your company can handle problems without your involvement.

Airplane Mode Certain Days

airplane day
lachroniquedesaudacieuses/Instagram
lachroniquedesaudacieuses/Instagram

It’s no surprise that when you’re on a long flight with no connection to the world that you’re able to get a lot done. You don’t need to fly to get stuff done, create the same environment in your office.

When you make airplane days, block out a chunk of time on your shared calendar, put your phone on do not disturb, get rid of other distractions, and focus on the tasks at hand. You’ll be glad you did.

Give Your Facebook A Rinse

close up
Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Try to avoid it all you want, but it’s inevitable that you’re going to check your Facebook once in a while. Thankfully, there’s some solid advice to help limit your time on the social network.

One thing you can do is transfer “friends” to “acquaintances.” That way, you’ll see only a handful of the most important posts, rather than 50 pictures of newborns and kittens playing with their owners. Does that sound like your feed at all?

Follow The Two-Minute Rule

vee
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for 2016 Advertising Week New York
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for 2016 Advertising Week New York

Now, this one might sound like the most common sense thing yet, but you’d be surprised how many aren’t doing it. The two-minute rule is simple, but you need to remember to keep up with it.

The rule is if it takes less than two minutes to complete something, then do it right now. It’s as simple as that, but this small habit can increase your productivity by a significant amount if you stick to it.

Support The Team

team members
rionjforconi/Instagram
rionjforconi/Instagram

Just as you cross out your checklist, you need to be able to encourage your team to do the same. If your organization has a boost of inspiration and motivation, the more goals everyone can accomplish at once.

Being able to help others reach their goals goes a long way. It can lead to overachieving, and at that point, you’ll be able to lead the whole company towards greater productivity. Remember, you are a leader, after all.

Be Careful Of Desk Time

clicking
wanderlust_kid_425/Instagram
wanderlust_kid_425/Instagram

While in the comfort of your desk, it may be hard not to read that recent piece on your favorite website or reply to an email or two. We get it, but we’re here to tell you to be careful.

Save those articles you find so you can read them later. Your desk should be where you focus on work, not who’s birthday it was on Facebook or the stats from the game last night.

Do The Hard Part First

first
Joseph Branston/Future via Getty Images
Joseph Branston/Future via Getty Images

They call it eating the frog first (not literally). That means to start your day by completing the most laborious task first (the frog). Some have conflicting views on this method, but this way, you move closer to the vision.

Of course, don’t forget about the two-minute rule, because that still applies and will always be helpful. Think of the day as if you’re building a pyramid with the more robust blocks on the bottom, and as you get higher, the blocks get easier to place.

Have Your Decision Matrix On Hand

a grid
Light Yagami/Pinterest
Light Yagami/Pinterest

Back to prioritizing, if you have a lot of priority tasks to take on or a mini-crisis happening, use a simple, but highly effective decision-making matrix. You have to be willing to take the extra steps as the leader.

Here’s one way you can have it labeled. Easy to do with a big impact should be marked as do it now. If it’s easy to do with a smaller impact, then have it delegated. Lastly, hard to do gets added into the mix for prioritization.

Saying No Isn’t A Bad Thing

ceo working hard
andymanrod/Instagram
andymanrod/Instagram

As the leader, you’ll receive invitations to plenty of meetings, conferences, and even keynotes. Don’t be afraid to say no, you need to learn how to. These engagements will take away from focusing on what’s important.

While these obligations could lead to possible opportunities, you need to stay engaged with what matters the most, as much as you can. This applies to networking as well – keep that to a necessary amount. For example, only schedule two meetups a month, three conferences a year, so on and so forth.

Have You Tried Voice Recognition Software?

google home mini
zuvamart/Instagram
zuvamart/Instagram

One can assume that you can speak faster than you type. That means having Siri type your messages for you can save you some time. Invest in a Google Home product or anything similar that can sync with your calendar.

That way, you can just say, “Hey, Google, remind me to reply to the Email about the RFP at 3:00 PM today.” Then, once it’s time to send that email, you can use Dragon Diction to type up the message for you using your voice.

Schedule Appointments With Yourself

appointments
aercafrica_official/Instagram
aercafrica_official/Instagram

Being mindful of the time you have to yourself is crucial. Think about it, you have all those meetings and duties on your calendar, but when was the last time you had time to yourself?

This is similar to airplane days, except you’ll be free to relax for some time. Sit down, gather your thoughts, find peace, and go through the pivotal things you need to get done. Ask your smart speaker to play some relaxing meditative sounds if you wish.

Pump Some Iron

the gym
Zoran Milich/Getty Images
Zoran Milich/Getty Images

Getting your blood pumping is a move leaders need to take time to do. Work up a sweat, because working out is a fabulous way to stay productive. Don’t shy away from the gym; embrace it!

Getting sick doesn’t bode well for anyone, so keeping active helps keep the body in optimal shape so it can fight off germs. It’s also a smart idea to use your blocked off periods to get in some exercises.

Obsess Over One Little Thing On A Daily Basis

on the task
diddy/Instagram
diddy/Instagram

Whatever your top three priorities are, distinguish the one that, if you did it every day, would bring you closer to accomplishing the outcome you desire to achieve. Does that make sense?

For instance, if you want to expand your network of relationships with influencers, then you might want to send daily correspondences of how you can provide them with value. Sending a helpful article that interests them is an excellent way to accomplish this as well.

Become Diabolacle About Your “Avoid” List

forget about it
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

As crucial as to-do lists are, your not-to-do list is equally, if not more important. Spending too much time on last year’s priorities and repeating old habits won’t elevate you too far.

The more success you have then, the more opportunities that come your way. That’s great, but with more things coming to you, the more you have to manage what not to do. You’ll get tempted and teased, but remained focused on top priorities.

Become A Pro Delegator

delegation
JORGE GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images
JORGE GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images

As a leader, you not only need to get things done, but you need to get them accomplished through others as well. To leverage talent and your influence, becoming an effective delegator is pivotal.

Mike Scott, CEO of Totally Accountable Systems, says: “When you delegate to someone, have them paraphrase and repeat back to you any verbal instructions. You will be amazed how often this catches small – and sometimes massive – differences in what was said and what was ‘heard.'”

Forget About The 9-5 Schedule

no more
elevationconcepts
elevationconcepts

The traditional 9-5 schedule isn’t cutting it anymore. It isn’t optimal to adopt that lifestyle for most. Depending on your work style or lifestyle, you might want to arrive at six in the morning and head out soon after lunch. Conversely, you might want to head into the job in the afternoon and be the last to leave.

A healthy reminder, however, is not to be the first one in and the last one out (unless you’re an athlete). Your personal life has a higher chance of going down the drain, and your brain won’t have time to recharge.