Leaders are busy people and the best leaders know that that prioritizing their work is one of the most effective ways to stay productive when they’re juggling a lot of different tasks. But how do they make productivity work for the highest impact? These are some of the top suggestions I share with my executive leadership coaching clients:
Plan to work and work to plan. The most critical element of setting priorities is simple: make a plan. But situations and priorities change, so you need to devote a certain amount of time each day to planning—daily, weekly, monthly and annually. Some people review and adjust their plans first thing in the morning; others prefer to do it at the end of the day. Structure your planning in the way that works best for you.
Put first things first. Give yourself time to complete the day’s most important activity. When that’s done, recheck your priorities and tackle the next most important one. You’ll end the day with a greater sense of accomplishment.
Complete as many things as possible. There will always be last-minute things that come up and throw every priority out the window, but as much as possible try to complete one task before you pick up another. It’s hard to feel organized when you have a lot of loose ends and half-completed items in your head.
Focus on your most productive time. You may get your best work done early in the morning, late in the afternoon, or late at night. Make a commitment to work on your most important priority every day when your energy and creativity are at their strongest, and save your less productive times for routine or less important tasks.
Use your time effectively. Be aware of the things that distract you—both work-related and personal. Eliminate the ones you can, and work on managing the ones you can’t. Use technology to silence electronic distractions as much as possible during times of focused work.
Set a time to take action. Arrange your planning to eliminate or reduce the time available for procrastination or damaging perfectionism. Without a schedule for taking action, research, planning and tinkering can drag projects out far too long. Give yourself hard deadlines and stick with them.
Organize with intention. At the time each day that works for you, review your to-do list and examine it for what you accomplished, what you could have done more effectively, and the most important tasks you need to complete tomorrow. Set intentions for the things that need to happen in the coming days so you always know exactly what to do and how to spend your time. Organization creates discipline, and discipline gives you freedom.
Lead from within: The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities for the highest level of productivity and impact.
#1 N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.