A lot of people in business are under the impression that the more things they do, the more productive they become.
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They look at their daily checklist and see a lot of items crossed off, and then they feel proud about themselves.
Sometimes, it’s not just about the amount of work done, but the quality of work you’ve invested your time and energy on.
What if the items on your checklist aren’t supposed to be there in the first place? That means you spent precious resources working on things that could’ve been spent on more pressing matters.
Despite the number of tasks you’ve accomplished, you’ve essentially not accomplished that much at all.
In my extensive experience as a Business Coach, I’ve worked with a lot of business owners, and one of the most predominant characteristic among them is that they lack the skill of determining what’s important or not, which causes them to waste their time and energy on trivial pursuits.
To become truly productive, most business leaders need guidance.
Below are some tips on how to make the most of your time in running your business.
Optimise your to-do list
You need to know how to prioritise to be productive. The problem with most to-do lists is that business leaders tend to line up the wrong activities.
They tend to work on important issues that feel pressing rather than on where time can be most efficiently spent.
Don’t just list things down; rank them according to priority. The worst thing you can do is list down something that someone else can do.
What good will that bring? You’re a business leader, and you should be focusing on bigger things that keep your company afloat.
Think of activities that only you could and should do, and make sure the direction is in the interest of the company.
Learn to anticipate crunch time
The true measure of a productive leader is his behavior under pressure. Some leaders fold, while some leader remain composed and collected.
The difference? A productive leader knows how to anticipate the part of the day when it gets busiest.
That way, he can spend off-peak house accomplishing things ahead of time, so as the pressure builds up, he doesn’t scramble and panic.
Most effective leaders tackle their most difficult tasks first at the beginning of the day.
Once they have that out of the way, they start working their way down the list with less pressing obligations.
That saves them from anxiety whether something unexpected comes up.
Know what problem you are trying to solve
You’d be surprised how many business leaders can run around, working on something, but have actually lost sight of the problem they set out to solve in the first place.
They key is to keep the problem front and center, thus exponentially increasing your effectiveness.
If you have the problem in front of you, you become more focused and you start asking the right questions and come up with the right ideas.
When a crisis arises, the first thing you need to do is to identify the problem. Give it a name. Write it on the board in big bold letters.
That will keep you in orbit as you work towards coming up with a resolution with your team.
Focus on outcomes, not actions
Just as much as you need to focus on the problem, you also need to focus on outcomes.
When you do that, you find the critical paths and the short-cuts.
Whereas, when you focus on actions, you may end up wasting time on things but don’t necessarily achieve results that help solve the main problem.
Immediately start asking yourself, “What’s the goal?” or “What’s the outcome?” and you will quickly find yourself getting clarity on the situation.
It will realign your effort and energy in a more meaningful way and help you avoid unnecessary distractions.
Always make it a team effort
It’s always an uphill battle if you take on everything by yourself. Productivity doesn’t mean you don’t need the help of others. In fact, if you’re good at delegation, it makes you a more productive leader.
That means you’re able to effectively identify which tasks are for your team and which ones are yours.
You can achieve better team collaboration if you make an effort to involve them as early as possible.
Collect their insights and have them sit in on important decisions that have to be made.
Good communication helps them understand the bigger picture and as a result, they can envision what contribution they could make to achieve the goals.
BIOGRAPHY Leaving behind a lucrative career in Sales and Customer Services in a variety of industries, Jas Darar joined ActionCOACH East Midlands as a Business Coach in 2007.
Mr. Darar is an experienced campaigner and has an extremely successful track record in sales, marketing, customer services, retention and team building. In one business, he grew revenues by 830% in one year.
Working in various industries has given Mr. Darar an understanding of the challenges and opportunities that exist for businesses in the East Midlands, whether they be small or large organisations.
Mr. Darar’s experience is diverse with his career taking him through many industries, including wholesale, retail, the service industry, recruitment, banking, and telecommunications.
Contact the Op-Ed editor Ted Blackwater at email@example.com ■