Habits and Productivity
15 Tips for You to Be More Productive at Work (As an Executive)

15 Tips for You to Be More Productive at Work (As an Executive)

Alexios Georgakopoulos
15 Tips for You to Be More Productive at Work (As an Executive)

It’s finally the end of the day on a beautiful Friday evening. You open up your Notes only to see that… you’ve only finished half of the tasks for the day.

But how’s that possible? You’ve been busy at your desk for the past 8 hours straight, and you’re down on your 4th coffee. You’re agitated for the whole weekend, thinking about how you can get more things done and be more productive at work!

As an executive, you’ll know firsthand that, on some days, productivity just won’t be that great. So, today, we’ll take a look at a few minor tweaks and some considerable changes you can make to leave all those Fridays in the past and ensure that you get as much done in a day as possible.

Why Are You Struggling to Be Productive at Work

Struggling with productivity is a very common theme amongst… well, pretty much everyone. Workers, managers, and students have all faced the odd day that they just can’t focus on the task at hand.

But, when you’re consistently not as focused as you used to be, it can be an underlying issue. As a manager, your team depends on you, which can cause you a lot of stress. Plus, distractions are everywhere in the workplace, be that an actual office or a home one, so the productivity struggle is even more significant.

All these can lead to burnout, one of the most common problems that our clients are dealing with. In itself, burnout can destroy any ambition you have for your work; that buzz you used to feel when you began working on that new project is just not there anymore.

But that’s not it. Many new fads in the workplace are killing your productivity, the main suspect of which is “toxic productivity”.

Avoiding Toxic Productivity

Being productive 24/7, being part of the so-called “hustle culture”, was initially seen as the best road to success. At its core, the hustle culture prompted you to neglect self-care and rest. Oh, and let’s not talk about work-life balance; no such thing exists within the walls of this community.

While its popularity has dropped after the pandemic, it’s worth noting that toxic productivity was, basically, a first-class ticket to burnout.

So, as we’ll see below, implementing some time management techniques and being more focused and more productive is a good thing, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your personal life.

Manage Your Time Better At Work – 5 Time Management Tips

Time is of the essence, hence why you’ve probably skipped the sections above. Thankfully, right below, we’ll talk all about time management tips, starting from some easy ones and going to some more challenging ones.

Implement the 2-minute rule

One of the biggest blockers you might face is getting started with a task. Or, you might have a dozen assignments that take 2 minutes or less to do sitting in your Notion notes, and you just put them off for “later”.

That’s where the 2-minute rule comes in. And it’s pretty simple. If a task takes 2 minutes to complete (think of answering a text or printing a report), you must do it now.

Also, for longer assignments, simply say you’ll work on them for 2 minutes. Most of the time, the motivation you’ll get from those few minutes will be enough to get you through a 30-minute task.

Try out the Pomodoro Technique

Many of you might find yourself working for an hour or two straight on compiling feedback for your team. You’ll take a well-deserved small break to look at your phone, which will often turn into doom scrolling through Reddit for an hour. And, there goes all your motivation.

Here’s where the Pomodoro Technique can help you out. The way it works is by forcing you to have a deep work session for 20-30 minutes, followed by a short 5-minute break. The anticipation you have for that tiny break is enough to get you through that 30-minute stint. And it’ll usually make it feel more like 10 minutes!

Create time blocks

I know what you’re thinking. Pomodoro Technique, 2-minute rule, all that sounds great on paper. But you can’t rely on 1 Pomodoro cycle to get through 8 hours of work each day. And, sometimes, tasks take hours, not mere minutes.

That’s why you need to create some time blocks. These are pretty straightforward. Split your workday into 90-minute intervals, with 10-minute breaks in between, and dedicate a specific task for each interval.

Answering emails and having meetings with the team? Let’s set that for one of the morning blocks. Planning out who will do what in this upcoming project? That can take up a time block at around noon, right before lunch.

Find out when you’re most productive

Bouncing off the time blocks above, you might not be a regular morning person. We’ve helped many of our clients understand that through our coaching. One creative director got the best ideas in the evening, while a CEO was the most productive before dawn.

In turn, you’ll need to find your productive hours. Note down which hours you’re in the zone and which are unbearable without a cup of coffee. But, one thing to always remember is to…

Take breaks

Okay, this might sound counterintuitive. Breaks mean no work and no work means less productivity, right? Well, not really.

You see, most executives always find themselves preoccupied with something, regardless of how productive that might be. That’s why you must strike the perfect time management balance between taking well-deserved breaks and having deep work sessions.

And that’s also why this is so hard for any managerial position. There’s always something more to do, whether that be feedback for the team, attending to projects, etc. But breaks are more important than all of these, especially if you want to be focused and more productive at work.

Be More Productive at Work as a Manager – 5 Work Productivity Tips

You’re hopefully reading this on one of your breaks that we mentioned above. Now, we’ll take a look at some more practical productivity tips (5 of them, to be exact) that should help you be less busy and more productive at work as an executive.

Create a Batch To-Do list

Regardless of your position in your company, you probably have a daily to-do list. But these are usually long, unorganized ones, with 20-30 entries for each day. So, if you want to be more organized and more productive at work, consider making a batch to-do list.

Remember the time blocks we mentioned above? If your work consists of 20-minute-long tasks, batch the similar ones into a single time block. For example, answering emails and printing out/sharing finance reports are pretty mundane for a finance manager. So you can compile them in a batch and dedicate one of the time blocks after lunch to doing these.

Eat the frog

You know that one task that you absolutely despise? The one that you always leave for last, thinking that it might disappear from your to-do list if you just ignore it? Yeah, that one. It’s time to eat the frog instead of ignoring it.

Okay, so you obviously don’t need to eat any frogs. Figuratively speaking, eating the frog means getting the hardest task done early on in the day. We actually think that this isn’t the best advice; instead, we suggest you get this done at your flow state when you’re most productive. That way, you won’t worry about that one task throughout the day.

Say no to multitasking

Everyone likes to brag about how they can analyze the data on a dozen spreadsheets while having a meeting with their team and writing an email to the company’s director all at the same time. So, let’s get one thing straight. Multitasking isn’t more productive than getting one thing done at a time.

Admittedly, rewiring your brain to stop multitasking is challenging. It’s simple, as you just have to not do more than one task simultaneously, but many managers are having difficulty doing so. Thankfully, a couple of other productivity tips can assist you.

Delegate tasks

Delegating tasks is rare for high-level positions. Being partly a pride thing and primarily a trust issue, managers and executives prefer taking up as much work as possible. But that’s far from productive.

To be more efficient and more productive at work, you’ll need trustworthy team members to whom you can delegate some of your less important assignments. Building trust with your team will take some time, though.

Eliminate distractions

Once again, our simplest tip is the most challenging one to implement. Look, we all look at our phones every few minutes, even if they’re on mute. Millions are addicted to social media, which can be detrimental to their productivity, even when they use the best productivity tools.

So, whether you work at home or in the office, try eliminating as many distractions as possible. Place your phone (which should be in Do Not Disturb mode) as far away from your workstation, keep your office door closed, wear noise-canceling headphones, the whole shebang.

Stay Focused at Home – 4 Ways to Be More Productive at Home After Work

Okay, so many of you are probably still working from home. Or, you just want to ride that productivity train for a couple more hours while at home after work. Either way, we’ve got you covered.

Revamp your workstation

For all WFH executives, it’s time you added some personality to your workstation. Or you could designate a different space for a new office. But why? How will that help you be more productive at work?

Well, when your desk is a mess that you slightly hate looking at but definitely despise working at, it’s damaging your productivity. Of course, feel free to follow all the other tips we mentioned above before trying this one out.

That said, a small change like adding a plant at the corner of your desk could be enough to get you in a better mood and, thus, more productive while working.

Set a work schedule

Once again, this is for all the remote managers out there. One thing that you’ll all probably agree with is that work schedules are thrown out the window when you’re working remotely. Well, you should change that.

This is especially true if you’re managing a worldwide team. Set your work schedule by considering your most productive hours and the timezones of your team.

But that’s enough about work. Productivity is similar to working out. The actual work you put in will not result in any change if your lifestyle remains the same.

Prioritize Work-Life balance

Once your shift is over, understand that work is done for that day and it’s time to attend to your personal life. Sure, many managers and executives will attest that working a few more hours after the end of the day is actually very productive.

But that’s rarely the case. In fact, we can say that, based on our clients, this is a way to guarantee that you’ll have to face burnout soon. Plus, as a role model to your team, you must show them the value of balancing their personal and work life. And that’s certainly not achieved when you preach “one more email” instead of “one more match”.

Leave perfectionism out the door

This one’s probably the most important yet the most challenging productivity tip to implement we have for you today. Being in a managerial position, perfectionism is your biggest challenge. How can you start working on something when you know it won’t be perfect? How can you not spend hours on a menial task when you know it can be perfect?

So, how do you leave perfectionism out the door? Simply set a non-negotiable time block for a specific assignment and stick to that timeframe. No more, no less. Doing so, you’ll be able to see the actual progress of the task in record time instead of obsessing over it being perfect for hours.

Take Your Next Step to Work Productivity With Wave

Admittedly, managerial positions are lonely. You’re leading an entire team, you’re always in meetings, yet very few can understand the productivity problems you’re facing. So, who will hold you accountable and ensure you use these productivity tips? That’s where our 15th and final tip comes in: Coaching!

A productivity coach will help you be more productive at work using some of the time management techniques and productivity tips we mentioned above. But they’ll also be your sparring partner, someone who understands your problems and can provide you with the help you need.

At Wave, we do just that, only a little bit better and much cheaper! By implementing R.I.D.E (Reflect on goals that matter, Investigate your blockers, Do real things to progress, Elevate your game to ride again), we empower our clients to take initiative in their coaching and achieve their ultimate goal, no matter what that may be.

Interested in starting working on your goals? Book your first session now.

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