If you have hopes of being the boss one day, you’ll have to stay on top of your productivity game. Developing good habits now will ensure that you stay ahead of the pack when it’s time to advance in your career. If you’ve been looking for ways to power up your productivity, we have the tools you need. The Cheat Sheet chatted with three top CEOs to get their tips for staying motivated and getting your best work done.
1. Don’t check email constantly
My No. 1 productivity tip: Check your email at set times each day and stick to it. It’s far too easy to get drawn into conversations or offers that are not really relevant and suck time and energy out of you. The same goes for social media. If you use it for work fine, but set time aside to deal with it and stick to it. It’s slightly more difficult perhaps as you sometimes have to respond quickly on social in order to provide excellent customer service. With this in mind, use a tool that allows you to view social streams in a dashboard and send alerts when a comment is left or message received.
How I survive the mid-afternoon slump: I try not to eat a big lunch, it makes me sleepy! Seriously though, it’s much better to snack throughout the day on complex carbs in order to ensure that you retain your energy. Also drink plenty of water, and to lessen distractions listen to music designed to help you focus, such as classical.
My secret to staying motivated throughout the work week: Lists. If I didn’t have a plan, then I would spend far too much time procrastinating. Make sure that you plan out your days thoroughly and realistically. And don’t forget to take regular breaks and move around if you spend a lot of time at your desk. This will not only perk you up a little, but it will also ensure that you don’t suffer the detrimental effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Going to the gym doesn’t offset it either, you have to move around while you’re working. If you work from home, get up at a set time and set your end time too. Get dressed and take a short walk before work, it will get you off to a flying start!
Kerry Butters, Editorial Director & CEO of markITwrite
2. Be prepared
My No. 1 productivity tip: Before going to bed each night, review your schedule and tasks for the next day, and make sure that you know what you need to do and when you need to do it. Write all of this information down or enter it into an electronic device. Being organized helps you work more efficiently from the moment you start your day.
How I survive the mid-afternoon slump: Eat a healthy snack containing protein (I often eat a protein bar or have a protein-based shake or drink), and take a short walk. Whenever possible, take that walk outdoors.
My secret to staying motivated throughout the work week: The trick to staying motivated is to picture in detail the success of reaching your goal, while at the same time enjoying what you do along the way.
Joseph Steinberg, CEO of SecureMySocial
My No. 1 productivity tip: Start the day with writing down the four most critical tasks of the day. Then break those tasks into sub tasks. [Identify] anything that can be delegated and delegate those tasks. Then spend the first hours of your work day on the remaining tasks.
How I survive the mid-afternoon slump: I schedule all calls and take incoming calls at 1:00 p.m. This practice helps break up the monotony of working on my computer and helps me stay energized by using my voice.
My secret to staying motivated throughout the work week: My passion keeps me going throughout the week as well as being plugged into an entrepreneur think tank called The Woman’s Advantage, where I am able to swap war stories and get advice from my multi-millionaire business coach, Mary Cantando. It’s always comforting to know what I face in business someone else has and has conquered the challenge successfully and vice versa, that really keeps me motivated.
Joy Cook, President and CEO of Joy Cook Public Relations Group
4. Create a to-do list
My No. 1 productivity tip: I am incredibly task- and strategy-oriented. I suggest creating very targeted task lists and reviewing them for completion throughout the day. I utilize Basecamp to best manage my to-do list and to ensure that my staff stay on task. The program also allows me to see when assignments and tasks are completed.
How I survive the mid-afternoon slump: Exercise! I usually reserve my workouts for the afternoon. It allows me to re-engerize and return to the office with a fresh set of eyes and a shower!
My secret to staying motivated throughout the work week: Goal review. I keep a list of my long-term and short-term goals on my desk. When I become unfocused or hit a wall, I review the list. It keeps me focused and redirects my energy.
Janelle Langford, CEO of SUITE Public Relations