If you are like most leaders, you waste plenty of your own and others' time. There is some good news about how to do more with the time you have left: the Stanford scientist has discovered that people want more than anything to get more productive.
1. Sit down at your desk, then put your phone on do-not-disturb mode.
Successful entrepreneurs have great demands on their time from their team, customers, and investors. If you give in to their urgent desire to talk, you lose control of your time--which could make it more difficult for your company to reach its goals.
To keep these people motivated, make a plan each day and stick to it. Ironically, that means you must keep these people from pulling you away from your plan. That's why you must not answer every call that comes into your phone by putting it on do-not-disturb mode.
This habit will keep you focused on your key tasks and give you back the time you would have spent talking with the person, thinking about the call afterwards, and doing something to solve the caller's problem.
2. Don't browse social media for distraction. But if you do, log out.
Someone in your company--possibly in marketing or customer service--should be keeping an eye on social media.
I think founders should not spend time on social media during work hours. Yet some leaders cannot resist looking at Twitter or LinkedIn during work--possibly justifying it with the thought that they might receive an important business insight.
If you make that mistake, cut your losses by logging out. This will keep you from wasting more time. And if you feel the need for getting away from the grind, take a brisk walk around the building.
3. After you sit down in a meeting, write the title, the date, and the attendees at the top of your notes.
Leaders spend lots of time in meetings--say with potential customers or investors. If you're like me, you take notes in those meetings so you can remember key details--such as who said what.
The notes help you follow up more effectively with the right people when you have time to think about the topics discussed in the meeting. This is why it's particularly important for you to write down the date and the name and title of each attendee.
By doing this, you will save yourself the time and embarrassment of going back to the attendees and asking them for this information. That time will be better spent using what happened in that meeting to win new customers or raise needed capital.