Question: What 24 things do you have in common with your heroes like Beyonce, Bill Gates, or Jeff Bezos?
Answer: The hours in your day.
Here are 5 great productivity hacks that are helping me to maximize my time:
1) Ditch in-flight WiFi and do work
The time you spend on a plane can be incredibly productive.
Connecting to in-flight WiFi is just giving yourself an excuse to be distracted. Being on a plane is the perfect time to be incommunicado and to focus on yourself and your craft.
Use this time for solo work and self- improvement that will make you more effective in your role. Work on writing, editing, reading books, catching up on industry news.
Spend your time in the air preparing for when you hit the ground.
2) Time-block work, not just meetings
Your calendar has no idea how much work you have to do. It thinks all your time is "available" by default.
If you leave your calendar that way, your time will inevitably get booked by someone else who needs your "time." And when your calendar gets full of meetings, when are you going to get any actual work done?
When a task comes across your desk that you will need to give time to, put time on your calendar to do that task.
Because this is your work you can be flexible with your time blocks, but don't allow yourself too much freedom to give away your time block to just anything.
Make sure that if your time is blocked off, and you want to give some of your time to a new meeting or another task, that it is important enough to displace the other work you have to get done.
3) Daily Top 3 Things
We all have too much to do and want to do everything...now. Today.
We end up just doing "things" but not accomplishing anything fulfilling and then we feel defeated by our to-do list.
Instead of just a to-do list of tasks, choose three accomplishments that would be significant for your business but also fulfilling to you personally.
Having meaningful things to aim towards can make a big difference in how you approach your time.
Use your top three things to shape the time blocks you set. Make sure the work you do in self- improvement, and the solo, deep work you do at home and in Uber cars is pushing toward one of your top 3 goals.
Taking an Uber to and from work once or twice a week helps convert drive time to game time where you can get things done.
Even if you don't have a long commute this can be a benefit. Just a 25 minute commute gives you nearly an hour of your day you can reclaim and re-purpose.
Think of it as renting a private moving office where no one can walk in, you can't get pulled into a meeting, there's no walk-by questions to torpedo you and you can just focus on things that need your attention.
In this focused time, you can knock out emails, proof copy from writers, check financials, or any other tasks you can do without anyone's input.
With those focused tasks off your plate, when you walk into the office you are prepared to be more efficient in other ways.
You are also well informed because you caught up on email.
You are focused because you sorted the priorities of your day.
You can then give more time to collaboration and communication, which are very important, but detract from deep-focused work.
But the real rewards of this tip come on the way home.
When we leave work, most of us have undone things on the bottom of our to- do lists or those "one more thing" emails that come in as we are going out the door.
When you handle these end of day time sucks during the drive home, you don't have to walk in the door and excuse yourself from your spouse or kids to "do one quick thing for work."
When you get home you can BE home! That's an efficiency that will produce tangible benefits in your non-work life.
5) Work from home 1 day a week
Another way to get time to do focused, deep work for your organization done is to stay home.
Your time at the office often belongs to other people. They need your opinion. They need you to come look at something. They need to drop by your office or stop you in the hallway.
But many of the things you need to do require deep thinking, focus, and research that you can't do with constant interruptions.
Use one day a week at home to do long term planning, define your vision, research new areas, and set goals for your teams.
When you tackle the big ticket items that need your attention, it's not a big deal to stop and talk to people in the office when you are there. You have freed up that time for them.
When at home, minimize distractions and communication. No social media. No phone calls. Only do email first thing in the morning and then after lunch and at the end of the day.
Save time for yourself
Using your time effectively and efficiently on the job benefits more than just the job. You won't just be making your boss happier. Your family will be happier. You will be happier.
Your life is made up of the time you have each day. When you save time, you are saving your life one hour at a time. And when it comes to being productive at work, the time you save--the life you save--just might be your own.