Bob Pozen is a Harvard Business School lecturer and productivity guru. He’s been a top executive at global financial services firms and written a highly acclaimed book, Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours, offering tips on how to get more done in less time.
Here are Bob’s common-sense tips for workplace productivity and high performance.
1. Measure Productivity in Results (Not Hours)
To measure the success of a task Bob recommends you focus on the results you produce not the number of hours you spend on it.
Focusing on results instead of time will also give you a better work-life balance.
2. Minimise Daily Choices
To maximise productivity, Bob keeps the material aspects of life as simple as possible. He plans his day the night before and gets up at 7:00 am every day.
For breakfast, Bob has a banana and a bowl of cereal and when he comes to what to wear, Bob has five outfits for winter and five for summer which he rotates.
Steve Jobs famously wore the same black turtleneck, blue jeans and New Balance sneakers every day to save time and avoid decision fatigue.
Despite being a really important step, prioritising is still something only a few of us do.
To allocate your time in the best way, you need to prioritise, so you know what tasks are the most important that day or week.
You might want to take on your most important task of the day first thing when you’re at your most productive.
4. Project Management Tips
How do you eat an elephant? In small pieces.
The same applies to projects or more complex tasks.
Bob Pozen believes that for important projects, you should start with what you think will be your conclusions.
You can always review and revise them throughout the project.
5. Checking Emails
Do you spend a lot of your working day constantly checking emails?
Depending on your role, you might want to consider trying to check your inbox every hour or two instead.
You might find your productivity improves as a result.
The same applies to checking notifications within your project management or team collaboration software. Ideally, you should switch notifications off when you need focus time.
6. Allocate Time for Thinking
Bob believes that thinking is a very important aspect of most roles and one that is often neglected.
When scheduling your day, leave some downtime for reflection to ensure your day is aligned with your goals.
“If you fill every hour of a daily calendar with meetings or phone calls, you leave little room for dealing with unanticipated developments.”
7. Don’t Take it Home
This is a difficult one but life is not a game you win by working the longest hours.
Take time out to spend with your friends and family, avoiding emails and phone calls and turning off screens.
You might just discover that this will be the time in your day that you treasure most.
Bonus: Bob’s Six Principles for a More Productive Work Life
- Know your comparative advantage.
- It’s not the time you spend but the results you produce.
- Think first, read or write second.
- Prepare your plan but be ready to change it.
- Let others own their space.
- Keep things short and simple.
Source: Harvard Business Review
These extreme productivity tips are designed to help you get more done throughout the day.
Another way you and your team can work more efficiently and effectively is by using Tameday’s project management tool.
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Related: 3 Things That Make People Productive