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Thursday 10th Sep 2020


Despite your best intentions, you can end up focusing your time & energy on things you can do but shouldn't be doing. Without even realising it, you can be sucked into the small, menial tasks that are not going to move the business dials anytime soon. Over the short term, they simply waste your time, but over the longer term, they can have a detrimental impact on business profits.


Despite your best intentions, you can end up focusing your time & energy on things you can do but shouldn’t be doing.

Without even realising it, you can be sucked into the small, menial tasks that are not going to move the business dials anytime soon. Over the short term, they simply waste your time, but over the longer term, they can have a detrimental impact on business profits.

Here are 12 tips to help boost your productivity today;

#1 – look at your business through a fresh lens 

When you’re working in your business every day, it is so easy to become blinkered. You start to see what you want to see not what is the reality.

I call this ‘focus distortion’.

It’s like at home when you’ve been away for a while and when you return you notice the pile of old magazines in the corner of the lounge or the DVD’s clogging the shelf beneath the TV. You start to question how long they’ve been there as you’ve failed to notice them previously. You decide to do a spring clean and set about creating a new reality as you look at your world through a fresh lens.

Apply the same fresh lens to your business. Challenge yourself to imagine you’re a new executive and challenge yourself to question everything, and I mean everything!

Ask WHY questions, review systems, processes and procedures and ask is it adding value, helping us to be a relevant, agile, resilient business? Is it adding value for the customer? Challenge the seven most expensive words in business;’  that’s not the way we do things’ or its sister statement;’  We’ve never done it that way before’.

Walking through your business with a restless curiosity and fresh lens is a cathartic experience and will certainly awaken your senses.

#2 – question what is truly worthy of your time? 

To create the stretch and growth potential for your people and business, you should focus on the things that only you can do. Yes, you’ll have oversight and a contributory role in other areas, but your primary focus should be on the high-value activities which allow you to realise the potential in your business and yourself.

To achieve this, ask yourself this question; what is truly worthy of my time?

If you find you’re spending more time on tasks and activities which quite clearly you shouldn’t be, then now is the time to change because if you don’t, nobody else will.

#3 – design your high performing week

One of your highest callings is to be conscious and deliberate in how you set your high performing weeks up for success.

How you…

…focus on the things that only you can do, the areas genuinely worthy of your time;

…create more time to work ON the business, not just the busy fool working IN the business.

…book quality thinking time in your diary, knowing the time you spend thinking will make the doing more effective.

Remember in life, you make your choices, and then your choices make you.

#4 – become your own performance coach

Successful leaders have an insatiable thirst for learning, for showing up every day being the best version of themselves. They spend their life being their own performance coach, ensuring they reach their true and maximum potential.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the mechanics of the working day, and before you know it days, weeks or even months have passed since you spent time on you.

Invest time in you.

One of the six core human needs is the need for growth – for emotional, intellectual or spiritual development. If you are not learning and bettering yourself every day, then you are not growing.

#5 – remove all clutter from your workspace

Why is this important?

Because the information you receive from your peripheral vision, that’s the side of your eyes, hits you subliminally, that means below the threshold and has more emotional content.  Therefore, if you leave information, whether this be reports, files, letters on the side of your desk you’ll see them out of the corner of your eye and those reports will now be saying “remember me, you’ve got to do me.”

Clear workspace will create increased focus and concentration and help you burn through more work than ever before.

#6 – work on the same task only once

Next time you have a pile of papers, emails or post try applying the four D’s principle as you go through it: Do it, Delegate it, Dump it or Diarise it.

When you work on a task, try to deal with it only once, or up to a point where you can’t do anymore, and you need to either hand it off or get input from someone else. Give it the focused time to get it to completion or near completion.

#7 Swap your to-do list for a success list

See how changing the words from ‘to-do list’ to ‘success list’, refocuses the mind on what’s important rather than just what’s got to be done. Making this simple change, you’ll find you’re always working on your highest priority items.

#8 Stop saying ‘yes’ to something unimportant

Every time you say ‘yes’ to something unimportant, you are saying ‘no’ to something important.

You can’t be all things to all people. Know your priorities. Know your goals. Know what needs to get done over the coming weeks and months for you to feel that you have played your best game.

#9  Challenge the meeting madness

How many times has a meeting finished and you’ve said; ‘that was a complete waste of time!’ Maybe if you’d have challenged whether it was needed in the first place, you could have got back a valuable hour or two.  Start questioning whether a meeting REALLY needs to take place and whether it will add any value. Asking for a meeting objective and agenda will help filter out those non-essential meetings.

#10 Schedule thinking time

It’s so easy to get caught on the hamster wheel continuously doing the same things the same way without making time to STOP, THINK and EXPLORE better options and more effective ways of working.

You must allow for thinking time. Whatever your role, you need to create quality thinking time to work ‘ON’ your professional and personal life. Try blocking appointments in your diary with yourself for thinking time, even if it’s just 30 minutes.

#11 Create your focused five

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s so easy to lose focus, not just on a monthly or weekly basis, but daily. Here are five simple questions you can ask yourself to keep you on track. I call them the Focused Five;

What will I…

…stop doing? (Stop)

… do less of? (Minimise)

… keep doing? (Maintain)

… do more of? (More)

… start doing? (Start) 

#12 Remember to take a personal ‘pit stop’.

Build-in quality ‘downtime’ where you decompress and close down the day so you can shut the door and tune into your personal life; family, hobbies, outside activities and be present and in the moment. Often our challenge is that we put little time into ‘downtime’ which means we carry the day into our evening, never entirely turning off and before we know it, it’s morning again!

Your ability to focus on the things that make the difference can be the difference between you hitting your goals and being massively off track.


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