One of the most important attributes of an effective leader is an ability to manage time wisely. If you’re like most successful executives, you’ve developed habits that enable you to make the maximize every minute in your day and focus on those tasks that are of the most importance. Sometimes these tips and tricks are obvious, but often the most effective insights are counterintuitive.
Here are four surprising strategies suggested by top executives that have helped them to make the most of every day.
Let your employees help you prioritize your communication.
This tip comes from Katia Beauchamp, co-founder of cosmetics company Birchbox. In an interview with Lifehacker, Beauchamp said that she requires her employees to indicate when they need a response in any email they send to her. “It makes prioritization so much faster,” she says.
Of course, this same principle can be applied to many forms of communication, from voicemails to chats or IMs. By adopting this simple practice, you can have a clearer understanding of what your employees need from you and respond accordingly.
Give meeting attendees input into the agenda.
Similar to the last suggestion, you can streamline your meeting agendas by allowing participants to suggest topics ahead of time and then limit discussion to only those subjects. By doing so, you can anticipate items that would otherwise come up in the meeting and address them in a more strategic, efficient manner.
This suggestion comes from Adora Cheung, the CEO of Homejoy. In an interview with Fast Company, Cheung explains her approach: “I have a Google Doc for each recurring meeting, and I ask people to throw in ideas [throughout the week] of what they want to talk about. I’ll go to that doc and prioritize everything that I think we should cover, and then during the meeting we just go down the agenda. If it’s not on the agenda, we don’t talk about it.”
Give yourself a break.
As important as it is to maximize your productivity, you also need to remember to give yourself some down time. This may take many forms, such as taking a walk around the halls of your building every couple of hours to stepping out for a cup of coffee during a busy day.
Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote, has a unique strategy: he doesn’t work when he’s on an airplane. In an interview with PC Magazine, Libin said, “I basically said when I’m on a plane, I won’t work. I’ll read, I’ll play video games, I’ll sleep, I’ll watch movies, but I don’t work. It makes me look forward to flying. I can get off a long flight, and actually be kind of relaxed.”
Listen to your body.
Whether you’re an early riser or a night owl, you’ve probably found that your body rhythms can have a big effect on your daily routine. Planning your day around these natural cycles can pay big dividends in terms of effectiveness and productivity.
In a recent column for Inc. Magazine, Ayutopia Internaional CEO Ariana Ayu wrote, “You have to take care of yourself physically as well as emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. If you don’t, you won’t be nearly as good at everything else you do.”
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