Busy business leaders will always seek ways to enhance their ability and to get things done more quickly.

Your productivity levels change dramatically each week. Some people start the week with a bang, fully recharged from the weekend. Others hit a mid-week stride and close strong. Whatever your cadence, consciously changing your daily habits into more efficient ones will make you more productive.

“The work that hurts you less than it hurts others is the work you were made to do.”

– Atomic Habits, James Clear

Improving your productivity doesn’t have to mean radical changes. As James Clear states in Atomic Habits, “Making a choice that is 1 percent better or 1 percent worse seems insignificant at the moment, but throughout moments that make up a lifetime, these choices determine the difference between who you are and who you could be. Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.”

Get into the practice of waking up and then either pre- or post-caffeine, meditate in a quiet place for 10 minutes. Avoid checking emails, social media, or doom-scrolling. Whether you practice breathing exercises, yoga, or mindfulness, creating a habit of doing nothing to clear your mind is exponentially effective. After this, don’t jump to tasks yet.

Write down all the to-dos, ideas, and concerns occupying your mind (also known as the “Brain Dump” method). This decluttering process helps reduce anxiety and mental overload and gain clearer insight into what needs immediate attention. Once everything is on paper, you can prioritize and organize these thoughts. This exercise sets the stage for focused and effective execution.

This might be an invention of mine, or I may be the first to use it as a method. I often find myself in a quandary between emails I want to do as quick responses and emails that are important but need some thought and detail. Hence, the 3:2 approach: I do 3 emails that take some time and then reward myself with 2 emails that are quick hits. This satisfies my need to reduce my ever-growing inbox, and I’m being strategic and efficient at the same time. 

We now work in a hybrid culture. Often, leaders work from home a few times a week or month. Everyone has families, social circles, hobbies, and more. Their lives don’t consist of only work. Sometimes, people feel unproductive and burnt out over long hours, which can affect the quality of your work. The idea is to reward yourself with a specific time during the working day. When your brain knows there is a reward at the end of the working rainbow, it will recharge and give you the bandwidth to focus on your work priorities. Now, you must also be careful and keep the incentive from outweighing the work. For example, a 30-minute reward to play guitar or a 45-minute gym session in exchange for a productive morning is an appropriate incentive. But binge-watching ten episodes of your favorite show on Netflix isn’t.

One of my favorite lessons from working at The Mullings Group is the 10/4/2 method on LinkedIn. As leaders, keeping up with our industry’s latest news and knowledge is paramount. But with so much volume coming in, how do we keep up and stay relevant? The 10/4/2 method gives us a simple formula: 10 likes, four comments, and two shares. Now, not everyone has to master this right away, but when practiced over time, it can become a natural habit. Also, for those who suffer from writer’s block or posting block (as the phrase is now known), this method stimulates ideas as you consume new information.

Try it habitually for 2-3 weeks and notice how your routine changes.

Busy leaders often put off their most challenging or time-consuming tasks. These might be tasks that require research, strategic thinking, or something they don’t enjoy but have decided not to delegate. The thought of tackling them can weigh heavily on you, and the longer you take or the closer to the deadline it becomes, the less pleasant the task feels.

There are two ways to approach this or a combination. One is to find your most optimal productivity zone. Some of us are most productive or creative first thing in the morning, while others may like to block off specific working times during the day. Whatever your preference, make it a priority and do nothing else for that allotted time. You could even use the incentive method discussed in #3. The other way is to use Eisenhower Method 1 and time manage your tasks in urgent vs. non-urgent vs. delegate. 

It’s crucial to recognize that your approach to productivity can significantly influence your team’s effectiveness and workplace culture. Integrating these and other productivity hacks into your daily routine will optimize your performance and set a powerful example for your colleagues and employees.