Being at the helm of a company, whether big or small, doesn't happen overnight. You've probably honed your skills, launched successful campaigns, and collaborated with the right people along the way. But being a CEO presents some challenges. Since all eyes are on you, you've got to stay on top of your game and lead your organization to continued success without breaking a sweat. So how do you stay productive while trying to manage a million to-dos? Here's 5 tips to get you going in the right direction.
1. Art of Delegation
Yes, it is an art. Learning how to delegate is one of the things that will make or break a CEO. You have to be able to hand off tasks to the right people, and at the right time, without looking back. If you're always having to check in on the status of something, this drags on your productivity, and the tasks you should truly be focusing on. An important element of this is having the right people on your team; if you don't trust that they'll get the work done the right way, then you're going to be a little hesitant about handing things off. Make sure you have the right people working with you and you'll feel more comfortable about delegating tasks. Also, delegate at the appropriate time. If it's early enough in the life cycle of a project, definitely hand off items to your trusted colleagues and only step in on occasion. If there's not enough time to have another team member execute the task properly, then handle it yourself if necessary and delegate the next time around. As you refine the art of delegating, you'll get into a style and rhythm that works for you and your team.
2. Give Yourself a Performance Review
You're usually the one handing out the performance reviews full of success stories and "areas of opportunity", but when is the last time you checked in on your own strengths and weaknesses? Fine tuning your strengths makes you more productive since you'll just get more practice as time goes on and you'll be more efficient with your work. And managing your weaknesses will make you more productive in the long run since you won't be caught off guard by something you can't handle. If you're aware of a weakness, you'll be better equipped to handle the situation when you're confronted with it instead of letting it derail your day. Check in with a coach or a mentor occasionally to see where you're at and how you can either learn to deal with these weaknesses, or possibly hire someone to do the things that you don't have the time to improve upon. In a Harvard Business Review article titled "CEOs Need Mentors Too", 84% of CEOs credited mentors with helping them avoid costly mistakes and become proficient in their roles more quickly.
CEO productivity depends on the intricate balance of your team working together to maximize everyone's strengths while moving towards those targets and business goals in their respective roles. In the same way you'll be maximizing your own strengths, utilize the skills and strengths of your team. Part of utilizing the strengths of your team is actually knowing them! Take time to invest in your team and do some professional development together so that you can learn about each other and the skill sets that each person possesses. This will help with some of the aforemention delegating and make every member of the team more productive - and that's a win for everyone!
4. Get Some Zzzz's
While we're not advocating naps at your desk, we are recommending that you are taking the time to rest and refresh yourself. If you're well-rested and rejuvenated when you get to the office, you'll start your day with a clear head and ready to focus on the tasks ahead. Getting that rejuvenation means different things to different people but it's important to embrace rest and your overall health. Aim for whatever that magic number is for you so that you don't feel like a sloth walking around the office. For some folks, it's 4 hours of sleep and others it's 7, but pick a number and stick with it for regularity and optimal performance. Also, build in some physical fitness that has a relaxing element to it, whether it's carving out some time in the morning for a yoga session or a weekend hike. Studies from the UK on executive health show that over 75% of executives who exercised had improved work performance, time management skills, and mental sharpness. Whatever activities you choose, get moving. Your body and mind will thank you. And so will your coworkers!
5. Go for the Goal!
Whether you're using SMART goals or some other goal setting system, make sure they're attainable. If you're reaching your goals frequently, you'll get that positive reinforcement that will allow you to become more productive over the long haul. Put your plans and objectives into a system that allows you to see how often you're meeting your goals. If you're constantly missing the mark, maybe it's time to delegate or revisit the primary project goal and make modifications. Don't spend time going around in circles wondering where you're at and if you're on target.
So ramp up your CEO productivity with these few easy hacks and watch you and your team work more easily and efficiently. These are two things that any CEO should be proud of!