When you think about productivity, what comes to mind?
Maybe it’s getting more done in less time, or finding ways to achieve better results with fewer resources. It could be figuring out process improvements to save you time or money. You may even consider improving outputs so you can achieve more goals.
Here’s how Merriam Webster defines productivity:
1: the quality or state of being productive
2: the rate per unit area or per unit volume at which biomass consumable as food by
other organisms is made by producers
No matter how you define productivity, we can all agree being productive is a good thing. Since the thought of how to be more productive comes across minds often, we decided to ask top business leaders what their thoughts are on productivity.
Below you’ll find top productivity tips to improve your life, shared by the hustlers, leaders, and business champions focused on achieving more every day.
1. You’re more productive when you take breaks.
“The technique I find works best for me when it comes to productivity is the Pomodoro Technique – named after those old school tomato-shaped kitchen timers. It dates back to the 1980s, is super simple but totally effective and great for helping you focus when you need to concentrate.
Set a countdown timer (I just use the one my phone) for 25 mins and crack on with your task. When the alarm sounds, have a five-minute break to make a coffee, check your phone, or stretch your legs – this process is called one ‘Pomodoro’. Once you have done four Pomodoros’, have a longer break of 15-30 minutes…then start over again. Doing this reduces the likelihood of being distracted and trains your brain to focus for short periods. Give it a try!”
Head of Partnerships at CoverageBook
2. Tackle your hardest to-do first thing in the morning.
“I have a notebook I use where I document the three biggest things I need to accomplish that day. I start with the hardest one first. There’s an expression ‘eat the big frog in the morning.’ I try to get that done first and build momentum for my day.”
President of Now IT Matters
3. Find a productivity methodology that works for you.
“We practice the “Getting Things Done” methodology at Arkus. So we’re all very focused on that. My biggest tip is to capture all of your to-do items and put them in one place. Check in on that daily and weekly. We use OmniFocus to do this, but if I’m traveling, I use notebooks. I went to Europe in April, and I wrote down so many notes wherever we went.”
Senior Project Manager at Arkus
4. Put it all down on paper.
“I usually organize my tasks following this model:
Weekly tasks and objectives – I prefer to do them on Friday at the end of my work week or Sunday.
Daily tasks – every day I make my list of tasks to be done according to my time possibilities, because I’m not always at the same place and sometimes I need external info in order to start a task.
With large projects I divide the tasks by general and specific and always add a column to delegate.
I plan all my tasks on stickers or in a notebook and I feel extreme satisfaction when I can underline one of them when they are completed.”
Head of Communications Team at SEMrush
5. Focus on why you’re doing something.
“One of the productivity tips I’m trying to employ more often is keeping gratefulness notes and priority notes.
Gratefulness notes remind me of the work of those around me and the things that keep me motivated. Priority notes help me remember why I thought I needed to do something later. It’s not changing what I’m doing, but more so why I’m doing it – I find myself doing more, and faster!”
Sales Development Manager at Formstack
6. Think about tomorrow, today.
“At the end of today, write down the one thing you will complete tomorrow. You’ll get into the office in the morning with the day’s vision. All that’s left is to focus. Sometimes it’s the simplest frameworks that help us the most.”
Director of Marketing at CoSchedule
7. Block out your own focus time to boost productivity.
“Focus time is critical for me to make progress on my projects, but with so many distractions during a typical day, it often becomes hard to get into flow. So, I’ve set up a recurring event of 3 hours every day where Oliv automatically enables “Do not disturb” in Slack and auto responds for me.
Once I am done with making progress on a project in that time block, I get a quick list of people who tried to reach me which I work through. Knowing I’ll have focus time every day brings a lot of sanity to my work.”
Software Engineer at Oliv
8. Align with the right teams on a consistent basis.
“As a marketer, aligning with our sales team early and often is crucial. Making sure marketing and sales are working together in lock-step increases productivity by ensuring everyone is working towards the same goal.
Take time to set weekly, monthly, and quarterly check-ins with your sales stakeholders to share campaign ideas, align on ABM efforts, plan enablement programs, and review metrics. This proactive approach will help you get ahead of any potential pipeline issues before there’s an impact on the bottom line — saving you time and money.”
Associate Product Marketing Manager at Salesforce
Do you have your own productivity tips to add to this list? Send us a tweet @formstack telling us how you stay productive for a chance to be featured on our social media channels!
Discover simple ways to improve productivity at your organization with our Workplace Productivity Statistics Report. You’ll learn how to avoid common productivity pitfalls, improve data management, and much more!