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8 simple ways to optimize your productivity.

After 20 years plus of coaching top managers, it’s easier to identify how executives can maximise their time. Most of my one-to-one coaching starts with these executive challenges:
-    Work overload, because it’s rarely about work underload these days.
-    Too many competing priorities, mostly in the three arenas of career, corporate and family/private.
-    Constraints – not having enough time, people, money or other resources to do the job.
-    Personality conflicts, which are essentially different personal views or different ways of doing something, or both.

A very common hurdle to overcome is finding the time to deal with these deep-rooted challenges.

It’s here that we can use the Healthy Optimization of Time Model. The model does not give you the answers; it is best use as a basis for a deeper dialog. It is an initial evaluation. It’s a simple, powerful diagnostic based on clinical research and experience with hundreds of global managers. There are eight statements: four covering the mindset and four covering executive actions.

The Healthy Optimization of Time

For each of the eight statements below, ask yourself “To what extent does this happen?”. Score your answers on a scale of 1 to 5 (1=never, 5=always).

Optimize Your Mindset

Statement 1: I enjoy what I do (at work) and it is good for me.
Effectiveness and productivity go up when there is a “fit” between our life goals and our current work.

Statement 2: I am responsible for how I use my time.
This is not how we use all of our time. Healthier people have at least some discretion in how they you their time. Secondly, responsibility is at the individual level – with each of us – not some abstract organisational level.

Statement 3: I believe that I can control my time.
We reduce stress when we don’t constantly feel that we are running out of time or wishing for 25 hours in a day.

Statement 4: I regularly reflect on how I use my time.
The only way to use time better is to evaluate how we use it, which starts with regular reflection.

Optimize Your Actions

Statement 5: I make time for myself, every day.
Regardless on how many things you have on your plate, it is essential for your health to make time for yourself -even if that’s a short walk or reading a book just before you go to sleep. The time is not important, finding space for yourself is.

Statement 6: I prioritise outputs, not inputs.
It’s not the time you invest that’s important; it’s what you achieve.

Statement 7: I accept that my resources are limited.
It’s success that’s important, not perfection. No manager, no company has unlimited resources so a good place to start is to accept that you cannot be everything to everyone.

Statement 8: I use a time management system.
This is everything we normally think of under “time management”, e.g. planning, task-lists, memory, productivity apps, and efficient administration. Downloading a recommended productivity app makes you a good planner. It does not guarantee the optimization of your time.


Scoring: A score of 2 or less on any statement suggests a potentially weak area, i.e. where you might be failing to optimize your time. That’s where you start to reflect deeper on the reasons and dialog about this. When coaching top managers, I find it is this rich dialog there gets us faster to the real causes of poor optimization.

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Client Testimonials

You have brought a direct positive impact on our sales… because people work more customer-oriented. Our efficiency levels... are continuously growing.

AL Managing Director

Leading this product launch has taught me to be effective doing what I find naturally easiest – using trust and supporting people each step of the way. It augments my chances of making sure future product launches are as successful as this one.

MN Vice Director - Medical Marketing Europe

This process allowed people to re-appraise how this [senior team of managers] group was functioning or, rather, not functioning correctly. The tendency for each member of our group to see himself as an isolated beacon of excellence – which acted against the vital need for cooperation between members – were eased and communication is already becoming more 'normalised'.

RS Senior Director

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