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There are never enough hours in a day, but how you spend the hours that you do have can make all the difference in the world. Just think: business leaders such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have exactly the same 24 hours available to them as you do! All good business leaders have to determine the best way to be productive, but this can be a challenging lesson to learn. Here’s a quick hack that will help you be more productive without adding to your stress level.

Just Say No!

Ask yourself this question multiple times each day: “Am I adding unique value to this conversation, or could someone else do (nearly) as well?”. You have to be honest with yourself, but when you rigorously apply this rule you might find that you can skip some meetings, delegate decisions and allow others to take the lead on smaller projects or tasks so you can focus on leveraging your core competencies. Getting rid of the smaller annoyances leaves you more time to focus on what’s truly important — moving your organization forward.

Effective Prioritization

Did you know that the word “priority” was never meant to be plural? That’s right, we talk about “priorities” all the time, but for more than 500 years it strictly meant the very first thing. When you think about it, it’s impossible to have multiple “first” things, there’s only one first. When everything is a priority, nothing’s a priority, but how can you make decisions about where to focus without freezing yourself or your team in a circle of indecision?

Multitasking is a Myth

Your brain can truly only handle one task at a time. When you’re jumping back and forth between several tasks, your brain takes a minute to adjust each time you make that leap. This mental price is time taken out of your day that could otherwise be spent on a single productive task, allowing your brain to work at peak performance. Even if you’re only wasting 60 seconds between each task, that can easily add up to more than an hour each day. This performance disruption reduces your focus and makes your delivery less consistent.

If you can’t help with a particular project, or don’t need to be involved in a decision, don’t be afraid to step away and let others handle it. You need to be able to trust that your team can take care of the rest. There’s no need to add what is essentially busywork to your day when you can harness the power of your mind to create value in your little corner of the universe.

Just say NO

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