Not everyone is destined to be a CEO, but we can all learn from their work habits and strive to reach our full potential, whatever our industries. One key trait that top execs tend to possess is a penchant for productivity — i.e. getting stuff done — and in a great Cheat Sheet post titled “4 Top CEOs Reveal Their Secrets to Career Success,” writer Sheiresa Ngo chats with four business leaders to gather their best advice on taking care of business.
First up, markITwrite editorial director and CEO Kerry Butters suggests you “don’t check email constantly.” As Butters says, it’s easy to get roped into conversations that don’t pertain to your work and threaten to “suck time and energy out of you.” Earmark a handful of email times per day and don’t deviate from the schedule. The same goes for social media, though you may need to set up alerts to let you know when comments or messages are coming in, so you can respond to certain timely posts as necessary.
Joseph Steinberg, CEO of SecureMySocial, goes more low-tech with his piece of advice: “be prepared.” It’s simple: Each night, sit down and think about everything that needs to get done the next day and when it needs to happen. Then, make yourself a list — either on an electronic device or with a good old-fashioned pad and paper. “Being organized helps you work more efficiently from the moment you start your day,” Steinberg says.
With her top tip, Joy Cook Public Relations Group president and CEO Joy Cook takes it a step further and urges everyone to “delegate.” She’s a fan of making her to-do list first thing in the morning and then deciding whether any of the “subtasks” can be handed off to others. If so, spread the work around and spend the first part of your day tackling everything else yourself.
Janelle Langford, CEO of SUITE Public Relations, is also a fan of strategizing, but her No. 1 productivity suggestion goes beyond merely making to-do lists. She’s a believer in “task-oriented lists,” and she uses the software program Basecamp to monitor progress throughout the day and make sure employees are staying on target. This advice may not be applicable to those not in leadership positions, but there are parallels that can be drawn to just about anyone’s situation. Being productive means hitting goals and finishing tasks, and if you can make a plan and stick with it — every step of the way — you’ll naturally get more done.