6 ways to get more work done

The way we’re working isn’t working. Demands are increasing, yet resources are decreasing. Increased competition, 24/7 working, speed to market and economic uncertainty means huge pressure on businesses and, in turn, their people.

Starting and running a business takes considerable time and energy. It’s exciting; fuelled by passion and purpose. Entrepreneurs find reserves of energy within themselves that they never thought were possible. But this drive isn’t sustainable. It adds even more demand on them and their people.

Our experience is that businesses with entrepreneurial spirit have an intense sense of passion and purpose. But because there’s always a new idea to explore, focus is in short supply.

Take Solarcentury, an organisation filled with immensely intelligent and talented people with a great sense of purpose. By embracing a better way of working; managing their energy rather than time, they’ve increased their power of focus and achieved a 45 per cent increase in business.

Here are some more top tips being used – to great effect – within Sony, Google and Grey Advertising:

1. Do the highest value thing first

Most of us have the highest energy and fewest distractions at the beginning of the day. Use the journey home in the evening to identify the activity that will give you the highest value the next day. Do this for the first 90 minutes the next morning.

2. Use the whole brain

The business world loves the logic and analysis of the left brain. It’s critical in business, but we also need the creativity, imagination and intuition of the right brain. Where are you when you get your best ideas? Among the thousands of people I’ve asked this question, not one has ever said “behind my desk”. Intentionally place yourself in environments that inspire you.

3.  Take a break every 90 minutes

This keeps your body in alignment with its natural rhythms. Just as we cycle through stages of sleep at night, so we go through similar cycles every 90 minutes during the day. Focus for 90 minutes, then take a break.

4. Get some sleep

Begin powering down at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep. Avoid anything stimulating, such as email, intense conversations and thoughts. Instead, look for ways to relax and quieten the mind.

5. Take a holiday

When you’re taking time off, do things that stop you thinking about the business. Use it as an opportunity to do something that matters to you, beyond work.

6. Take deep breaths 

When you feel any negative emotion (anxiety, frustration, anger), take a deep breath and feel your feet.  Whatever you feel compelled to do, don’t.

In a world of relentless demand, we all need a better way of working. Try building these tips into your everyday life and you’ll join a growing number of people that are able to get more done in less time – and be healthy, happy and successful in the process.

Tony Schwartz is author of The New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working, co-authored by Jean Gomes.

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