Every human has the same 24 hours a day. How we use them dictates the direction and velocity toward our life’s goals. Although historically, time management theory looks to make incremental improvement, the uber-productive use “hacks” to take shortcuts and rewrite the rules.
Uber-productive individuals are the ones who outperform everyone else by 10 times as much. These include those who lead offices with more than 300 agents and agents and teams clocking in more than $100 million in volume. Here are five secrets the uber-productive use to outperform the rest.
1. Being busy isn’t the same as being productive
The uber-productive know “busy” and “productive” aren’t synonymous. They focus less on the amount of time they are dedicating to something while caring more for what is being accomplished.
Working smart is almost always better than working hard. But the uber-productive know when working hard is producing better results. They are pragmatic and tied to the results. They have learned the art of noticing when time has hit a point of diminishing returns.
In my experience, most hour-long meetings would better serve everything if they’re condensed into 8-12 minutes. The uber-productive schedule shorter meetings, start on time and finish early.
2. Energy management is the secret to time management
The energy we give to our commitments is far more important than the time we devote to them. Those who have mastered time management have figured out how to manage their energy during the day.
It’s why most people get way more done if they wake up an hour earlier to exercise and meditate. That time of focus and working out pays back energy throughout the day — far more than an extra hour of sleep in most cases.
The same goes for how they fuel their bodies. They manage what they eat to maximize the energy they have throughout the day.
3. Focus on ROI
Return on investment (ROI) is usually measured in money. For the uber-productive, time, energy and relationships also carry their own currency. They also expect the highest and best return on their investments in those areas.
ROI isn’t always measured selfishly. It is also used to measure the value to someone else. For example, the uber-productive may choose to have a deep conversation with someone they love rather than watching something on TV.
They understand intimacy is the currency of relationships. Investing in communicating care and making the other person feel loved and valued has a higher ROI than a need to catch up on a favorite show on Netflix.
4. Harness the power of leverage
The uber-productive understand how to leverage resources. Money doesn’t sleep. They use this to their advantage and make it work for them all the time. People have inherent strengths — areas in their lives where they outshine everyone else. Great leaders identify these areas and celebrate them. They will focus and invest that person’s time in what they do best.
Most leaders spend a fair amount of time “firefighting” problems that come up. The uber-productive leader will take the time to teach people how to find answers rather than answering the question. They will ask the person what they think or direct the person to ask someone else for their opinion.
They may even ask the person to do some research and then come back to them. In doing so, they are teaching the person to do their own firefighting and filtering out what they don’t personally need to handle.
5. Avoid the vortexes
A vortex is anything that sucks your time and energy without any return. It may be social media. It could be a relationship that is one-sided and seems to be hell-bent on sucking the life out of your soul. Perhaps it’s a personal habit, like procrastination.
We all have them. But the uber-productive see them for what they are. They avoid the vortex and replace it with something productive. These leaders will choose to pursue something restorative instead of mindless while taking a break. Yes, even their breaks are as productive as possible.
The uber-productive focus on results, not time. They have learned that energy management is the secret to the time-management puzzle. These leaders view each area of their life through the lens of ROI. They have harnessed the power of leverage and avoid the vortexes that steal their time, energy and resources.
Chris Pollinger, partner, Berman & Pollinger, LLC is a senior sales and operational executive skilled in strategic leadership, culture building, business planning, sales, marketing, acquisitions, operations, recruiting, and team building.