Sure, we’ve all read about productivity tips but Robert C. Pozen’s thoughts seem to take a new spin on it. In addition to teaching a full courseload at Harvard Business School and serving as executive chairman at MFS Investment Management in Boston, the author of Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours, provides several ways to amp up your productivity while simultaneously increasing your work/life balance.
According to a piece in The New York Post, he shared several tips for reducing wasted time and making the most out of every moment.
1. Start the night before. “The night before, go over your schedule and see what you’re going to do and what the purpose of what you’re doing is,” Pozen told the paper. “I advocate having a two-column schedule. On the left, put down all your appointments and phone calls. On the right, put down what the purpose is. [Ask] what am I trying to get out of this?”
He doesn’t just stop there. Pozen also suggested getting your outfit ready the night before so in the morning you can simply start your day without wondering what to wear. He added, “I’m a great advocate of being boring in the morning.”
2. Be economical with your energy. Whether it’s your breakfast or commute, when it comes to things that aren’t truly important he recommended doing them “with the least energy possible so that leaves you with more energy for other things.”
3. Keep your procrastination in check: Establish mini-deadlines. “I divide the world into modest procrastinators and heavy-duty procrastinators but there are people who literally can not start a project until the deadline is four hours away, even if it’s a big one. And those people have a serious problem. My recommendation is set up mini-deadlines. You might say, ‘Okay, here’s my deadline after three days for this and there’s another deadline for that and then a third deadline.’ You’re forcing yourself to have more deadlines since you’ve already admitted you only respond to deadlines. Some people say, ‘Those deadlines are artificial.’ And I say, ‘Well, good. Tell your boss about them. Then they won’t be artificial.’”
4. Take naps. Seriously. The author indicated 20 to 30 minute naps are ideal. “I’ve napped in all sorts of places,” he explained. “Just find a conference room that isn’t being used for a half an hour. The key is just to get your feet up and have a blindfold, which I carry at all times. Train yourself to fall asleep. Some people say the problem is, ‘If I fall asleep, I can’t wake up.’ The answer is simple: Set your iPhone or BlackBerry alarm and you’ll get up.”