Five Steps to Become ‘Super Productive’

Get the biggest impact out of every hour you work.

April 19, 2013
/ PRINT / ShareShare / Text Size +

“Super productivity” is about getting the most impact out of every hour you work. It’s about being prepared to write off what doesn’t matter and focus your efforts on implementing and executing those tasks that do.

Consider these five strategies to eliminate waste and accelerate productivity:

1. Use the 15-minute rule

What can you do in 15 minutes that will get you closer to achieving your goals? Consider taking action in 15-minute increments for such things as answering email, hosting a standing meeting (where everyone actually stands), and limiting phone conversations.

2. Cancel unnecessary meetings

Trust, Then Delegate

Being an indispensable asset to your team is an excellent goal—but it’s even more important to know where to focus your efforts and when to share the load.

If it’s difficult to delegate, try these tips, James advises:

Give it up. Recognize and admit that you can’t do everything all of the time. Acknowledge that you’ll benefit from other people’s help and give them the opportunity to shine in the process.

Trust yourself. You already believe you’re the best person for the job—now believe you’re the best person to delegate tasks to others.

Trust others. People won’t delegate because they don’t trust other people to complete a task or activity in the same way as they would themselves. And it’s true, no one will do things exactly like you. Accept that maybe your way isn’t the best way and that someone else might even do better than you.

Communicate expectations. Be clear and specific. And ask your co-worker to summarize your expectations, including how and when the task should be completed.

Offer feedback. Let co-workers know how they did. Recognize their achievement through praise or an appropriate reward.

If you’re holding meetings only because they’re on the calendar for the same time, same day every week—stop. Unless you have a strong agenda and a reason to invest everyone’s time, cancel the meeting.

If you can’t cancel it altogether, at least reduce the meeting time as appropriate.

3. Pay attention

You frustrate your team when you’re constantly distracted by your email. Distraction can be disrespectful.

The biggest investment you can make in someone is giving people your undivided—not multitasked—attention. Look people in the eyes, put down your iPhone, and ask your team to do the same.

4. Choose three strategies

Focus your attention on your top three strategies to accomplish your job.

Make sure your strategies are:

As a leader, your role is to focus on strategies you can execute.

5. Disconnect

Take breaks from technology. Occasionally remove yourself from your email and the minutia that can drain your focus and energy. Refocus on the big picture, your deliverables, and your strategy.

Having the mindset of execution will make you more strategic and successful, and it’ll help you build your reputation as a chief “execution” officer.

NEEN JAMES is a productivity expert and author of “Secrets of Super-Productivity: How to Achieve Amazing Things in Your Work Life.”

(Via Credit Union FrontLine)

Post a comment to this story


What's Popular

Popular Stories

Recent Discussion

Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

Your Say: Who should be Credit Union Magazine's 2014 CU Hero of the Year?

View Results Poll Archive