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Monday, July 22, 2024

How to Maximize Every Hour of Your Day for Unstoppable Productivity

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Time is one of the most valuable resources for CEOs aiming to win their day. Unlike other resources, time cannot be replaced or gained back. Once it has passed, it’s gone forever. And in this age where business has to move at breakneck speed, the ability to manage time effectively is more than just a skill — it’s a superpower.

Maximizing every hour of the day is crucial for leaders as they are responsible for making important decisions and driving the success of their business. However, not many leaders have mastered the art of time management, often getting bogged down with endless meetings and tasks that leave them feeling overwhelmed and unproductive. Eventually, this can lead to burnout and negatively affect their business.

The perfect day doesn’t exist — unless you create it.

The conditions for winning your day are things you don’t want to leave with chance, but rather it’s something you actively work towards. Here are strategies on how leaders can engineer and maximize every hour of their day for unstoppable productivity.

Related: 101 Time Management Tips to Boost Productivity Every Day

Your mornings matter the most

Before you get stormed by unending emails, meetings and to-do lists, there’s a sanctuary in the morning that’s all yours. It’s a sacred window where the DNA of your entire day is encoded. This sets the tone for your day and allows you to have the right mindset to tackle any challenges that come your way. During this time, it’s crucial to focus on yourself and your well-being.

I firmly believe that to be able to lead others effectively, you must be in the best condition possible. Just like the oxygen mask theory states, you need to put your mask on first before helping others. The same principle applies to winning your day. You must prioritize self-care and personal development to serve as fuel for your productivity. It’s a simple yet powerful principle that we often overlook because we dive headfirst into our responsibilities. Remember, we cannot pour from an empty cup, and taking care of ourselves should always be a top priority.

What are you doing to make yourself strong physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually? What are you doing to maintain your level of happiness and become the best version of yourself? With these questions in mind, you should be able to create a morning routine that sets you up for success.

Be clear on what you want and be intentional

One thing that many leaders often get wrong is adopting a “come what may” attitude. We often see this in leaders who are eager enough to finish every task they have on their plate. Speedrunning and completing as many tasks as possible does not equal productivity. It’s wrong to think that maximizing your day only revolves around getting things done. In fact, this approach creates the opposite effect. Leaders end up with a day filled with distractions, pulling them in different directions without a clear focus. As a result, they weren’t able to achieve what they truly wanted to do. This may sound difficult, but the solution to this problem is simple: Get clear on your goals and set a known direction.

Where are you at currently, and where do you want to go? What do you want to achieve?

Simply setting specific and achievable goals for each day creates a process that helps you identify what actions to prioritize and what can be delegated or eliminated. You are now able to filter the critical tasks that align with your goals and categorize them into four groups: High Lifetime Value Activities (HLVA), Non-negotiables, High Leverage Activities (HLA) and Most Valuable Priorities (MVP).

Utilizing this approach helps you create a decision-making filter that dictates if a certain activity should go to your calendar or not. It also helps you to be more intentional with your time and focus on the tasks that truly matter. Remember that those who are successful in the industry know that their time is valuable, so they don’t waste it on things that don’t bring them closer to their goals. They focus on what truly matters, and this sets them apart from the rest.

Related: Why Most Entrepreneurs Are Terrible at Time Management (and What to Do Instead)

Committing to your calendar

Execution is where many plans perish or thrive. It’s the most crucial — yet the most fragile part of the process that people often break. We have to understand that a leader’s calendar isn’t a mere schedule planner; it’s a court of execution where actions are tried and accomplished, where the day isn’t bossed around by to-dos, but by strategic moves that determine the progress of the entire organization.

That’s why your calendar should not be filled with every single task that you have to do, but instead, a carefully curated list of only those that align with your goals and are crucial for the success of your business. I’m sure there will be unexpected tasks or last-minute meetings that will pop up, but you must keep in mind that your calendar is not a suggestion, it’s a contract with yourself. It’s a commitment to prioritize what truly matters and make the most out of your time. Learn to say no, and learn to protect your priorities.

If it doesn’t make it to your calendar, then it doesn’t happen.

Have the discipline to follow through with your plans, and make each day count towards achieving your goals.

Pro tip: The flex space advantage

No matter how meticulous we can be, there will always be instances where things don’t go exactly as planned. This is why having a “flex space” in your calendar can be a game-changer. A flex space is an intentional block of time that you allocate for unexpected tasks or urgent matters that may require your attention. May it be time for yourself and time for others, this allows you to have a buffer in your schedule that can accommodate any curveballs that come your way.

By having this buffer in your schedule, you are prepared to handle any interruptions without derailing your entire day. It also allows you to have some breathing room and avoid feeling anxious about unexpected tasks popping up.

Related: Time Management Hacks That Very Successful People Practice Daily

As a busy professional, it can often feel like there are never enough hours in the day. With endless tasks and responsibilities pulling us in all directions, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and lose sight of our goals. However, by implementing these strategies and committing to a well-structured routine, you are bound to win your day and your week, and ultimately achieve your long-term goals. So, take the time to engineer your perfect day, and always remember: Productivity isn’t about doing more — it’s about doing what matters most. Let’s make each day count!



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