Top productivity tips from CEOs

by Charlie Wallace on Tuesday 13 January 2015, 11:30 PM | Category: Entrepreneurship| View: 987 views

What time-tested ideas actually stick for really busy people? To answer that question, we looked for ideas that chief executives have shared over the past year about time management, work-life balance and leadership. We tucked away these productivity hacks and management tips - which range from how to run faster meetings to how to manage e-mail overload – and have pulled them together in one place. Whether they come from Silicon Valley wunderkinds, Fortune 500 chief executives or start-up founders, these day-to-day habits all have one thing in common: busy leaders credit them as small secrets to their success.

Colour-code every minute

VMWare CEO Patrick Gelsinger

The chief executive of this software company codes his schedule by colour, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal in July. He marks meetings turquoise when they're with customers or partners, purple if they're with media or investors, and yellow for strategy reviews. Then an intern tallies up how his "time use stacks up to various studies on executive time management", the Journal wrote.

Don't work on airplanes

Evernote CEO Phil Libin

Libin, chief executive of the note-taking and archiving software Evernote, told PC Magazine that he gives himself a break by not working in the air any more. "Like everyone else, I used to just work on airplanes – I'd use that as a time to catch up on things," he told the publication. "And I stopped. I basically said when I'm on a plane, I won't work. I'll read, I'll play video games, I'll sleep, I'll watch movies, but I don't work. It makes me look forward to flying. I can get off a long flight, and actually be kind of relaxed."

Make employees put a response deadline in e-mails

Birchbox co-founder Katia Beauchamp

Beauchamp, co-founder of a popular beauty-sample subscription service, told the website Lifehacker that one of her best time-saving tricks is to get co-workers to include deadlines for even simple questions. "I insist people on the Birchbox team indicate when they need a response in all emails," she told the site. "It makes prioritisation so much faster."

Google CEO Larry Page

In a recent Fortune feature story about Larry Page, whom the magazine named Businessperson of the Year and "the most ambitious CEO in the universe", the Page told writer Miguel Helft that he "forces himself to do without a computer during much of his day". He goes to meetings with only his phone, and encourages engineers and product managers to spend at least one day a week working only on their mobile devices. It's all part of his effort to keep the company's focus on mobile and to keep "pushing people ahead", he told Fortune.

Crowdsource meeting agendas

Homejoy CEO Adora Cheung

Fast Company's December-January issue is a goldmine for anyone looking for productivity tips, featuring "secrets of the most productive people" ranging from the DJ Diplo to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Start-up chief executive Adora Cheung, whose company Homejoy connects housecleaners with customers, shared her secret for managing meetings. To keep things focused and brief, she has co-workers add agenda topics to a Google Doc spreadsheet before a meeting and she then prioritises them. If it's not on the Google Doc, she told Fast Company, "we don't talk about it". - The Washington Post


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