The Definitive Guide to Business

3 strategies to boost your productivity

Productivity hacks from a career expert
Productivity hacks from a career expert

Want to get more done?

Productivity and leadership coach Ellen Faye, who teaches seminars on a range of topics, recently spoke with CNBC about how to maximize your time. Here are three of her top strategies.

These successful people share how to get more done in your 24-hour day
These successful people share how to get more done in your 24-hour day

Have a weekly planning session

One of Faye's biggest tips is to make sure you're prepared for the week ahead.

"I am a huge proponent of a weekly planning session," she says. "I like to call them a weekly focus session because I want my clients to understand that investing anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours is helping them get their focus and get clear on what is most important, what their priorities are to help them reach their goals and their strategic initiatives."

This process leads to results. "When they invest that time, their output is much, much better," explains Faye.

She also says the weekend can play a big role in planning. "I am sure there's lots of people out there that say, 'Oh, the weekend should just be for relaxing and recharging.' And, yes, obviously that's critical."

She adds, "However, I do think that if a Saturday morning or Sunday night is the only time they can cobble together that hour to go through their notes and go through their to-do list and analyze their tasks and prioritize their tasks so that they are set up for success for the week, it pays off."

"It causes so much less stress during the course of the week that it's worth the investment," says Faye.

That being said, the consultant shies away from telling clients to choose a specific time to plan. Instead, she says it's more important that they do what's best for them. "The individual client has to be able to know when the best time is to put that repeating event on their calendar," she says.

"Some people like doing it first thing Monday morning and they don't think about it over the weekend and they just come in and that's the very first thing they do so they're set up for the week," Faye adds.

But when does she decide to plan for the week ahead? She actually opts for just before the weekend. "Personally, I love doing it at Friday at 4 o'clock, so I know exactly what I have to do," she says. "And I can relax and enjoy my weekend so I'm very, very clear what happens Monday morning when I kick off."

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Run meetings with purpose

Another key piece of advice from Faye is to make sure scheduled meetings matter. "If you're meeting just because," she says, "don't have the meeting."

If you put the time and effort into figuring out what to achieve, though, that'll make it a more successful experience for all involved.

"However, if you're going to have a meeting, don't rush through it and lose the beauty of the purpose of that meeting," Faye adds. "That is for people to come together and share thoughts and riff off each other and have enough time to talk communicate so that the best solution can be found."

And how does Faye handle her meetings? "I want to hear the voices in the room," she explains. "I don't want to just hear the people who talk a lot. I sometimes go around and ask everyone to weigh in."

Support your team

Faye also says that a strong leader should be more than a manager. He or she must also be concerned with supporting those on staff to be the best they can be.

Successful leaders allow their staff to be creative, she says, while also being good at brainstorming high-level strategies for workers to follow.

I think the most important thing a leader can do is to support the success of his team.
Ellen Faye
productivity and leadership coach

A bad leader, though, who doesn't have their own productivity routines in place, will end up being much less inspiring. As a result, "You can't get [work] done because of your culture ... and your people are miserable at work," she says.

"I think the most important thing a leader can do is to support the success of his team and to ensure systems are in place," says Faye. "Without that, there's no such thing as productivity."

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