I have been a VC and am a 2X digital entrepreneur. If there is anything I’ve learned in my career, it is how CEO’s and leaders need to be exemplary in maximising their day. From morning to night you’re going to be taking decisions which will affect you personally and professionally and you need to be on top of your game.

To be more efficient and productive, live and don’t just exist. You can benefit from a few pointers that will help you focus in the right direction to maximise your day.

1. Let planning tools be your God

There’s never a better way to start your day than by planning it well. Ensure you don’t forget to miss out your personal commitments into your day’s calendar as well. If you need to make it to your kids’s annual day, then plan for it than forget it last minute. There are a number of tools that help you with it eg Asana (I love it), Taiga, Wrike, Zoho projects etc.

and when you’re done, read it loud as a positive reaffirmation to yourself. You will see the difference in a  day. Try it.

2. Organize your work

CEO’s have their hands full with multiple tasks, meetings, emails etc. which makes them more prone to miss out important stuff if unorganised. It is always recommended to list out your priorities in buckets. E.g. Marketing and operations focus after lunch and sales in the morning, evening with family etc. Divide your day into buckets and see the difference.

3. Keep Calm

Easier said than done but panic creates havoc. Staying cool during the toughest of the problems will help you sail through it. You can achieve this by meditating or having a form of stress busting activity that calms you e.g. Music, art, doodling, reading etc. Find your mojo.

Interacting with unhappy employees and customers might stress you out but handling these situations with tension will make things adverse. A calm and composed CEO can handle any problems and convince anyone.

4. Exercise Daily

Make exercise a part of your daily routine. Exercise makes your mind active and prompt. A CEO has to be prompt to run his day so, exercise or a game will not only give you a break but also keep your mind active and fresh to think clearly. Exercising will keep your body fit and will motivate your employees who look up to you to stay fit.

5. Make punctuality a priority

Punctuality is important for a leader. Your employees look up to you as a role model and hence being unpunctual will brand you unreliable and set a bad example.

Punctuality will not only save other’s time where they can be productive for your organisation but also yours. Being punctual strengthens and reveals your integrity.

6. Have your Thinking twenty

This was something I came up with when I started my entrepreneurial journey at Plash. What I did and still do is that every day I sit alone for twenty minutes and just introspect or ideate. These are 20 minutes of the day when nobody disturbs me. I analyse what I did in the day and what Eureka moments I had in the day (which I always note down in my phone). I quickly assign what ideas to delegate whom on Asana (You can do it your way). I am not kidding but this really made things move much faster at work. Have your Thinking twenty in the café or washroom or wherever suits you, but have 20 minutes to yourself each day !!

P.S. – Twenty means twenty or maybe thirty some days. Don’t turn it into a sixty please or the point is lost.

7. Read

Readers make great leaders. Make reading a habit and ensure you read at least one hour a day (that’s the minimum !!!). You will not only gain new ideas and vantage points but also benefit from being more articulate and precise when interacting with employees, colleagues and customers. If you need help in exploring what books to read or your peer group is reading – check this or check for recommendations from your friends and family, but READ !

8. Sleep sufficiently

Being a CEO keeps your day busy with a lot of work and hence there will be days when sleep takes the last priority. The fact is that sleep should take your priority than the backlogs of work since sleep deprivation will pull down your productivity and efficiency. I can vouch for this because I’ve run into health-related issues when during the launch of my first product. I came down to sleeping 3-4 hours a day and found myself battling obesity and drop in productivity. I was irritable and sure wouldn’t have been fun to hang out with. Thankfully I realised it in time and changed course. My point is – don’t be like that !!

9. Plan a vacation/holiday

A 2010 research published in the Journal of Applied Research in Quality of living has proved that planning or anticipating a holiday and not the actual holiday gives you the positive frame of mind you need. Even if you’re planning months in advance, just a minute of thinking of a vacation gets you feeling happy about life. The study’s lead author Jeroen Nawijn in an interview with NY times said “The practical lesson for an individual is that you derive most of your happiness from anticipating the holiday trip”

And yes, do take a vacation in the year because its more beneficial for you than you can imagine. These insights on ” Why leaders and entrepreneurs must take a break “by Eugene Goh will convince you for sure !

Conclusion:

A productive leader is a performing leader !! Make these tips a part of your daily routine to be high on productivity and maximise your day.