How to Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours
“No matter what your career aspirations are,” writes Robert Pozen in Extreme Productivity, “you should begin by thinking carefully about why you are engaging in any activity and what you can expect to get out of it.”
If you’re unaware, Bob Pozen is a Harvard Business School lecturer, prolific author, financial industry heavyweight — tackles more in a month than you manage in a year (or something like that). He is the productivity guru – efficiently!
A common interview question is “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” Very few seem to know answer of the same. Pozen advocates a measured, probabilistic approach, establishing long-, medium-, and short-term goals.
“Priorities are the yearly goals that I’m most interested in achieving,” he says, “then they become operationalized through weekly goals.” How to decide on those priorities–and how to implement them–requires further thought.
Supply & Demand:
The wisdom of “find your passion” only gets at half of the equation, Pozen says. While vitally important for personal happiness, the questions of “What am I best at?” and “What do I like most to do?” only address the supply side, he says. The trick, then, is seeing what skills will be needed in your organization and your industry and developing them in yourself, Pozen says.
To level up your skills, you want to always be looking for on-the-job training, whether structured or not and working towards problem solving and demand.
Minimize your Routine, Maximize your Time
Everyone–including President Obama–is better off with a uniform of sorts. Pozen wears the same thing every day. “You need to get through your routine as fast as possible,” he says, so that you can invest your energy in projects that further your yearly ambitions–whether you wear dark or light socks is probably of lesser consequence, and making even the smallest of choices day after day drains your decision-making ability. It’s the same reason he eats Cheerios and bananas for breakfast and a sandwich and a diet soda for lunch each day–your decision-making energy needs to be wisely invested.
To calibrate daily activities to yearly goals, Pozen recommends a two-sided schedule. At the end of your day, plot out your time spent in two columns. List each activity on the left and describe its purpose on the right. If the right side doesn’t pursue your priorities–cultivating transferable skills, expanding your contacts, the like–then you have a mismatch between what you want to do (and who you want to be) and what you’re actually doing.
Your daily schedule needs to be connected to your yearly objectives; if not, you’re just getting through the day. “If you want an active schedule,” he says, “you have to husband your time so you can act on the things that are important.”
Entire article can be found at FastCompany’s page: Bob Pozen, Master of Extreme Productivity Shares His 3 Most Effective Career Tips. I highly recommend that you get his book: Extreme Productivity.