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4 Strategies Top Leaders Use to Be Productive

As a leader, you’re responsible for setting the tone when it comes to your team’s productivity. 

But in a culture where many of us confuse busyness for productivity, it can be difficult to find the daily rhythms and structures that help you and your team accomplish your most important tasks. 

In this episode of One Next Step, I have a conversation with BELAY’s Vice President of Marketing Amy Appleton about four strategies leaders can use to be more productive with their time, physical space, meetings and delegation.

She’ll share practical tips for becoming a better delegator, setting up a physical space that’s conducive to productivity, structuring meetings for maximum effectiveness, and more.


Here are some takeaways we shared:


1. Think about your tasks as rocks, pebbles and sand.

Prioritize what’s most important to you, find space for secondary tasks, and then fill in empty spaces with everything else.

The four strategies of productivity come in handy here. To start, you’ll want to structure your ideal work week. Develop daily rhythms, delegate, and have effective and productive remote or hybrid meetings.

There isn’t an infinite amount of time in every single day. When you think of the 24 hours as a jar, you find things to fill that jar every day. You’ll start with the big rocks — this could include things such as exercise, family, friends, eating, and sleeping.

The second most important things are your pebbles. These are the things that need to be done, so you find time to squeeze them in. (Hint: Someone else could probably do these for you.)

Lastly, the sand is for things that can be filled in. This could be having open time for other particular tasks.

2. The greatest gift you can give your employees is trust.

If you’re struggling to delegate, start with something small and check in throughout the process. This will help you build trust with your team to delegate bigger responsibilities in the future.

Don’t give the most important thing in the world to start. For example, if you’re a surgeon you might say, “Hand me the scalpel” as opposed to, “Can you cut over here?”

The greatest gift you can give someone else is trusting them to do something important to you. 

If you go back and think of any time in your career when people who were your boss – or maybe a few levels above your boss – asked you to do something and you knew it was important, it probably felt good because you knew that they were trusting you to do something important. 

It’s actually a compliment and a testament to the trust placed in you.

3. Being busy is not the same as being productive.

Productivity is not about completing a large number of tasks; it’s about accomplishing the most important goals.

The challenge for anyone working is to make sure that you’re doing the right things in your time. Any of us can fill an entire day with tasks so you’ve done a lot by the end of the day. 

But the real question is: Did you do the things that will move whatever it is that you’re working on forward?


This episode’s resource is BELAY’s eBook, Lead Anyone From Anywhere — a guide for hybrid leaders who want to equip a hybrid workforce to be just as effective as a brick-and-mortar organization.