CIO Success: High Productivity

Michael Beck, Executive Coach & Business Strategist | 11/12/2012 | 31 comments

Michael Beck
CIOs, like all executives, live in a fast-paced world and need to be highly productive.

Being highly productive serves three important purposes. The first, most obvious, is that it enables us to get our work done. No small task given the pace of business and the extra load budgetary constraints impose. The second important benefit is that by completing our work in a highly productive manner, it controls stress. Consistently high feelings of stress cause health problems, reduce creativity, and impair our ability to communicate effectively.

But the third benefit of being highly productive is often overlooked. It's the benefit of setting an example for the rest of our team. Consequently, how we attain high productivity is as important as the productivity itself. Sacrificing one's personal life, health, and family isn't the most admirable example to set. The key, therefore, is to become highly productive in a way that sets an example you'd like to see duplicated by your team.

There have been scores of books written and courses taught about time management, prioritization, list making, and calendar management, and most of them make sense except for one thing -- I don't know anyone who's achieved sustained productivity using these methods.

Each of those techniques can be useful, but unless another critical factor is addressed, all the prioritization and list making in the world won't help. And that issue is energy management. The energy I'm referring to has four components to it -- physical, emotional, mental, and inspirational.

Let me briefly discuss each energy reserve and then offer some strategies to help keep them buoyed up.

  • Our physical energy affects our drive and our self-discipline. If you've ever had a "mid-afternoon crash," then you've experienced the impact a low physical reserve can have on productivity.

  • Our emotional energy impacts our ability to deal with stress, to communicate well, to think clearly, and to interact with others effectively. Often, we become short with people when we're feeling stressed or tense.

  • Our mental energy affects our ability to think clearly, to concentrate and focus, to solve problems, and to be creative. Clearly, a low mental reserve hampers productivity.

  • Our inspirational energy is the fuel that motivates and inspires us. In the absence of motivation and inspiration, we end up just going through the motions.

Here are a few steps you can take to recharge your reserves:

Take breaks throughout the day. Take a 15- to 30-minute break every 2 to 2.5 hours to recharge and rejuvenate. Don't just sit at your desk. Take a real break -- get up, go for a walk, get something to eat, listen to music, get out of the building, etc.

Eat "strategically." Eat about five times a day, and make sure to balance protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Stay away from sugars and lots of starches if you don't want a "carb crash" later.

Maintain your attitude. Eliminate negative messages and people, and introducing positive messages and people into your life. If you don't decide what goes into your head, someone else will.

Get restful sleep. Avoid caffeine late in the day and avoid eating a big meal late in the evening.

Don't be fooled by the simplicity of these strategies. For years they've allowed me to accomplish about 50 percent more than most people do. Managing your energy reserves combined with prioritization of tasks will make you a productivity superstar.

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Syerita Turner   CIO Success: High Productivity   11/27/2012 8:26:22 AM
Re: Easier Said Than Done?
Productivity is always high on the priority list for any company from its employees. I believe that this article was right on the money with how to get the most out of your day by really taking time out to get away from the daily grind and focus more on something else for just a few minutes. It really makes a difference as well as lessens the stress level. I take breaks at work and make myself leave my desk for lunch each and everyday. It really makes me more of a productive person because when I come back to my task I have a fresh mind and am able to get the best work done more efficiently.
batye   CIO Success: High Productivity   11/21/2012 5:05:11 PM
Re: Easier Said Than Done?
thank you :)
Michael Beck   CIO Success: High Productivity   11/21/2012 4:41:52 PM
Re: Easier Said Than Done?
@batye - Yes, I agree.  Negative people focus on the obstacles, while positive people focus on solutions.
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batye   CIO Success: High Productivity   11/21/2012 4:37:28 PM
Re: Easier Said Than Done?
thank you, I trust it more like karma way if you surround yourself with positive people/employees with posive drive- you have better chances for your Co. to grow and prosper in any economical envoironment... but negative people could bring any size Co. big or small - down.
Michael Beck   CIO Success: High Productivity   11/21/2012 4:29:37 PM
Re: Easier Said Than Done?
@batye - Being around negativity definitely harms our attitude and our ability to prevail.  Thanks for your comment.
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batye   CIO Success: High Productivity   11/21/2012 12:21:00 PM
Re: Easier Said Than Done?
could not agree more, I try to stay far and away from negative people, as they could bring everything down...
Michael Beck   CIO Success: High Productivity   11/14/2012 11:46:24 PM
Re: Easier Said Than Done?
@Broadway - I agree.  Great observations.  My expereince is that negative people are a huge energy drain.  They tend to suck the life right out of us.
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Broadway   CIO Success: High Productivity   11/14/2012 10:05:33 PM
Re: Easier Said Than Done?
@Michael, I think the trick in some environments is realizing that being negative is not the norm, or good. Often, employees do not realize how unproductive and even destructive negative work environments are until they experience a positive one.
Michael Beck   CIO Success: High Productivity   11/14/2012 2:28:37 PM
Re: productivity without sacrifice
Susan, that's a great quesiton about job interviews.  The reality is that a person who expects long hours feels they're being reasonable.  My thought is that the best way the know is to ask to speak to some of the people that report to the leader about the culture and what life is like at the company.
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Michael Beck   CIO Success: High Productivity   11/14/2012 2:24:13 PM
Re: Easier Said Than Done?
Susan, that's FANTASTIC!  Keep me posted.
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