Do You Want to Be More Productive? Here's How Google Executives Structure Their Schedules | Entrepreneur - Latest Global News

Do You Want to Be More Productive? Here’s How Google Executives Structure Their Schedules | Entrepreneur

When a Google manager feels unproductive, they have a secret weapon: they can ask the company’s in-house productivity expert for help.

Her name is Laura Mae Martin. She started in sales at Google and was so efficient there that she eventually moved to the CEO’s office, where she coaches senior executives on how to manage their time. She starts by asking leaders to identify their top three priorities—and then puts them into action.

“When I ask a leader I coach what their three priorities are,” Martin writes in her new book: Operating time“I pull out her printed calendar from the last few weeks. I give them a highlighter and ask them to highlight every meeting, task, or piece of work time that relates to these three priorities. It quickly becomes clear whether there is time or not. “The spending corresponds to the priorities.”

If your days often feel out of control or you find yourself adding more items than you check off your to-do list, you might also want to do an exercise like this.

And that is just the beginning.

I spoke with Martin for my Problem Solvers podcast where we talked about how to identify your priorities, how to say “no” to things that don’t fit, and how to create a “list funnel” to to stay up to date.

You can listen to our conversation in the player above. Or read below where I share five quick tips from her book Operating time I found that particularly eye-opening.

1. How to clean up your to-do list

If your to-do list has become too large, Martin recommends making a literal list everything You believe you can or should do it. Then she writes:

I identify about a third of the things on the lowest priority list. These are usually the things that I have had to do for a while and that I keep doing over and over again without completing them from one list to the next. Then I ask myself for each of these points in the lower third:

What would be the worst thing that would happen if I never did this? Is there another way to get this done without me having to do it? Is there a way for me to do this halfway and then move on?

These questions can get you thinking about how to delegate, how to streamline your work, and how to cut corners where possible.

These questions, she says, will help you decide which tasks are worth handing off to someone else, simplifying, or perhaps even skipping altogether.

2. How to schedule urgent tasks

Here’s a common problem: your day is packed with wall-to-wall meetings, and then something urgent comes along. When should you take care of this urgent matter? You have two options: you can either cancel one of your meetings or work late into the night.

There’s a better way: put an “urgent time block” on your calendar every day. Martin explains how this works for Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian:

He sets it at the same time every day. This way, if things are urgent, there will always be time to get them done without affecting the rest of his calendar. Plus, his team knows that this block of time is the same every day, so anyone who needs to speak to them urgently can plan their time accordingly. If nothing urgent is happening, he uses this as his work time or takes the opportunity to read his emails. This is similar to the office hours of college professors. It’s always available and always at the same time, but if no one comes to chat, it becomes working time.

Martin says another Google executive does this – but with one notable difference. The managing director not Tell your team when the urgent blockage occurs. This way she can use the time for herself when no one needs her.

3. How to focus on bigger things

If you have something important to do, mark the time to do it on your calendar. But sometimes, Martin writes, you should block an entire day for nothing in particular:

Don’t underestimate the value of an occasional completely unplanned day. If you have the opportunity to fit a meeting-free day into your schedule, take advantage of it! A day with no meetings or commitments is so different than a day with even a thirty-minute meeting at 2 p.m. For some reason, having even a single commitment that’s worth more than thirty minutes feels awkward because your entire day still has to flow around it.

This, Martin writes, makes you feel like you have “full control over what you need to do.” And when you want it and gets you back in touch with your natural productivity patterns.”

4. How to tackle large projects

Do you have a large project that can’t be completed in one sitting? It’s often difficult to start such projects because they seem so daunting – and it’s even more difficult to continue working on them day after day.

Try this, Martin writes: Stop in the middle.

When you’re working on a larger, ongoing task that can’t be completed in one sitting, it usually feels right to find a natural stopping point – like the end of an email or the end of a project section. At this point, step back and let it rest until the next time you work on it and start at the beginning of a new section. Ironically, it does another starting point that your brain must overcome. It’s like starting a big task all over again. Alternatively, you can also stop in the center When you notice something, it makes it easier for you to refocus on what you were doing and start over because you already knew what you were going to do next.

Martin says she did that with her book. Instead of finishing a day’s work at the end of a chapter, it stopped at the end of a chapter center of a chapter – which made it easier to continue reading the next day. “When working on large, multi-step projects,” she advises, “try to stop at a point where your brain already knows what to do next.”

5. How to make your meetings more efficient

Meetings can drag on – but they don’t have to! Martin suggests adopting shorter meeting times, such as 15-minute check-ins, which forces everyone to be more concise and focused. “Scarcity breeds innovation,” she writes.

She cites Google’s “Lightening Talks” as an example:

One of my favorite things to do on Google is Lightning talksHere, presenters have one slide and three minutes to teach the audience something, gain support for their idea, practice a sales pitch, or give an update on a project. The presentations are automatically timed so that after three minutes the next slide appears and you are “exited” from the stage. The audience is instructed to clap loudly when they see the next slide so the presenters know it’s time for them.

It’s amazing how much communication gets done when the presenter knows in advance that they only have three minutes to make something happen. They “strip” the fat from their presentations; They make your slide visually stimulating and compact and contain only the most important elements. They have a chance to make a difference and they make the most of it. Not to mention, the audience is highly engaged because the information is concise and they are not asked to listen to anything extraneous.

Now everyone is engaged, everyone is moving forward quickly, and a lot is being accomplished in a short amount of time – something that can’t be said about most meetings!

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