Nine tips for staying productive as a busy professional

DeLores Pressley, Motivational Speaker and Personal Power Expert

Busy professionals are bombarded on all sides these days to stay productive.  They are often called upon to do more with less resources and people. They need help.

Here are nine tips that you can use in your work and life as a busy professional:

1. Create daily reminders of your goals

Make sure that your goals are in plain view where you can see them everyday so you don’t lose track of how to best use your time.

This tip assumes that you have set goals for your professional life. Your goals are your guide. Without them you are likely to wander aimlessly.

Set your goals and then create a system where you are reminded daily of them. Whether you use a day planner, a dry erase board or something else, keep your goals in plain view. This keeps you focused. Successful professionals are focused on their goals.

2.  Create the schedule that works for you, not others

A schedule that is comfortable for you is more likely to help you meet your goals then one that is forced upon you by others or designed to please everyone but you.

Successful professionals also create schedules for themselves. The key to this process is to create a schedule that works for you. That has your time frames, needs and working style in mind. If you are trying to work on the schedule of someone, you will push back and ultimately cause more frustration than good.

3.  Realize that you always have choices

Make choices about how you spend your time and don’t be at the mercy of obligations that you cannot fulfill. Empower yourself by creating a schedule that manages your time as best as possible.

Having choices is the life of a busy professional is often the glue that keeps everything together and running smoothly. Realizing that you have a choice is empowering. It drives you forward rather than holding you back. Your schedule is quite frankly, your choice. Make wise choices and do not be obligated to things you cannot fulfill.

4.  Delegate responsibility

Don’t be a hero and try to do everything yourself. Take the burden off yourself by also entrusting work to others.

The true professional realizes that he or she cannot do everything that comes across their desk. We all have the same 24 hours in each day.  Delegation is the means by which we can stretch that 24 hours and get more done.

Delegation takes trust. Do you trust your co-workers? You must or you will forever be at odds with trying to get everything done by yourself.

5. Acquire necessary equipment

Hours can be wasted dealing with computers, printers and fax machines that don’t work. Don’t waste time with broken tools.

I have seen too many professionals struggle to get their work done with all the wrong equipment or with tools that are outdated and broken. This situation can be the biggest time waster for people in business. It takes away good energy that could be well spent.

Technology can be a beautiful thing if you stay ahead of the game and current with the needed tools to accomplish your goals. Save yourself the hassle and frustration of trying to work with equipment that is outdated or broken.

6.  Take care of yourself

Professionals who look haggard or tired tend to have more responsibilities heaped on them because your physical condition and dress sends the message that you permit that.

Business can be taxing both physically and emotionally. The professional can only draw from the well so many times before he or she gets haggard and weary. Burn out is often the main reason that people in business leave and go somewhere else or quit altogether.

Take care of yourself. Get proper sleep. Eat a healthy diet.  You will be thankful you did when the next big project hits your desk.

7. Commit yourself to exercise at least three times a week

Keeping yourself in shape will help you perform efficiently in all areas of your life.

Along with proper amounts of sleep and a healthy diet, the empowered professional commits to regular exercise. Exercise builds up our body’s defenses and reduces stress. It calms our minds and allows us to focus.

Walking, jogging, bicycling or joining a gym are good ways to get the necessary exercise needed to work hard and be successful as a professional.

8.  Don’t be addicted to perfection

Nobody is perfect so don’t waste valuable time trying to make things perfect. Know when to stop at “good enough.”

It’s easy to say nobody is perfect; it is often hard to live like we mean it. Perfectionism can lead to frustration, anger and disillusionment — all things that can take away from our performance as busy professionals. Trying to be perfect with everything you do and say in business is just simply impossible.

Release the need to be perfect and learn to stop at “good enough.” You and your team will be happier.

9.  Drop unnecessary pretense

It takes a lot of energy to pretend to be someone that you are not. Stop pretending to be a certain way to please others.

Pretentious people are fake and no one likes a fake. Your co-workers want someone who is real and approachable, not putting on pretense and trying to please.  This is another huge time waster for too many professionals.

Do not spend your energy on something that will never happen. You cannot pretend to be a certain way if that is not the true you. It just doesn’t work.

The life and work of a busy professional can sometimes be overwhelming. Use these tips to guard against that overwhelm and keep you on a productive and happy path.

DeLores Pressley, Motivational Speaker and Personal Power Expert, is one of the most respected and sought-after experts on success, motivation, confidence and personal power. She is an international keynote speaker, author, life coach and the Founder of the Born Successful Institute and DeLores Pressley Worldwide. She helps individuals utilize personal power, increase confidence and live a life of significance. Her story has been touted in The Washington Post, Black Enterprise, First for Women, Essence, New York Daily News, Ebony and Marie Claire. She is a frequent media guest and has been interviewed on every major network: (ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX) including America’s top rated shows; OPRAH and Entertainment Tonight.

She is the author of Oh Yes You Can, Clean Out the Closet of Your Life and Believe in the Power of You. To book her as a speaker or coach, contact her office at 330.649.9809 or via email at [email protected] or visit her website at