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Productivity advice from some of the business world’s most successful people

Don’t let productivity fall down the Coronavirus hole


Let’s face it, some days we just feel more alive than others. Some days you can fly through presentations, preparations and check off line after line of that to-do list. And some days, even logging into your computer seems like a task. Then add to that the fact that most of us are working from home right now and with the million and one distractions that brings, it’s pretty easy to take your eye off the ball.

So, if you are watching more TV than line sheets right now, here is some advice on how to get back on track, from some of the business world’s greatest minds.


Steve Jobs liked streamlining

There’s a famous tale in the business world about Steve Jobs’ advice to the then newly appointed Nike CEO Mike Parker. Parker asked Jobs for some advice on what to do with the Nike brand when Jobs told him: “Nike makes some of the best products in the world but you also make a lot of crap. Just get rid of the crap and focus on the good stuff.” Solid, simple advice that makes a whole lot of sense – you can’t do everything so just focus on what you can do right now and do it well.     


Mark Zuckerberg keeps it simple

Not surprisingly, the man who wears the same uniform of grey hoody and t-shirt every day, distills the virtues of keeping things simple. Speaking on this he says: “I really want to clear my life so that I have as few decisions as possible about anything except best to serve this community.”

Now, while we aren’t saying you should clear out your closet and adopt a Zuckerberg look, what he’s essential saying is sound business advice. When it comes to work, keep things simple and minimize any decision making. Before you leave work, make a list of things to do for the next day to avoid any stalling and increase productivity immediately.


John D. Rockefeller liked a break

Well, if you won’t take advice from someone who is believed to be the richest man of all time, who will you listen to. In his book, Titan: The life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr, author Ron Chernow let us all into Rockefeller’s working ways: “He worked at a more leisurely pace than many other executives, napping daily after lunch and often dozing in a lounge chair after dinner. He was also quoted as saying that we could all do far more if we avoided hustling and go about business life at an even pace.”

So while we are not suggesting falling asleep at your desk post-lunch, just taking a break to clear your head or just sitting for a moment to collect your thoughts can do the world of good for energy levels and those creative juices.


Bill Gates believes in the power of three

Not surprisingly, Bill Gates claims the most effective way to multitask is all down to technology. In a 2006 interview, Gates revealed how he works across a trio of displays to keep up with the sheer amount of tasks coming his way. He said: “I keep my Outlook inbox open on the screen to the left so that I can see my new messages as they come in. I usually have the message or document that I’m currently reading or writing in the centre screen and the screen on the right is where I have room to open up a browser or look at a document someone has sent me via email.”

So there you have it. Sounds simple doesn’t it really. Keep the most important items in front of you and your supporting work surrounding it. Guess that’s why Gates is where he is in life.