Robert Pozen knows a little something about thriving at the top — he’s the former chairman of MFS Investment Management, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School, and the author of the book Extreme Productivity. I recently asked him about how demands on executives — and CEOs in particular — have changed over the years, and how today’s leaders can best navigate their busy days. An edited version of our conversation is below.
What are the most pressing productivity issues executives are facing today, and how can they tackle them?
For executives who aren’t part of the C-suite, I think the two most pressing issues are meetings and email. They consume a ridiculous amount of people’s time, and a lot of it isn’t well spent. But they’re both solvable problems.
On email, my suggestions are pretty simple. First, don’t look at it every minute; look at it every hour or two. Second, try to discipline yourself to read only the subject matter in order to discard 50% to 80% of your emails right away. We all get so much spam. Third, practice what I call “OHIO” — Only Handle It Once, immediately deciding what to do with each email. Concentrate on the emails that are important and answer them right away. And don’t put them into some sort of storage system, because by the time you’re ready to finally tackle them, you’ll spend another half an hour trying to find them…
Read the full interview at HBR Blog Network…
By James Grundvig
‘Death by PowerPoint’ has been an old adage batted about by managers who have seen too many flat presentations jammed with too much information, while falling short on clarity of theme or message. Today, the same lament can be said about email.
‘Death by Email’ describes the ailment of what professionals are losing today: Time and productivity.
Read the rest at the Huffington Post
By Kelly Johnson.
Of all the intriguing details Michael Lewis revealed in his Vanity Fair profile of President Obama this month, the bit about the suits sticks with me. The president wears either blue or gray. With so many high-octane decisions to make each day, why waste even a moment lingering at the closet (or the tie rack or the sock drawer)?
Read the rest at WashingtonPost.com
This morning, I appeared on Morning Joe to discuss Extreme Productivity. Check out the video!
By Brian Moore.
At first blush, Robert C. Pozen doesn’t seem like an extreme kind of guy.
He doesn’t BASE jump, BMX bike or bodyboard.
Instead, he has simultaneously taught a full load at Harvard Business School and served as executive chairman at MFS Investment Management in Boston, written six books and hundreds of articles and raised two children with his wife of more than forty years.
Read the rest at nypost.com
IT’S 5 p.m. at the office. Working fast, you’ve finished your tasks for the day and want to go home. But none of your colleagues have left yet, so you stay another hour or two, surfing the Web and reading your e-mails again, so you don’t come off as a slacker.
It’s an unfortunate reality that efficiency often goes unrewarded in the workplace. I had that feeling a lot when I was a partner in a Washington law firm. Because of my expertise, I could often answer a client’s questions quickly, saving both of us time. But because my firm billed by the hour, as most law firms do, my efficiency worked against me.
Read the rest at nytimes.com
Internal meetings are the bane of corporate life. There are too many meetings, they take too long, and they get too little accomplished.
Why? Because most meetings are really not necessary. Before you call a meeting, think about whether you can accomplish your goals through email or a quick phone call. You rarely need to call a meeting if you’re just planning on sharing information or issuing action instructions. By contrast, meetings may be needed to debate issues or to develop new approaches.
Read the rest at blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy