Every leader wants to be productive—but how? That’s a hard question to answer because, in truth, there is no answer. Productivity looks different for different people, and the only way forward is to find a productivity approach that works for you.

With that said, I’ve got six productivity strategies that I’ve absorbed from some of the great leaders I’ve worked with. Not all of them will work for you, necessarily, but I bet some of them will. So here we go:

What Makes a Productive Leader?

  1. Spend some time each evening to plan for the next day. Take some time before you leave the office to write out the next morning’s to-do list, double check for any appointments on your calendar, lay out any paperwork you may need first-thing, organize your desk, and get things set for the coming day. Arrive at work ready to just go.
  2. Think in terms of goals, not to-do lists. Do you have a lengthy, complicated to-do list that’s stressing you out? Scrap it, and instead write down just one or two broad goals for your day. Let those goals, not the nitty-gritty stuff, be your guide.
  3. Don’t be afraid to quit. Leaders and entrepreneurs generally don’t like throwing in the towel—but sometimes that’s just the best thing to do. If you have a project that’s going nowhere, or is obviously a failure, can it and move on to something more valuable.
  4. Protect your time. I say this all the time, but I really do think it’s important to actually schedule—and maintain—a couple of hours each day where your door is closed, your phone is off, and your email is out of sight… some time that’s just for you to get work done.
  5. Take advantage of the Not-To-Do list. Try writing down the things you don’t have to think about over the course of your day—the long-term projects that you’re alright to just forget about for a day. Give yourself permission to not get caught up in them.
  6. Factor in some active time. If you don’t have some time scheduled each day for a workout—or at least for a walk—then you can expect to grow stagnant and to lose energy. Give yourself a little time to recharge each day!

Try some of these practices today—and see if they give your productivity a boost.