Points of View
Boosting Productivity: Getting the Most out of Your Day
Members of the Vistage community are creative, industrious go-getters who have multiple demands on their time. What are their daily tactics for time management, project completion and self-care? We spoke with Vistage member Jesse Mecham in Utah and Master Chair Tom Cuthbert in Texas to gain insight into their productivity habits.
Jesse Mecham is the founder and CEO of You Need a Budget, which has a 100% remote workforce and was ranked #4 in Best Small & Medium Workplaces of 2019 in Fortune’s Top Places to Work. He is a 2019 Vistage Impact Award winner.
Tom Cuthbert is a three-time winner of the Chair Excellence Award and facilitates six groups with 100 CEOs and business leaders in San Antonio. He has built, bought and sold multiple companies across several industries; Google acquired his most recent company, Adometry.
When did delegating a job result in a significant boost in time?
Mecham: The key activity I delegated (and I wished I had done it years earlier) was to have someone take over my email inbox. Email is a time suck, and if you’re running a decently large organization, you shouldn’t be in your inbox.
Cuthbert: My friend Jack Daly says each of us can only do three things well. My three things are plan, facilitate and coach. I am constantly asking myself, “What am I doing that someone else could or should be doing?” I have a part-time admin, and we have built specific processes for the recurring tasks that improve my productivity.
Do you have any tips for being productive?
Mecham: I time-block “deep work” in my calendar six weeks in advance so that I get at least two hours per day of uninterrupted, unscheduled time. Every day, I tell Siri to set a timer for 25 minutes so that I can complete concentrated reading. Other than that, I like to leave my to-do list front and center. When those tasks are done, I’m done.
Cuthbert: Spend time planning and building processes that automate the routine parts of your work life. Develop a schedule that builds on behavior drivers to keep you focused. Don’t get frustrated when things fall apart, because they will! Trajectory is more important than achievement. Appreciate the progress and begin again.
What do you do to take a break?
Mecham: I work from my home office out of a detached garage, so if I’m ever feeling foggy or just need to clear my mind, I’ll go into my wood shop and dink around for 30 to 40 minutes. It’s amazingly re-energizing to do something analog and with my hands.
Cuthbert: Exercise, sleep and recovery are keys to productivity. I track my sleep using the Auto Sleep app on my Apple Watch and plan to get eight hours a night. I take frequent breaks during the day and often conduct “walking” one-to-ones with CEOs. I rarely have lunch meetings, and instead use that time to refresh myself by walking, reading or listening to music.