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The Number One Secret to Productivity - Time To Reflect And Learn

As life seems to be getting busier, are you finding yourself running faster and faster just to keep up?


The ability to drive business execution at a rapid pace is a vital ingredient to the path of success, but if you are not careful, you can become so stuck in “busy-mode”, that you spend all of your time “doing” and not enough time “thinking, reflecting and learning”.  

To be more effective and productive in business, sometimes you have to slow down to get faster. Here are some tips to help you boost productivity (and to create more reflective time):

Speak Slowly, and Pause Often

When speaking with your team, be comfortable with silences, and take the time to collect your thoughts in-between sentences. Frequently, the most interesting part of your speech will come after the pause. Watch great orators and notice how slowly they speak, and how they take the time to pause.

Build In Quiet Time

Filling up your calendar with back to back appointments, with barely enough time to squeeze in a quick phone call or email in-between each meeting is not conducive to quality thinking. Force yourself to build in a few minutes every hour to get away from people and away from your communication devices to go somewhere quiet and ponder these five questions:

  • What went well in my last appointment? 
  • What did I learn? 
  • What could I have done better? 
  • How is my emotional state right now? 
  • What emotional state do I need to bring into my next meeting?

Don’t Get Bogged Down With Detail

Strategic thinking means getting clear on “what” needs to be done. Encourage your people to figure out the “how”. Surround yourself with great people who can be relied upon to do what they say they will do, and are willing to be held accountable for results. Give them the tools and training they need to do their job, give them clear goals and standards, and get out of their way. If you insist on getting involved in every detail, you will not have time to step back, reflect, and think strategically.

Go to Conferences

Go to the lectures. Learn from the thought leaders. Mingle with other people from your industry after hours and learn from them too. Take an extra day to drive the long road home so that you have time to ponder what you have learned.

One Minute of Silence

To be honest, I have not tried this practice yet – but it sounds like a great tip that I want to try: Begin all meetings with 1 minute of silence so all participants can gather their thoughts, put away their devices, and be fully present in the room before you start.

Take Proper Vacations

It can take one full week of being fully unplugged (no email / no phone calls) to even begin to feel like your batteries are being recharged. Business leaders need time out. No one can keep their pedal to the metal forever; eventually your mental and physical health starts to break down.

Book some meaningful time out. Slow down. Relax. (Note to myself - follow my own advice here and book a holiday now). How will you make more time for reflection in your life?

It's for reasons like this that we, at RESULTS.com have developed a software that allows business leaders and managers to run their businesses without getting inundated in the minutia.

One area of business we often hear about being non-productive are meetings. Download our Meetings eBook to learn how meetings can become the most productive part of your business. 



Stephen Lynch

Head of Consulting & Strategy 



Stephen Lynch

Author of the award winning business book Business Execution for RESULTS & President of RESULTS.com, Lynch is an internationally known Strategy Consultant and a contributing writer for The Economist magazine.

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