I had the privilege of sitting down for lunch with Sir Lindsay Hoyle last week, and we ended up talking about productivity. He splits his time between Chorley in Lancashire and London due to his role as Speaker of the House in the UK Parliament, and he still meets his commitments to his constituents of Chorley. It takes two teams of people to do this, which makes me even prouder to have had so many people go through my “Scheduling like a Superstar” online course.
I always listen intently in these meetings because I know that when someone’s time is divided across a number of priorities, giving them all the attention they deserve can be tough. So how does someone with arguably one of the most important roles in British politics do it? Well, here’s what I discovered.
Be Clear On Your Priorities
The first step to being productive is understanding your priorities. What are your top priorities? For Sir Lindsay Hoyle, his top priority is divided between Chorley and London. He has committed to Chorley and serving his constituents, but he has committed to London and the role of Speaker of the House. When you have two demanding priorities such as this, you need to be able to say no if that task doesn’t fit in with your identified priorities. Any distraction means that those who Sir Lindsay serves would miss out. If you can understand your top priority, you can start to understand how to schedule your time.
Once you know your top priorities, you can start to block out time in your schedule for each priority. This will help you stay on track and make sure that you are devoting enough time to each priority. For Sir Lindsay Hoyle, he blocks out time in his schedule for Chorley (to be in Chorley) and to still have a presence in London. He has a team set up in each location that helps him with his commitments. You might not need two teams at this stage, but being able to block out hours or days of time in certain locations means that you can multi-task and organise your meetings appropriately.
Delegate and Automate
The third tip is to delegate and automate where possible. You cannot do everything yourself, so delegate where possible. This will free up your time so that you can focus on your top priorities. For Sir Lindsay Hoyle, he delegates to his team in Chorley and London, but he also has systems in place for people to contact him based on their needs. This helps him with his commitments so that he can focus on being productive.
You can also automate where possible. There is a load of software available to help you with everything from calendars to emails, and even changing time-zones while traveling. The more that can happen without your involvement, the easier it becomes to stay on top of your tasks so that you can focus on your priorities.
These four tips, can help you be as productive as the Speaker of the House. Understand your priorities, block out time in your schedule, delegate where possible, and automate where possible.
Still stuck, my “Scheduling like a Superstar” Course could be exactly what you need.