I’ve worked with CEOs who bemoan the fact that they are “forced” to work 60+ hour work weeks.

Unless you WANT to spend that much of your time working, and to forsake having any kind of family or personal life, you shouldn’t be doing it.

“But there just IS that much to do!” my client Ron, the CEO of a food product company, protested.

What Ron needed were some ideas to squeeze 12 hours of work into 8 or fewer.

Over the years, I have helped many business leaders implement strategies for getting things done in less time. Here are a six of my favorites:

(1) Just say NO. It seems like I’m oversimplifying, but as Warren Buffett says, “The difference between a successful person and a REALLY successful person, is the really successful person says NO to almost everything.”

(2) Focus on ONE thing at a time. Doing one thing at a time allows you to get things done faster because you’re able to focus and work at a deeper level. You’re also not wasting time “task switching”.

(3) Schedule it. Usually, what gets scheduled, gets done.  If there’s a pile on your desk, schedule time to tackle and don’t allow anything to interrupt it.  Arrange your day in “Power Blocks.” Have a time for responding to emails, a time to return phone calls and blocks of time in which you’re focused on your most important projects.

(4) Six Most Important. In the early 1900s, Ivy Lee taught industrialist Charles Schwab how to get things done.  He told Schwab to make a daily list of his 6 most important projects and prioritize them. Then, he told him, start number 1 and do not touch number 2 until you’ve taken number 1 as far as it can go.  The Lee Method still works today. Starting with the most important when your energy is highest makes sense. Trying to do a little on all of them sounds like a good idea, but it usually doesn’t work.

(5) Shorten deadlines. Parkinson’s Law says, “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion,” which means you can usually get things done in less time simply by allotting less time to complete them.

(6) Under-promise and over-deliver. Disappointing someone upfront by telling them you can’t get to something until the end of next week and then having it by Monday works better than promising it to them this week and disappointing them by not delivering it until Monday.  Lighten your workload by under-promising.

What are your favorite ways to work faster? Let me know. Or ask me for more, so you can keep REACHING