Boyden's Nick Robeson shares his top 5 tips for achieving high-performance and increasing productivity.

By Nick Robeson
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1. Start by gaining energy

High-performance productivity is fuelled by positive energy. So make sure some form of exercise is in your weekly routine. Doesn’t need to be every day but certainly every other for any genuine effect.

For me, this is playing rugby and running. Running specifically allows me to clear my head of all the noise and interference that this world throws at us. I normally come out of a run with a plan or a new idea.

The key is then to write it down. Energy fuel comes in many forms; food, psychological and physical. If your energy and ideas come from reading then create the space for this as it will give you the mental energy you need. Warren Buffet still swears by it reading up to 500 pages a day. 

Energy building activities will ensure that you're priming for your best day.

2. Establish a routine

I rise at about 6 am every day, regardless of how late I have worked the day before.

I listen to BBC World Service as it’s the only way to get away from the endless Brexit news, have breakfast with my boys and always make sure there is fresh coffee for my wife. If I can get in a short run, I will but that depends a lot on what’s first up in town.

These activities set me up for the day; they are the foundations of a successful day. My kids almost always cheer me up, coffee and food essential and it means I can focus on the tasks ahead of me.

Setting a routine ensures that I don’t miss out any activities that positively influence my mood and give me a boost. It’s not always possible but I would say I get it right about 80% of the time.

3. Start with challenging tasks first

The most positive way to start my day is to tackle anything significant straight off the bat. I’ve always found that if you put tricky conversations off, concentrating on other tasks is made near impossible.

I am creating a coaching culture in the business where we learn from each other. We are not in competition with each other but are collectively deeply competitive. There is a lot to be said about having the conversation early but it has to be constructive. Radical candour. Our focus is based more around the concept of Win, Learn, Change which I can expand on another day but it is fairly self-explanatory. Because we engage at the most senior levels in business day in day out a simple policy of honesty, openness and integrity are all the more critical for us to stay productive.

4. Learn to say no

The biggest high-performance productivity drain of all time is superfluous meetings, calls and emails. 

At Boyden, we avoid having meetings for meeting's sake and encourage our employees to push back on meetings that over-run or don’t have a clear set agenda. Saying ‘no’ is essential to establish boundaries with your time, and shows respect to other resources too. If you can delegate, do it. Delegation of tasks that are better accomplished by someone else is one of the fastest ways for you to increase high-performance productivity.

5. Poor Sleep = Poor Performance 

Sleeping well is the (not so) secret sauce to having an extremely productive life. For those who struggle with sleep, there are fantastic resources and guides to help you to change. Napping has also been proven to help with cognitive repair something I think we can all agree we’d like to achieve!

I used to be able to function on 4-5 hours of sleep (or at least thought I could!). Now, with so many competing elements to my week, I am fairly religious about getting 8 hours.

A very fresh look at this subject is the book Positive Sleep written by Giles Watkins

Giles is the author of Positive Sleep. A book which explores the problem through his sleep struggles and provides guidance for readers using techniques and personal tips that transformed his life and helped him to sleep better.

Along the way, he explains the importance and function of sleep and how lack of sleep typically affects professionals. The book also examines how organisations can promote better sleep.

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