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Three Big Ideas for Extreme Productivity

Recently, author Robert C. Pozen—Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution—spoke at the FKH offices as part of our Great Authors Great Speakers series.

Extreme Productivity

His book, Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours has many valuable lessons and key points that may be particularly interesting and useful for innovators and entrepreneurs, including: how to be as productive as possible; tips to develop personal skills like reading, writing, and speaking; advice on the best ways to manage your team and your boss; and overall recommendations on pursuing and living a productive life at both work and home.

Additionally, Pozen shares three “big ideas” that he believes are the basic infrastructure for the life of any successful businessperson. By following these ideas, Pozen believes everyone has the ability to maximize productivity throughout their careers.

Three Big Ideas:

  1. Articulate your goals and rank them in order of priority. This helps you align your time allocations with your priorities.
  2. Focus on the final product. In tackling high-priority projects, quickly formulate tentative conclusions to guide your work.
  3. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Deal with low-priority items in a way that allows you to spend as little time on them as possible.

Pozen uses charts and graphs throughout the book to assist readers in completing the task of ranking their goals in order of priority and he outlines the following steps in order to achieve those goals in the most efficient manner:

  1. Write everything down
  2. Organize by time horizon
  3. Rank your objectives
  4. Rank your targets
  5. Estimate how you actually spend your time
  6. Address the mismatch between priorities and time spent

Throughout the book, Pozen revisits these six steps in order to drive his point home when addressing the causes of time misallocation. The book encourages readers to focus on results, rather than the actual time spent on work. This way, they can achieve the most success in the shortest amount of time—and time is certainly something we can agree that all of us need more of!

About Robert C. Pozen: Robert C. Pozen is currently Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He was formerly Chairman of MFS Investment Management, and Vice Chairman of Fidelity Investments. He served on President Bush’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security, and was also Secretary of Economic Affairs for Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. He was Associate General Counsel of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and was a partner at the Washington, D.C., law firm of Caplin & Drysdale. He is the author of six books, most recently Extreme Productivity.