[Adapted and shortened - please read the original at the source linked below]
If you read one book on executive self-management read: The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker.
Anyone who has responsibility for getting the right things done is an executive.
#1: Manage Yourself"
That one can truly manage other people is by no means adequately proven," Drucker writes, "But one can always manage oneself." How can you possibly expect others to perform at the highest levels without first expecting that of yourself? If you want the average performance of those around you to go up, you must first improve your own performance.
#2: Do what you're made for
We are all incompetent at most things. The question is not how to turn incompetence into excellence, but to ask, "What can a person do uncommonly well?" Your responsibility is to know your competence—what you can do very well, what you are made for and align your life and work to it. "To focus on weakness is not only foolish; it is irresponsible," says Drucker. Do what you're made for, but then get better and better; eradicate weakness, yes, but only within strength.
#3: Work how you work best (and let others do the same)
If you're a tool put here on this Earth to be useful, how does the tool best work? Per Drucker, we are made for ways of working the same way we are right-handed or left-handed. No one but you can take responsibility to leverage how you best work, and the sooner you do, the more years you have to gain.
#4: Count your time, and make it count
What gets measured gets managed. How can we manage our time if we don't measure where our time goes? Make your time count. The "secret" of people who do so many things, writes Drucker, is that they do only one thing at a time; they refuse to let themselves be squandered away in "small driblets [that] are no time at all." This requires the discipline to consolidate time into blocks, of three types. 1) create unbroken blocks for individual think time, during the most clear-thinking time of day for you; these pockets of quietude might be only 90 minutes, but even the busiest executive must do them with regularity. 2) create intervals of unstructured time for people and the random things that come up. 3) only take meetings that matter (see next tip for how to do this)
#5: Prepare better meetings
Effective people make the most of meetings, and do this with consistent discipline. Prepare: have a clear purpose in mind ("why are we having this meeting?") and disciplined follow-up. Don’t waste other peoples time. And while we must all lead or join meetings, they should be limited to those meetings that result in the most useful work.
#6: Don't make 100 decisions when 1 will work
The most effective people find the patterns within chaos. We rarely face truly unique, one-off decisions. And there is a cost to good decision: it requires 1) argument and debate; 2) time for reflection and concentration; and, 3) energy expended to ensure superb execution. Make a fewer bigger decisions that apply to a large number of situations, to find a pattern within—in short, to go from chaos to concept.
[Warren Buffett learned to ignore possibilities as background noise. Instead, he makes a fewer, bigger decisions—such as to shift from buying mediocre companies at cheap prices to buying great companies at good prices. He repeated that decision. “Inactivity can be intelligent behavior”: contrast this with those who make hundreds of minor decisions with no big concept (strategy).]
#7: Find your one, big distinctive impact
Identify one, big thing that would most contribute to the future of your firm, and orchestrate getting it done. What is your one absolutely fundamental contribution that would not happen without you?
#8: Stop what you would not start now
Clear the clutter. Do not starve opportunity because you are busy with small problems resulting from past mistakes. If it were a decision today to start something you are already in (to enter a business, to hire a person, to institute a policy, to launch a project, etc.), would you do it today? If not, then stop doing it now.
#9: Run lean
The accomplishments of one good human resource in a key position are much larger than all the combined accomplishment of dividing the seat among multiple not-so-good people. Get better people, give them big things to do, enlarge responsibilities, let them work. Resist temptation to redesign positions to personalities. The fewer people, the smaller, less activity inside, the more nearly perfect is the organization.
#10: Be useful
You to spend a lot of energy on the question of how to be successful. But that is the wrong question.The question is: how to be useful!” What will your work add up to? How will other people's lives be changed? What difference will it make?
Read the full article at jimcollins.com (Jim Collins, May 17, 2016)