By Stephen Archer, Business Analyst and Director, Spring Partnerships

Too often I hear the phrase ‘there’s not enough hours in the day’ being uttered by business executives. We all know that time is the greatest asset, but how do we get precious hours back that would allow for greater creativity, innovation and effectiveness.

Here are my tips for how busy executives can claw back some time and be more efficient.

1. One of the biggest time wasters at work is checking email constantly; it is a distraction and it can sap productivity. Check email just three times a day.

2. Have realistic but clear goals and work to the rule of ‘3’. Have three things on the go at once and no more. Most things are best defined in three points.

3. Have a daily to do list AND a weekly NOT TO DO list. It helps focus the mind on doing the right things.

4. Be comfortable saying no to requests.

5. Accept excellence over perfection, perfection is often not needed and costs too much, and be tidy - layout simple plans for complex projects in multiples of three items or steps.

6. Have some good routines and never have a full calendar – always block out some time for yourself and for creative planning and thinking – at least an hour a week. Do this with colleagues or alone – the process is productive and energising.

7. Avoid tough thinking between 2 and 3pm. It’s the body's down time. Be healthy and walk and use the stairs wherever possible. Any cardiovascular exercise will boost productivity especially before the day begins. Drinks lots of water too as this can improve energy levels.

8. Read or listen to fiction as this will re-wire the creative lines in your head.

9. Be mindfully individual, do things your way as far as possible, it will give you strength.

10. Lastly, take an extra 5% of time to get things right first time.