Fast Company - - Secrets Of The Most Productive People - BETH FORD CEO, LAND O’LAKES

I have a list of pri­or­i­ties that I make for my­self. Ev­ery day when I get to the of­fice, I write down the top three or four things that I have to re­ally fo­cus on. This way, I know what I want to achieve that day.

I work a lot through email and text. I make it my goal to re­view what has come in and sep­a­rate those that I can an­swer. I also al­ways say to my team: “Please don’t write me a novel, I won’t read it.” I just don’t have the time. In­stead, write in the sub­ject line what it is that this is about. And tell me up front—is a de­ci­sion needed, or do you need me to look at some­thing, or is it a “When you have time, take a look at this”?—so I can pri­or­i­tize ef­fec­tively and be re­spon­sive when I need to be.

But the best tool for pro­duc­tiv­ity is to have the best tal­ent. You’re never re­ally do­ing it your­self. —As told to Cale Weiss­man

Time she gets up 5 a.m.

First thing she does in the morn­ing

“Cof­fee and wa­ter, and I’ll take a quick look at my emails. Then Jill, my spouse, and I feed the dog, the cat, the guinea pigs. We’ve got the an­i­mal king­dom.”

Place she can be most pro­duc­tive

“Air­planes. No­body’s talk­ing to you, and you’re not ex­pected at a meet­ing.”

Skill she’s still work­ing on “Be­ing a bet­ter lis­tener. I come from a fam­ily of seven other chil­dren—i was the mid­dle child. If you wanted to not eat a giz­zard or neck for din­ner, you best be heard right away. Now, I have to be mind­ful about telling my­self to lis­ten more. Be­cause—and es­pe­cially when you step into big­ger roles—if you say some­thing too quickly and don’t lis­ten, it shuts down con­ver­sa­tion.”

Last thing she does at night “I try to [turn off] all the tech­nol­ogy and grab a mag­a­zine, or some­thing, to read.”

Time she goes to bed Be­tween 10 and 10:30 p.m.

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