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Google's executive productivity advisor says these 2 common 'pitfalls' are making people less efficient at work

Lauren Edmonds   

Google's executive productivity advisor says these 2 common 'pitfalls' are making people less efficient at work
  • A recent episode of Harvard Business Review's IdeaCast featured Laura Mare Martin.
  • Martin is the executive productivity advisor at Google.

Even the most diligent workers can struggle to finish all their tasks. Fortunately, Google's executive productivity advisor knows why.

Laura Mae Martin appeared on Tuesday's episode of the Harvard Business Review's IdeaCast, where she discussed how people can optimize their work days.

The first obstacle is overcommitting, Martin said.

"So I think we all fall into that trap sometimes, and it's important to realize that that's not always going to set you up for the best output," Martin told HBR. "And so really being intentional about having space in your life and having space in your schedule, and I always tell people, shoot to under commit because you end up then committing at the right level."

To overcome overcommitting, Martin told HBR that identifying your top three priorities daily, weekly, and monthly can be helpful.

"It's important to actually label those things even as just a commitment to yourself, but then also beneficial is to share those with a team, a colleague, a spouse, whatever that is, because it helps just frame why you're doing the things you're doing and why it's OK to say no to things that don't really fall into those priorities," she said.

The second obstacle Martin flagged is being unintentional with time.

"And so that can mean, one, just fitting in work time wherever it falls. And so, 'I have meetings all morning, so I'm going to work in the afternoon,'" Martin said. "Well, is that when you produce your best results? Are you more of a morning person? Is that the best time to work on that task?"

Martin told HBR that once people become more intentional with their time, they should use it wisely to address projects or tasks.

Martin first spoke to BI in October 2021 when she shared advice on how senior executives can keep and raise productivity while working from home. She later gave tips on how people can approach emails, meetings, and other day-to-day office tasks while reaching peak productivity.

Her new book, "Uptime: A Practical Guide to Personal Productivity and Wellbeing," hit shelves on April 2.




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