How to Stay Productive as a Manager When 24 hours/Day Seems Insufficient

As a manager, you might struggle with handling the workload, meeting deadlines, social media distractions, and ineffective time management techniques. So obviously, you tend to ask how to stay productive.

Let me ask: Do you want to create an approach that increases your work productivity? I’m saying don’t just pick time management techniques and implement them. Instead, understand your strength, then choose and use methods that can help you manage your workload adequately.

In this article, you’ll find proven methods that will help you increase your output every day as a manager. Discover productivity ideas from the habits of productive people like the founder of Unsplash, Micheal Cho, and other managers like you. In addition, you won’t only develop strategies but use tools and personalize your work process.

Ladies and gentlemen, shall we begin?

A lot of responsibility comes with being a manager. You’re like the driver keeping the company moving in the right direction; if the goal isn’t getting closer, you’re the first person to answer the management.

How Can Managers Make the Most of Their Workday?

The workplace and its requirements can also be dynamic.

What works at company A might not work at company B. For example, a remote freelancing business differs from an on-site construction firm. But in this post, I will explain how to stay productive and the strategies you call to manage workload. Working at home is also different from the office.

Let’s start with the perks of being a manager. First, you must check how several people are doing their jobs. Their execution and level of work productivity are partially your responsibility, and you have to bring the organization closer to its goals. 

At the same time, it means you are attending to many important distractions each time. These include

  • Important, but many phone calls
  • tons of emails
  • Meetings, a lot of them 
  • Urgent issues/ unplanned events

Sometimes, your day can be unpredictable. One minute you’re sitting in the office, and the next, you are in another town, attending a meeting.  

How to Stay Productive as a Manager

So what should you do?

Let’s keep it short. This is because you don’t even have the time to read a long article (and because this website’s tag is “what if life is simple?”).

You should ask these important questions, and with your answers, you can form strategies to manage workload

  • What worked for me in the past? 
  • What are the most important tasks today?  
  • How can I do less work? 

The third question might seem odd, but it is the best of them. 

I’ll get to it soon.

#1. What Worked for You in the Past?

Think about the last time you had a blast at work in terms of your level of productivity. Recall how productive you were and the tasks completed for the day. Yet, you have enough time to rest. 

Can you replicate a part of that process?

Was it the tool, the location, the task, or the people around you?

Is there something you can use again? For example, are the people you work with the reason for your productivity? Can you hire those kinds of people again? Or, if possible, can you bring them around now? 

Now you’re getting the idea. The plan is to find solutions to how to stay productive using what has once worked for you. When you think about it, you’ll consider your strengths and weaknesses. For example, did you work hard, or was the environment so energizing? It could mean you work better in a kind of environment.

Read: How to be alone and happy

#2. What Is the Most Important Task for Today?

Think about the assignment that must be executed before the other one. You might need a tool to write down and arrange tasks to do this. This is important when finding out how to manage your workload. 

  • A note and pen are the best because writing has a powerful psychological benefit. When you write, the brain is active.
  • An app like EverNote, Google Keep, or Trello. 
  • A vision board 

Collect all the tasks and arrange them according to their level of importance.

Of course, you want to finish it all on day one, but you and I (and your company’s big annual goal) know it’s not possible. So you have to push some tasks to the next day. 

Also, you want to keep your company’s goal in mind while planning. Let it guide you when moving a task up or down on your schedule. 

Next, mark the task at three places according to how you would feel if they were accomplished at the end of each day. 

  • Unproductive 
  • Productive 
  • Exceptional 

Let’s say you have 10 tasks on the list. Completing the task to number 10 can be considered “exceptional,” number 7 can be “productive,” and stopping at number 3 can be “unproductive.”

At the end of each day, you can assess your performance according to your expectations.

This is a suggestion. Your number 1 task can sometimes be produced using the “Eat the Frog approach.” The book describes this idea: you should do your biggest work daily. In that case, doing the most difficult task can be classified as productive. 

Try to Allocate Time and Place to Each Task.

There is a study called “implementation intention.” It says people who define the time and place of doing their tasks are more likely to follow through. 

“In one study, implementation intentions helped individuals perform the necessary behavior when their goal intention (i.e., writing about their Christmas Eve) had to be performed at a busy time (i.e., during Christmas Day). Or, in another study, individuals who formed implementation intentions about when and where to exercise were more likely to exercise at the place and time specified and therefore more likely to achieve their overall goal to exercise more.”


A Google Manager Wrote a Letter Explaining the Process to Their Staff.

The mail goes into detail about how you can structure your week. 

So you might want to consider allocating each task’s triggers, time, and place for each day. 

Here is an example of implementation intention (using triggers):

If I wake up late, I won’t have breakfast. (When you wake up late, you choose to go to work without a first meal)

Use time and place, too.

l will read the copy of X magazine at 8 am, in my car on my way to work

But if you can’t do it because it takes a lot of time, consider the third question on the list below. 

However, you should think about this:

How do you take control of your day? I think it’s about knowing what you want to achieve, what you can do, and what you can postpone—every day. Adequate planning helps. 

Zuck says it better when he says: 

“Work is a process, and the whole process has to be controlled. To make work productive, therefore, it requires the construction of appropriate controls for the work process.”

Mark Zuckerberg

Check my other post on how to read without getting distracted.

#3. How Do I Do Less?

I once heard a quote that says; lazy people are the best at being productive because they will find a way to do the job by doing less. It’s nice, but I wonder, “How will the lazy person do it?” Is it by sitting around and letting others do their job?

You want to use this option without becoming an annoying boss or manager. These are the things you want to consider when you think about how to do less work: 


Allocate tasks to the right people who can handle them. Maybe divide the task into parts and let someone start while you finish it, or vice versa. 

The co-founder and former CEO of AngelList, Naval Ravikant, says it better: 

Set and enforce an aspirational hourly rate. If fixing a problem will save less than your rate, ignore it.  If outsourcing a task will cost less than your rate, outsource it. Get comfortable disappointing people whose expectations will eat your life up, one hour at a time.


What type of talent can make your work easier? If you can afford them, then that’s a great thing. However, if you can’t hire a full-time talent, consider outsourcing to someone.

You can outsource to people in other countries or locations at an affordable rate. The service might be cheaper depending on who and where you’re hiring. You can outsource to qualified people in places like 

  • Upwork 
  • Fiverr
  • Freelancer

These are a generic marketplace, including every job you can think of. If you want a specific skill set, consider checking the perfect place for such talents. Some them are 

  • Problogger (freelance writer)
  • Toptal (programmers)
  • Unsplash (photographers)

By the way, I’m a freelance blogger and SEO writer. I help business owners develop an SEO strategy for their websites. This job involves finding how to put your business in front of more people and increase the number of visitors to your website. Let’s talk about how to make your website famous.


If you do something daily, find a way to automate it using the right technology. For example, do you need to create an Autoresponder for customer care, or do you reply to every mail? 

  • You can create a guide instead of repeating the same process repeatedly. 
  • Do you have a common question or onboarding process? Maybe you can create a video and audio file and send it when someone asks the same question.
  • Can you create a template you can follow for a regularly repeated task? It saves time. 


I have explained how this works under the second question above. First, you list your important tasks for the day and leave the rest till the next day. 

How to Manage Workload

When your daily schedule or workload suddenly increases, it isn’t easy to be productive. But, unfortunately, planning your day won’t work.

With too much work, time seems insufficient. Although some of the ideas mentioned earlier might help, you must do something different. You can handle a lot of work when you delegate, prioritize, and automate some work processes. But those are not always enough. 

Find out how to manage your workload.

These are 7 Tips for effective workload management

#1. Hire a Mentee

This idea is a little different from hiring generally. It is a little bit more specific because you want to hire someone who has that passion for the kind of work you do. You want to hire someone who wants to be more than an employee, someone who wants to be like you.

So it isn’t easy, but it’s possible, especially if you are a reputable manager younger people look up to as a mentor. 

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying you should hire a fresh graduate and give them the description of an errand boy. Instead, think of the three levels of mastery described in Robert Greene’s Mastery, or think of what you read about Leonardo Da Vinci, the great artist, and his teacher, Andrea del Verrochio.

67% of businesses reported an increase in work productivity due to mentoring. 

#2. Hire a Virtual Assistant 

This action also falls under delegating, but it’s a bit more specific. Hire someone to handle some of the tasks you should spend time on. Those minor activities like sending emails or managing social media, which managers spend a lot of time doing, can be outsourced to a qualified professional in the freelance market.

3. Remove Time Wasters

This is one of the important tips for working at home.

Your house usually has more distractions than an office because homes are mostly designed for comfort and relaxation. I mean, your bedroom could be next door.

So start with removing distractions. Lock the door, use headphones, and keep snacks or water in the space your using for work.

Over time, you should keep a distraction list and learn to manage them.

The image below can help you create a list:

Well, according to statistics.

I know about the third because this post should have been up some days earlier than it did.

What are your time wasters? First, you should name what you consider a waste of time in your work. Then try to eliminate them. 

Slow and repetitive work are time wasters. You can automate them with tools as one of the strategies to manage workload. 

4. Use Only the Tools You Need

How many tools do you genuinely need?

I only need three or four things to start working as a freelance SEO writer. I need a laptop, Google Docs, the Grammarly app, my chrome tab, and a few extensions (Ahref and Moz) to work. What about you? 

Too many tools can slow you down when they aren’t working or require your attention.  They can cause distractions. So, if it doesn’t help you immediately, maybe let it be for now. 

5. Create Time for Deep Work

If a project is important, but something always comes up each time you try to execute it, create a time. Get in a flow state, shut your office door, turn off your phone, and work on it for a given period. Let it be that only the fire alarm or the police kicking the door can stop you. 

Things that might help you when you block out time to work: 

  • Good music 
  • A bottle of water or drink 
  • An alarm clock 

6. Start Your Morning Wisely

“Eat your frog” does work. When it comes to staying productive when working from home, attending to the biggest or most difficult project earlier can help. If a task will slow you down later or disturb your focus during an important activity, consider handling it first or early in the day. After you finish the work, that sense of accomplishment can encourage you to be productive. Then, continue the day knowing you have hacked how to manage workload.

7. Know When to Rest

Learn to stay healthy. Quality resting time is one of the things you do to stay productive, although it might seem like the time you could put to work. 

85% of US workers are affected by work-related stress. Take some needed rest. 

Finally, Iterate, Improve and Build

Managing another group of professionals with your other job responsibilities is a tough task. But, no one is born with that competence until they learn, improve and gain lots of experience. 

So, let’s close with that 3 things. First, iterate or repeat a step if it works for you. Then, improve it to make your work even easier. Then build or automate as soon as you can. In other words, be smart to simplify your daily struggles. That’s how to stay productive as a manager.

Do you want to sell your products online? Check out 7 online marketing tips for beginners