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Be the Business team

The Be the Business team all have one thing in common – they want to help you unleash the true potential of your company and make Britain the economic powerhouse we all know it can be. To get things moving, they’ve each shared their own productivity tip as food for thought. If you have one of your own worth sharing then please let us know.

Paloma Sackman

Head of leadership and management programmes

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“I like to get out and about every so often, either to visit and work directly with our customers or to engage with new organisations offering inspiration for new ideas. This gives me a huge amount of energy to fuel weird and wonderful new ideas, focus on existing ones and ultimately making me more productive.”

Richard Appell

Learning and evaluation associate

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“I exercise and meditate regularly to look after my state of mind. Our minds are the great engines of our productivity – but depression can trap us in a negative spiral. Seek professional help at the earliest signs of depression. It is not the taboo subject it once was.”

Joe Bolger

Head of marketing

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“I work more effectively in the afternoon if I go for a run at lunchtime. Sometimes I use the time to think about issues I need to tackle. Sometimes I just tune out. Either way, I return to work on top form.”

Zoe Stead-Hall

Programme manager

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“Don't plan an unachievable workload every day, as you'll only feel discouraged if you don't achieve it. Instead, be realistic about priorities, and try to keep the daily to-do list to less than seven items. Set time aside daily for last-minute urgent tasks that crop up, to ensure larger, more substantial tasks don't keep slipping back day-by-day.”

Adam Hardy

Senior research and insights manager

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“I’m an advocate of setting your schedule or task list for the next day the night before. This helps keep you focussed on priorities but also hopefully allows you to make a distinction between work and home.”

Julie Andrew

Assistant accountant

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“My most effective task list method is using a weekly diary planner. As someone who works best with visual processes, I find physically writing down jobs through the week enables me to tick off completed work, add notes for any future reference and prevents tasks getting forgotten.”

Alexander Rushton

Hospitality programme manager

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“I strive to keep fit, be healthy, eat well and manage my caffeine and sugar levels to ensure my mind is always focused. I make sure I have enough energy for the whole day, not just for spikes of activity and avoid the dreaded post-lunch “carb-coma”. If you, your staff and your team all feel good, you’ll all perform better and for longer periods.”

Annie Olivier

Networks coordinator

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“For me, being productive really hinges on my relationships with colleagues. Taking time to develop ways of working together makes everything more efficient in the long run.”

Samantha Lingham

EA and chief of staff

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“I love a list. The last thing I do each day before I leave is write a list of the key things that must be done the following day. I find a clear focus of priorities is the key to a productive day.”

James Gribben

Senior corporate affairs manager

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“I cycle to the office most days. It’s a great way to fit exercise in to my week and I start work feeling refreshed. My morning bike ride is also a good opportunity to think about my day ahead and what I want to achieve, while I often find myself taking a longer route home, using it as a way to switch off.”

Shanni Elcock

SME engagement lead

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“Working in social media means that I survive on instant gratification, so I assemble my to-do lists with this in mind – sandwiching difficult tasks between blocks of two or three easier and quicker to complete tasks. The quick wins and sense of achievement keep me pumped for the more challenging items on my list.”

Louise Sunderland

Director of programmes

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“Time is so important, so being productive is so beneficial for us all. For me there are three things that enable me to be productive: getting enough sleep and exercise, clearing my emails that are at the top of the list before I start the day and being organised – I have routines at home and work! This way I get to enjoy work and get to spend precious time with my family.”

Tony Danker


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“I am more productive through the people I hire, so I recruit people who thrive on being given ownership of a task with a vision of what is needed rather than full direction.”

Helen Puddefoot

Director of strategic partnerships (maternity leave)

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“Understanding your natural energy patterns throughout the day can allow you to plan around them. If you know you're better in the morning, block out time to do brain-taxing work that requires focus. If you have a dip between 2-3pm do something that energises you – whether that's meeting with people or building in a walk to get you moving.”

Denica Lundberg

Partnerships account manager

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“I use my commute to set priorities for the day – using the 80/20 principle. I prioritise the tasks that will have maximum impact, and remind myself that done is often better than perfect.”

Emma Cooper

Impact and performance manager

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“I'm a huge fan of pomodoro timing (25 minutes on, 5 minutes off) and find it really helps for large and complex tasks. I also like to choose an environment which suits the task – if I need to think creatively I go to a whiteboard and if I need to really concentrate I find a different space in the office. A change of scene really helps.”

Andrina Collymore

Finance manager

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“Time management is key – I prioritise what must be done today over simple non-urgent tasks. A to-do list and a can-do attitude maintains my focus. I also think having a great line manager, who is willing to share their knowledge, keeps me motivated and keen to learn more.”

Helen Wilson

EA and chief of staff (maternity leave)

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“I diarise time at the beginning of each day to make a prioritised list of the things I need to achieve, ensuring I have flex for any last-minute urgent tasks. Throughout the day I work with a Pomodoro timer, which I find really helps me to work with the time I have in order to maximise my productivity.”

Sarah Gill

Senior marketing manager

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“I find that I am more productive when I break up my week with regular swim training sessions and yoga practice after work. Exercise, as well as a healthy diet, helps me focus the mind and gives me extra energy for the week ahead.”

Bryce Worth

Partnerships manager

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“My day is usually structured with a long walk to the train to think through my day and what I want to accomplish so I can see some kind of result by the end of the day. I am usually more efficient working through face-to-face interactions and on the phone, since it's easier to move things forward than it is through never ending email chains.”

Ros Gray

Content creator

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“Don't feel guilty. Guilt never helps. When you're running the show, sometimes you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. Either way, guilt only drains you. Just be clear what you'll do and why you'll do it. The rest is down to good, honest communication.”

Fiona Krasniqi

Policy and public affairs manager

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“Understanding when you work best and prioritising tasks is key. I work best in the mornings, so that's when I approach complex tasks. Throughout the day I use snap focus sessions, which consist of focusing on one clear task for 20-30 minutes.”

Hunter Ruthven

Senior content manager

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“Planning ahead and scheduling are key to good productivity for me. I like to break my day down into chunks, diarise them and then be strict with myself about stopping one task, even if it’s not finished, and moving onto the next.”

Anna Drummond

Partnerships manager

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“I find that doing regular exercise keeps my mind feeling fresh. I write tomorrow’s to do list at the end of the day and then use my cycle home to decompress.”

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