But that all-out, all-the-time mentality isn’t the smartest way to work, says John Zenger, former chairman of the Times Mirror Group, in his book Not Just for CEOs.
Zenger has studied highly productive people and has discovered that the most productive business leaders meet these four characteristics:
1. They vary the pace. When facing unfamiliar new challenges, they slow down and work methodically until they’ve learned what they need to know. In activities in which they’re already experts, they work quickly.
2. They focus on garnering big returns, fast. When possible, their goal is to seek the biggest advantage in the least amount of time.
3. They avoid monolithic project When handling complex projects, they let different teams handle different parts of the project. .
4. They accelerate parts of big projects, when possible. Example: If research they conducted last year gives them a leg up on a big project on their plate, they plug it in.