You do not always get the opportunity interview a Pro Vice chancellor of one of the top universities in Africa, so when I had the opportunity to meet Professor George Oduro, I decided to ask him all the important questions about the top habits of highly effective managers. After almost one hour of conversation, here is what I learnt talking to him.
1. They Wake up very early
“You must wake up very early if you have a regular job to attend. That way, you can pray, review your activities for the day, answer a few emails before you get to work,” Professor Oduro suggested. He also revealed that for the past 20 years of his life, he wakes up at 4:00am everyday as it gives him enough time to meditate for about 20 minutes, prepare his notes for his day’s appointments and finally have his breakfast before he leaves for work. “The biggest mistake the average worker makes is to get to work first before he makes plans for the day, this is a mistake because it puts you always one step behind,” he said.
2. They minimize distractions
Professor Oduro also indicated that he tries to minimize distractions that often come from unplanned meetings, needless phone calls, the radio or the television set. He stressed that working hours must strictly be about work; any other thing can be done during a break or after work. “With this at the back of my mind, i am able to stay focused in doing what is expected of me without the temptation to be swayed into other unplanned activities,” he further explained to me.
3. They focus on one assignment at a time
“The mistake many people make is that they try to do a lot of activities at the same time,” Prof. Oduro indicated. You cannot chair a meeting and be replying emails. What I have learnt over the years is that, one is able to give off his best when he focuses on one assignment at a time and that is exactly how i maximize my days. He also mentioned that he creates a priority list of activities every day and by that, he is able to stick to a rigid schedule and follow through the list.
4. They review their day at the end of work
At the end of each day, I have to undertake an audit of all assignments I undertook. That way, I am able to detect any unattended issue that must eventually be pushed to the next day. Professor Oduro explained, “I try as much as possible not to send too much work home, so I make sure all the important assignments are completed before I leave the office. Working hours must be for work and family time must be for family as well,” he added.
5. They invest in themselves
“As busy as I often am, I try to write a book every six months. This means that at least every day, I spend 30 minutes of my time to invest in my reading,” he said. As an academic, the only way to remain relevant is by publishing ideas you strongly believe in, thus if I do not invest in myself, I will not stay relevant for a long time. An investment in yourself today, is an investment in your future and that is how any professional can stay relevant in today’s fast-paced market – constantly adding value to yourself.
About the Author, G.K. Sarpong
G. K. Sarpong is an author and founder of Christian Thinkers Community (CTC), a multidimensional organisation headquartered in Accra, Ghana. Sarpong also writes for several media firms across the continent of Africa and a guest writer and editor for various international journals and newsletters including Light Magazine Africa, The Revolution Journal and Christian Thinkers Journal. Sarpong has authored over seven books and hundreds of articles, some of which include Entrepreneurship Africa, Develop the Master in You, Building Success and Answers to Life’s Foundational Questions.