Mastering Efficiency: Jason Nissen's Four Pillars for Better Prioritization and Productivity

Mastering Efficiency: Jason Nissen's Four Pillars for Better Prioritization and Productivity

Daniel Hall 03/06/2023 1
Mastering Efficiency: Jason Nissen's Four Pillars for Better Prioritization and Productivity

Of all the buzzwords that circulate, “productivity” and “efficiency” are probably two of the most popular in the 21st century.

Even as technology has automated so much of our lives and brought about unprecedented changes, for many of us it still feels like there is never enough time in the day to accomplish everything we want to do. It has gotten to the point that our hyperfocus on these concepts have caused people to experience major burnout across practically every industry and position, from everyday office workers to C-suite executives.  

Countless books, articles, seminars and more have attempted to solve the problem of productivity and efficiency, but the fact of the matter is that just as everybody has different learning and comprehension styles, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Everybody has their own unique positions, skills, and challenges that factor into effective prioritization of tasks. However, there are high-level concepts that can have universal applications. 

For entrepreneur and executive Jason Nissen, being pulled in multiple directions on any given day is the norm. Nissen has spent over two decades in the ticket brokerage industry, during which time he has built up a number of successful businesses and started up initiatives across the sector. Jason has put together programs involving events such as the Super Bowl, the World Cup, and Hamilton on Broadway, in addition to founding a groundbreaking festival at a mountain resort incorporating EDM with winter sports events. 

Nissen said that over the course of his career he has tried nearly every productivity trick in the book in order to find the most effective way to maximize his efficiency. Highlighted below are the concepts and strategies he has found to have the highest impact on increasing productivity and making the most out of each day. 

Identify Where You Can Delegate and Automate 

One of the most common hurdles the average person will run into when it comes to achieving productivity is confusing it with busyness. It is disheartening to come to the end of the day feeling like you have given it your best effort, and yet your to-do list still feels endless. 

However, it is important in these times to keep in mind that true productivity entails mastering success while also reducing stress and struggle. Nissen says that often when we are not achieving all we want to in a day it is because we are trying to make everything a priority, and one of the biggest steps that can be taken in mastering efficiency is simply admitting to yourself that it isn’t possible to get everything done in a day. In doing so,  you can identify where your time and energy should truly be spent that will bring you closer to your goals and help you avoid penalties. 

According to Nissen, everything else can and should be delegated or automated. When your work consists of task after task in which you are simply completing day-to-day operations, you are losing valuable time that could be spent on activities much more conducive toward long-term goals. Creating automated processes such as project management systems, workflows and approval processes work in your favor twofold, says Nissen, decreasing the margin of error for these tasks while also opening up more time to focus on big picture ideas and projects that further your greater aspirations. 

Nissen acknowledges that when you’re frustrated that the effort you are putting forward isn't producing the results you would like to see, it can certainly be difficult to step back and evaluate yourself. However, an objective evaluation of your work habits is vital to trimming the fact and creating a more streamlined workflow.

Use the Urgent-Important Matrix 

Popularized by the seminal business book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, the Urgent-Important Matrix has proven time and again to be an invaluable tool in the prioritization of tasks and projects. It was said to be how Dwight D. Eisenhower was able to effectively make tough decisions about his workload and priorities during his presidency, and is alternately named the Eisenhower Decision Matrix. Nissen says that Eisenhower recognized that time management is about being effective as well as efficient, and when wearing multiple hats as a leader he found prioritizing based on importance and urgency allows you to make the most out of your time. 

In the context of the tool, there are specific definitions of “important” and “urgent.” Important activities are those that contribute to achieving personal goals, while urgent tasks are ones that require immediate attention, and often involve the greater goals of the organization or project. Using these descriptors, you can divide your tasks into four sections: important and urgent, important but not urgent, not important but urgent, and not important and not urgent. 

Nissen says that while all four sections require your time and attention, ideally you should focus on tasks that are important but not urgent, because those are the ones that help further your own long-term goals best. By focusing on these activities, you also prevent them from eventually becoming urgent and give yourself a much more productive and effective work day. 

Take Your Personal Energy Level into Account

Just as people can be early risers or night owls, everybody has their own personal ebb and flow of energy levels that emerge as patterns each day. Regardless of what yours are, recognizing and planning your tasks around what your anticipated state of mind will be can improve your productivity considerably, says Nissen. For example, if you find that you are able to focus best in the mornings, use this time to work on long-form projects that require your full concentration – the aforementioned “important but not urgent” tasks. That sluggish mid-afternoon slump when your pick-me-up coffee hasn’t kicked in yet is the perfect time to work on email responses and other tasks that don’t require a lot of brain power. 

The remote work policies that developed during the pandemic a few years ago proved to many leaders that flexibility in terms of when and where people work does not negatively impact productivity. As a result, now more than ever it is possible to communicate your needs and make arrangements that will be most conducive to your productivity. Jason Nissen points out that even if that isn’t an option for your current situation there are still ways you can use your energy levels effectively, such as keeping a notebook on your bedside table so that you can quickly jot them down and reference them in the morning if you tend to come up with your most creative ideas late at night. 

Do less

Counterintuitively, when it comes to productivity, doing more doesn’t mean you are achieving more. Studies have found that long daily and weekly hours don’t necessarily equate to a high output, and in fact after working more than 50 hours a week productivity diminishes. After 55 hours output is so reduced that working any further is rendered pointless. The human body simply wasn’t designed for eight-hour days or 50-hour work weeks, says Nissen. Our circadian rhythms mean that we need time to rest and recharge, and working too much is linked to health issues including stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and mental health problems. 

Nissen says that one of the simplest (and most difficult) ways you can do less is by being more strategic with what you agree to take on or do. By only saying “yes” when it fits in your calendar and serves to further your personal and professional goals, you won’t be left with unimportant items that need to be accomplished, allowing you to focus on your own priorities and leave room for spontaneous opportunities you’re passionate about. 

Delegating, automating, and identifying what deserves your focus are all ways in which you can also remove unnecessary tasks from your plate and better prioritize what needs to get done in order to further your long-term goals. Nissen says that ultimately, mastering efficiency is about knowing what you truly want to achieve and giving that ultimate precedence.

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  • creepy joe

    "For entrepreneur and executive Jason Nissen, being pulled in multiple directions on any given day is the norm."


    Comment last edited on about 1 year ago by Badr Berrada

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Daniel Hall

Business Expert

Daniel Hall is an experienced digital marketer, author and world traveller. He spends a lot of his free time flipping through books and learning about a plethora of topics.

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