Blog Leadership

How to Be More Productive in the New Year

In a webinar organized with Oslo Business Forum and Deloitte Norway, Professor Morten Hansen explored the world of productivity and personal effectiveness, seeking to answer the question: “How can we be more productive in the New Year?”

In this summary, we have gathered the main learnings from the webinar, complimented by actionable insights for you to implement!

Watch the recording:

Balancing Work and Life

Cecilia Flatum, the Head of Consulting at Deloitte Norway, kicked off the webinar by sharing insights on her impressive career path and her dedication to empowering individuals to make a positive impact on society. She focused on the importance of balancing work and life, a challenge faced by many professionals today. She shared her personal strategies for achieving this balance and emphasized these points:

  • Morning Routine: Designing a productive morning routine is essential. Cecilia begins her day at 6:30 AM, focusing on family time and reading newspapers to stay up-to-date.
  • Balancing Work and Life: To achieve a better work-life balance, connecting personal and professional purposes is key.
  • Setting Boundaries: Setting boundaries and being selective in your commitments while aligning them with your core values and objectives is important.
  • Flexible Planning: Being adaptable and planning for high-intensity and low-intensity weeks helps you maintain a work-life balance.
  • Purpose-Driven Focus: You should maintain a North Star, a clear purpose that guides your decisions and actions, both at work and in life.
  • Continuous Improvement: We should embark on a constant quest for improvement, striving to push boundaries, think differently, and create better futures.

Cecilia’s insights resonate with those of us who seek to optimize work-life equilibrium. They provide a practical perspective on balancing professional success with a fulfilling personal life, which can enhance our productivity and well-being.

Do Less, Then Obsess: How to Be More Productive in the New Year


The spotlight then shifted to Professor Morten Hansen, whose expertise lies in management performance. His presentation was grounded in empirical research, including a groundbreaking study of 5,000 individuals, from which he extracted practical tips and tools to enhance productivity.

The 50-Hour Productivity Limit

Morten’s research unearthed a crucial insight—the notion that working more hours doesn’t necessarily equate to increased productivity. He pointed out that beyond a certain threshold, around 50 hours a week, the returns on additional work hours start to diminish. This finding challenges the common belief that longer work hours automatically lead to better results. It’s a wake-up call for leaders and professionals to reconsider the value of overworking and to seek more efficient ways of achieving their goals.

The Power of Focus

One of Morten’s central messages was the importance of focus. He explained that both managers and employees often grapple with an abundance of tasks, making it challenging to discern where to direct their energy. To combat this, Morten advocates for a laser-like focus on a select few priorities, drawing inspiration from the Susan Bishop case study. By concentrating efforts on what truly matters and saying no to distractions, professionals can achieve more meaningful results. This principle echoes the wisdom of renowned strategy guru Michael Porter, who defined strategy as “choosing what not to do.”

For more insights on productivity, check out the summary of our discussion with Tim Ferriss!

The Art of Saying No

Morten emphasized the need to say no in a way that aligns with a strong yes—a clear, overarching objective. He introduced strategies like prioritization, sequencing, referring out, identifying essential tasks, and delegation to help professionals manage their workload effectively. Learning to say no, when appropriate, is a pivotal skill for leaders aiming to maintain their focus and achieve their goals.

Constant Reminders and Reinforcements

Finally, Morten stressed the importance of ongoing reminders and reinforcements. Achieving sustained productivity isn’t a one-time effort; it requires continuous commitment and discipline. He teased upcoming publications that will delve deeper into these concepts, providing leaders with additional tools and insights.

Application in Real Life

So, why are Morten’s insights vital for leaders and professionals? In a world that often glorifies busyness and long work hours, his research challenges conventional wisdom and offers a path to achieving more with less effort. You can apply these insights by:

  • Setting clear objectives: Clearly define what you aim to achieve.
  • Prioritizing ruthlessly: Focus on a select few tasks that truly matter.
  • Learning to say no: Use strategic approaches to decline distractions.
  • Embracing discipline: Consistently follow productivity principles.
  • Seeking continuous improvement: Use constant reminders to stay on track.

Morten provided us with actionable strategies to enhance productivity and strike a harmonious work-life balance in the New Year!

Morten Hansen is coming to Nordic Business Forum 2024! If you wish to learn more from him and explore how to boost performance at your workplace, get your tickets now before the next price increase.

Learn more from Morten Hansen


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