Many people talk about saying “no” to a lot of things so you have time to do the important things. I agree with this, but I want to expand on it a bit.
I create time boundaries. I realize that time spent working and the results I create are mostly independent of each other. I also realize that work will fill the time it is allotted (if I have 1 day to write a report it will take one day; if I have three, it will take three).
Each day I decide when I will end my day so I do not work past that point. This ensures I know what is important and I get focus on those things. I do not want to play whack -a-mole with all of the problems that come up because I wound never get anything important done. I know so be successful you have to make a plan and stick to it and that will not happen if I am constantly chasing the next problem.
I have been testing something over the last year. I have started scheduling meetings for 30 minutes instead of the automatic hour. Guess what, we still get everything done that needs to be done. I am not sure why an hour is the chosen meeting time but when forced to come up with a solution to a problem in a shorter amount of time, we still come up with it.
I will leave a meeting if it goes past the end time unless it is valuable to me. I have been through many rambling meetings about things which are unimportant to me and once the time is up, I get up and leave. I do not pay attention to the lizard brain saying “what will the other people or managers think of me leaving their meeting”. Typically, others want to leave too and when I get up it makes many follow me. All of a sudden they wrap up the meeting within 5 minutes of me leaving.
I know these things make some of my co-workers uncomfortable but my managers are okay with it because I am extremely productive.