Stephan Aarstol

Demystifying the Workplace “Unicorn”: The 5-Hour Workday

The five-hour workday isn’t just this mystical “unicorn” you’ve heard about around the water cooler. It’s real, and it can work for your team.

Why is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the magic time? It’s been used for so long that it’s become immortalized in song. While the traditional 40-hour workweek remains the norm, you’ve changed the way you work.

What used to take all day — making phone calls, waiting for the mail, driving for hours to buy supplies — can now be done with much greater efficiency.

Being an entrepreneur requires you to be efficient and productive. But filling the traditional eight-hour day by churning out more work just means you’ll burn out or run your health into the ground. It’s almost impossible to produce high-quality work for eight hours straight.

I think you can do a better job in five hours.

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About the Author

Stephan AarstolStephan Aarstol is the author of The Five-Hour Workday: Live Differently, Unlock Productivity, and Find Happiness. He is CEO and founder of Tower, a holistic beach-lifestyle company, which includes Tower Paddle Boards, Tower Magazine,, and a direct-to-consumer surf- and beach-lifestyle company at .For more information, please visit and and connect with Stephan on Twitter, @stephan.aarstol.

Johan Gunnars

3 Simple Ways Productivity Leads to Your Best Self

What do you think of when you hear the term “self-improvement”? If you’re like a lot of people, you might imagine working your way through giant stacks of self-help books, starting an intensive new exercise regimen, or devoting more time to charitable causes – all of which are certainly worthwhile ways to improve oneself.

However, the path to self-improvement isn’t always about drastic lifestyle changes. Sometimes the easiest way to get started on the journey to a better version of you is just by doing the little things to get organized, make a plan, and recognize the everyday effort it takes to get there.

Improving your productivity is a simple place to begin – and with World Productivity Day upon us, there’s no better time than now to start discovering your best self! Here are 3 ways to do it:

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About the Author

Johan GunnarsJohan Gunnars is an entrepreneur and CEO and co-founder of Simpliday – Meetings, Reminders & Email in One, a new iPhone calendar app allowing users to achieve a more organized and efficient life by bringing together meetings, reminders and email in one customizable, beautiful, user-friendly app. Johan experience in productivity, software, e-commerce, consumer electronics, among others, leads him to focus on how companies and products can make a difference while connecting to the overall vision and strategy. Johan is based in Malmo, Sweden. For more information about Johan and Simpliday, visit Simpliday.

Managing a Remote Team: 12 Best Practices for Better Productivity

The remote and mobile workforce population is steadily rising. Even IBM adjusted its HR policies to accommodate remote workers. Today, it is one of the top companies that make use of a remote workforce, offering flexible work options, alongside Apple, Dell and Xerox.

To ascertain staff productivity in teams that are scattered across various locations, below are twelve best practices to effectively manage a mobile/remote workforce:

1. Embrace flexibility

Managing a remote workforce will require application of a diverse set of techniques and mediums to get a task accomplished. Individuals are, well, individuals and are, therefore, unique, and so are their ways to accomplishing things. While maintaining protocols is important to achieve business goals, allowing remote workers to utilize methods and tools they have already proven to work is good practice.

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About the Author

Maricel Rivera manages content for Comindware, a global leader in adaptive BPM and project management solutions. You may connect with her on Twitter.

The Advisor’s Corner – How do I deal with so much on my plate?

How do I deal with so much on my plate?Question:

There is SO much on my plate – how do I sort out priorities, recognize the blocks, and keep an open mind for possibilities?

StrategyDriven Response: (by Roxi Hewertson, StrategyDriven Principal Contributor)

You might find that you are so focused on the ‘tasks’ at hand that the most important work is getting the short end of the stick. Let’s identify some ‘buckets’ to help you navigate your way to success.

Perhaps you have just been given a challenge to solve by your leader. Your job is to identify the relevant factors, create priorities, and then execute on your own or with others on your team. My advice: start by identifying which items fall into each of four buckets: Fat Rabbits, Quick Wins, Rocks, and Who Cares.

You know what a Fat Rabbit looks like, and it probably makes you smile! These are those parts of the challenge that are foundational, have the highest/fattest impact, and must be in place to succeed at executing your assignment. These are the big fat chunks of your challenge that need to be addressed or nothing else will work matter.

Quick Wins are those parts of your challenge that require minimal effort with maximum payoff. They demonstrate tangible, visible progress. Getting them done and making them known to the appropriate stakeholders, significantly boosts momentum. Too many people think they have to get the Fat Rabbits well underway or completed before going for any Quick Wins. Ignoring Quick Wins often results in Slow Wins or No Wins.

Then there are the Rocks. These are tough blocks in the road to completion of a successful challenge. These Rocks need to be identified without denial or wishful thinking. Pretending they aren’t there won’t make them go away. Sometimes Rocks are pebble like, and sometimes they are more like Mt. Rushmore. Solutions may not be known immediately, and that’s ok. You won’t move forward without moving the Rocks out of the way one way or another, or finding a way around them. If the Rocks are too formidable, reconsider the challenge – is it the right challenge at the right time? Moving Rocks requires a lot of effort and energy, so you need it to pay off.

Finally, we have the Who Cares bucket. These might be interesting, but they are a distraction. Identify the Who Cares items so your valuable time and energy are not waste and that no one really cares about.

Let’s take one challenge, Succession Planning and dip into the four buckets for a look. This sample is by no means complete, but it will give you the idea to apply to your own work.

Fat Rabbits

  • Define the workforce realities with indisputable facts, and create the ‘burning platform’ of urgency
  • Identify current competencies and compare with necessary next generation competencies
  • Align all HR/OD functions: to meet forecasted job content and design

Quick Wins

  • Learn why people come to work at ABC Company, why they stay, and why they leave
  • Identify key positions and key people to target for succession planning
  • Analyze internal/external labor demographics/pipelines


  • Decentralization reality vs. having one ABC Company strategy, are in conflict
  • IT Systems, as they are today, and aggregate data reporting are insufficient to collect enough accurate data

Who Cares

  • Offices need to be rennovated when people leave, thus impacting the budget (lots of things impact the budget – it’s off topic or very low priority)

When you focus on the things that really matter, you make progress. When you don’t, you don’t make progress. Make sure your Rocks are not show stoppers, then go for a few visible and happy Quick Wins as you work on your Fat Rabbits!

About the Author

Leadership authority Roxana (Roxi) Hewertson is a no-nonsense business veteran revered for her nuts-and-bolts, tell-it-like-it-is approach and practical, out-of-the-box insights that help both emerging and expert managers, executives and owners boost quantifiable job performance in various mission critical facets of business. Through, Roxi — “the Dear Abby of Leadership” — imparts invaluable free advice to managers and leaders at all levels, from the bullpen to the boardroom, to help them solve problems, become more effective and realize a higher measure of business and career success.

The StrategyDriven website was created to provide members of our community with insights to the actions that help create the shared vision, focus, and commitment needed to improve organizational alignment and accountability for the achievement of superior results. We look forward to answering your strategic planning and tactical business execution questions. Please email your questions to [email protected].