When it comes to success in the corporate world, the importance of being able to focus cannot be overstated. The ability to block out distractions and concentrate on a particular task is one of the most important skills a CEO can have, especially in today’s distraction-filled world.

In this series, we look at the productivity habits of Malta’s foremost business people. Today we’re sitting down with Robert Zammit, CEO of Luxfair Real Estate.

How has the way you work changed over the years?

I think work has changed mostly due to the introduction of technology. One must not forget that the phone we have in our pocket is capable of doing a lot. From emails to social media, calendar to camera and so on. Having said that, I am still a ‘pick up the phone and call’ person. I make approximately 80 phone calls per day when I’m not caught in meetings. I find that phone calls work better and are a more effective method of conveying the message you want to convey.

What are your favourite productivity/time management techniques?

What gets measured gets done, so I try to convert each action I do into a number. What I mean by this is that if I’m answering emails, for example, I see the number of emails that are to be answered, allocate 3 minutes on each and I make sure that within the stipulated time, they are done. One has to be careful, however, not to fall into the trap of being efficient rather than effective. This means that a person may answer 100 emails per day, but what really needs to be measured is the effect these emails have, that is – are they getting the job done, or are we getting caught up in a hamster wheel of answering for the sake of hitting a specific number?

Do you have a routine of some kind?

Personally, I don’t like change so routine is important. I wake up each morning at 6 a.m. and hit the office by 7 a.m. I have a coffee and I’m on the phone by 7:30 a.m. I generally take lunch with one of my colleagues as this allows me to catch up on issues. I generally try to leave the office no later than 5 p.m. when I pick my son up most days of the week. A balance between personal life and work life should always be a part of any CEO’s schedule.

What time of day are you at your most productive?

Morning. If you start the day off well, the rest will follow.

What do you do during your breaks?

During work, I spend time bonding with my people and deal with any pending issues in my breaks. 

How do you get yourself out of a rut?

Getting stuck in a rut is normal. Sometimes it may be a personal issue, other times a work issue. Having said that, one must always self reflect on the good things/achievements they’ve accomplished so far, as this should give you the motivation to reach your next target. That t always works for me, at least.

What’s one object/gadget/piece of tech you can’t work without?

My phone. I can live without a laptop and even without a car, but I cannot function without my phone.

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