Entrepreneurs always start their day with a goal in mind: to do better than yesterday. Their days frequently end with the thought that ‘I could have done more’.
It’s always helpful to look to the entrepreneurs who already tased the success, they have an approach to achieve more success.
We reached out to 8 top entrepreneurs to learn more about their approach to staying productive, how they organize their days for success and how they prioritize their tasks.
Productivity Hacks from entrepreneurs who already tasted success:
These hacks and strategies worth exploring to boost productivity at work.
Chris Brantner – Founder at SleepZoo.com
You often hear stories of entrepreneurs working insane hours and only sleeping 4-6. While short sleep is often seen as a badge of honor in small business, the truth is that it hurts productivity. Only a fraction of a percent of people in this world are truly the sleepless elite, those who can get less than 7 hours a night and not be negatively affected.
Almost everyone will experience a drop in productivity, cloudy headedness, and other negative effects when they drop below the recommended threshold of sleep. In fact, data shows that short sleep cripples your ability to problem solve and think creatively. It leads to impulsive decision making and makes it difficult to take a step back and look at the big picture.
For all these reasons, I suggest that the best sleep hack you can apply is rather than try and skimp on sleep, set a sleep and wake time that gets you 7-8 hours of sleep, and then stick to it, even on the weekends. When your body gets into the routine, you’ll find yourself feeling more refreshed and clear-headed than ever before. This will allow you to engage properly in working smarter not harder.
Bill Fish – Co-Founder, ( Tuck.com ):
My tip to being more productive is two-fold. I like to show up at least 30 minutes before normal office hours start so I can go a full 30 uninterrupted minutes getting caught up on emails before everyone else arrives, I feel like it gets me ahead for the day.
The second is that I turn off all notifications on my laptop when I’m working. Whether it is email, text, chat platforms, it doesn’t matter I turn it off. I don’t do well being interrupted when working on a project or email. If I have a moment of pause, then I can look to my texts, or chat, but with the amount of notifications the normal person has going on their computer, it is difficult to maintain one train of thought. Lastly, no reason to work 12 hour days.
Your brain can’t take it, work smart when you are at the office, and then get out and get some exercise and do something you enjoy outside of work. I’d rather come back fresh the next day ready to get after it.
Ally Compeau – Founder & CEO ( Woof Signs – www.woofsigns.com )
Keep Yourself Accountable: I have a call with my brother (and fellow entrepreneur) each morning. On our morning calls, we discuss our commitments for the day as well as where we landed the previous day. We are both fairly competitive and we’ll pretty much do anything to fulfill those commitments we’ve made out loud to each other.
As an entrepreneur who is working solo for the most part, it is extremely important to have accountability and even more helpful to share this with someone I trust and respect.
Make Your Work Attainable and Actionable: When embarking on a new business there are so many areas in which you can
possibly focus, and so many strategies you can potentially leverage – however – you cannot effectively do them all. Each quarter I methodically decide what I will tackle in the following three months and where I’ll place my bets.
From there I break the strategy down into weekly projects and daily sprints. Doing this helps me stay focused and accountable to what I’ve committed to. It also helps to make the larger strategies much more digestible and actionable as weekly and daily tasks.
Chris Wiegand – CEO ( Jibestream – Jibestream.com )
Nothing makes you more productive than pure tenacity. High-growth start-ups are hard and there are lots of ups and downs. No matter what the circumstances, as an entrepreneur you have to just keep going and ruthlessly prioritize your tasks and time. Exercise the 80/20 rule by focusing on the small number of tasks that have the most impact potential.
Having a morning ritual has been tremendously helpful for me. All before 7 am, my goal is to have taken my two dogs for a walk, gone to a CrossFit class followed by some stretching and meditation. This ritual is what really sets up my day for productivity.
After that, I update a daily list of things that are the highest priority and I do my best to stick to that list as close as possible. At the top of my list are strategic actions and revenue generating activities.
Jeet Banerjee – 25-year-old serial entrepreneur and TEDx speaker. Sold 2 businesses and launched over 10+ companies. ( JeetBanerjee.com )
First, I create a schedule of my day so I have an idea of what kind of pattern I need to follow. I list out all the tasks for the day that needs to be accomplished and during what time pockets I need to complete each task so I have an outline to follow.
Secondly, I try to avoid multitasking as much as possible. If you stay focused at one task and refuse to move to the next task until the first one is complete, you’ll find yourself being far more productive.
My best advice for new age entrepreneurs to be more productive at work is to shut off the technological distractions that we are surrounded by. I always put my phone on silent and face down so I don’t get to see when I get a notification.
In addition to that, close Facebook and all other social media tabs as you work. Keep the television off and just limit all the technological distractions that distract us.
Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com
One way for entrepreneurs to be more productive is to set your goals for the day to come the night before. Draft a to-do list of all of the items you want to cover and prioritize what needs to be done in order of importance. Whatever you don’t accomplish that day, you can add on your to-do list for the next day.
Maura Thomas – A speaker, trainer, business owner, and author of Personal Productivity Secrets and Work Without Walls. ( regainyourtime.com )
As a productivity trainer, this is what I teach my clients, but, of course, these are tips that I also use myself.
Attention management is an essential skill in the modern workplace. To stay focused, you have to take control of your technology. With so many alerts, messages and temptations from our devices clamoring for our attention, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that technology is supposed to serve us — not the other way around.
You’ll be able to do more focused work if you give yourself a fighting chance against technological distractions. Don’t rely on willpower alone! “Decision fatigue” is real. We have only so much willpower and ignoring email alerts and social media notifications tap it out. Here are some suggestions to reduce tech distractions and stay focused on your work.
- Learn how to use the Do Not Disturb feature on your phone. You can set your phone not to ring during time periods you choose or to allow calls only from certain numbers.
- You may already be setting your phone to vibrate at social events or other times you don’t want to be interrupted, but try setting it to silent instead. Even though the vibration doesn’t disturb others the way that a ringing phone would, you still know you have a call and that’s taking you out of the moment.
- Turn off notifications and alerts from emails. Do you really need an alert? Let me end the suspense for you: you have email! Now you can shut off the notifications.
- Turn off notifications and alerts from apps. These were not designed to serve you; they were designed to keep you coming back to the app. On your computer, turn off email downloads when you’re working. Work in offline mode if you can’t control the timing of the downloads.
Alexander S. Lowry – Master of Science in Financial Analysis at Gordon College
Keep a timesheet. Keep tabs on how much time you spend on each task by setting up a timesheet. This will allow you to see for yourself how you are spending your time, and it can also help you to identify when you’re at your most productive so that you can carry out complex tasks during these parts of the day.
Set boundaries. You have to get better at taking responsibility for and enforcing your boundaries to maintain your productivity. It’s very easy to start slacking. It’s easy to say to yourself “I can make up for this later” and then later never comes. The better you get at enforcing your boundaries, the more productive you’ll be.
You may find some of these hacks straight and simple, but trust me sticking to them with a discipline will make a difference.
In reality, you might not be able to use all of these hacks into your routine but once you find the right one for you, it will help in enhancing your productivity.