Being the founder of a startup, especially one in its early stages, requires getting involved in all aspects of the business. From basic administrative tasks like data entry, email management, and digital document filing to marketing strategy and sales calls, you name it. You will also be obligated to attend numerous meetings with your teammates and business associates.
With all of the tasks piling up on your desk, it may be difficult to find time for the strategic thought and creative problem-solving that your startup requires to boost its business growth.
And productivity is an important component in determining a company’s success.
There are numerous well-known productivity tactics that can help you make the most of your time. Whether you’re looking for “The Rule of Three,” “Eat the Frog,” the “80/20 Rule,” or “SMART Goals,” it may seem like there’s something for everyone.
The truth is that not all of them will be effective for you. You may choose only one of them, or you may design a productivity approach that is unique to you.
To explore how that appears in practice, we recently asked 9 company founders to answer the following question:
What is your no.1 productivity hack?
So, let’s see what they had to say about it.
“Use the rule of 1. Focus on that one big thing you need to get done by the end of the day. Everything that comes after that is a bonus.
The second tip is to use time blocks. In your calendar, block specific daily times to create a routine and build a habit. You don’t need the motivation to be more productive; you just need discipline.”
“I would say a realistic daily to-do list out of the large to-do list. I look at which things need to be done urgently and the things that will have a major impact on the business, even though they might take longer to finish.”
“My no.1 productivity hack is to pair low-attention tasks with other tasks whenever possible; in other words, be doing two things at once. This includes: going for a walk during a listen-only conference call, catching up on phone calls while driving (not customer calls, but things like scheduling a doctor’s appointment, catching up with friends, calling vendors), and starting meal prep in between calls so it can cook while I work.”
“Get rid of all project management tools. Instead, use pen and paper, or the digital equivalent of it, like a notepad. Start the day by writing 2-3 things you have to accomplish. Also, if you can do any task in under 2 minutes, do it straight away without planning.”
“The best thing to boost productivity is to make your brain work even if you’re chilling at home after the workday. We often think that our brain is constantly trained — surely, we use it for work (at least some of us do) . Some people may think quite the opposite — our brain needs relief. Without a consistent approach to exercising, you won’t be able to achieve the desired effect.
My highly recommended brain exercise is Cutting off unnecessary things.”
“My number one productivity hack is to be fanatical about sleep and happiness. Of course, the two are linked as it is hard to feel joy if you’re exhausted. To sleep better, I exercise strenuously in the morning, fast from 6 pm – noon, don’t drink coffee, and walk in nature for an hour or more as often as possible. As an introvert, it is essential for me to reaffirm my sense of self, and doing that in nature, where I enjoy biophilic feedback, makes my body and brain work better and helps me to be happy and patient. I run a brain performance measurement company that seeks to understand our biological capacities and limitations.
Some things we can’t change, like our need to sleep, and others we can get better at, like our ability to focus. I’ve learned that working more makes me worse when I’m tired and often ends up being a downward spiral. So, on days when I’m worn out, didn’t sleep well, etc., I purposely work less and do simpler things. Some days I even take a 4-day work week. Being productive is a constant balance to maintain concerning our biological needs, so the more you can understand and measure your body and brain, the better you’ll be able to maintain an optimum state.”
“I only ever have 3 tasks ongoing at a given moment. To add one more task to my “in progress” list, I make sure to complete one of the three items. By doing that, I constantly prioritize what is the most important and deprioritize what isn’t. It’s a forcing function to only work on what’s most important.”
“A heavily prioritized KanBan board to manage all of my tasks. It stops me from getting distracted and bouncing from one task to another without completing anything. I finish the task at the top of the board and then move on to the next one down the list. I always know I’m working on the most important thing and always finish the task.”
#1 Being Productive in Your Entrepreneurial Life
1st principle: “Focus”; avoid conferences and all the noise from media, conferences etc.
Spend your day at your desk to
- a) Build product &
- b) Sell Product,
(in the evening when you are exhausted, that’s when you can maybe read some media, blogs, podcasts etc…when your real work is done!)To be productive in your limited career time as a founder:- Make sure you use your time well on selecting the “right startup”:
- “Find/solve a real painful customer problem that you understand better than anyone else”,
- “Build a product that focuses on that problem and those customers only”,
- “Assemble a team that obsesses about solving that particular problem better than anyone else”#2 Being Productive Every day
Plan your day’s schedule in advance.
Know what you’re doing when you’re doing it, and time box it on any given day.
Without a schedule, you might miss out important tasks.
Write down your day plan in the morning or better still, the night before.
Prioritise what’s important and urgent in a 4×4 matrix
– You are doing well if you spend most of your time in the “Important/Not urgent” box.
Do the boring stuff first so it does not disturb your creative mind for the important stuff.
And finally, always be prepared,
- before sales meetings,
- before internal product reviews,
- before meeting investors.To get help with focus and preparedness, please make sure your readers are aware of our Growth and Investment Readiness Platform Pitchago.com; to make sure you focus, get ready and execute!
Productivity is more than just accomplishing multiple things or crossing items off your to-do list. Productivity means concentrating on critical tasks. The road to becoming more productive can be long, so don’t become discouraged; instead, take one positive step at a time.
Test an infinite number of unique and unconventional productivity-boosting tactics until you find the ones that work best. And once you’ve found the right one, you’ll be able to get back to leadership, encouraging others, closing sales, and making a difference in the world.
To learn more about productivity in remote teams, read this article.