Being a CEO of a startup either it is of 5 only or 100+ people, you are still expected to have hands everywhere from presenting your idea to making sales calls. Surely, 24 hours is not enough for all of that. So many meetings with co-workers, clients, partners! The head is spinning.
Then you hear about “the 4-hour working week” from some successful entrepreneurs and say “Yeah, right!” nervously searching a spot in your calendar for another emergency meeting.
So each startup CEO is constantly looking for productivity hacks that will help their startup grow and leave some private free space for a person itself. Actually, high productivity is a thing that any individual wants to achieve no matter which position he or she occupies.
What goes into this notion? That’s maximum returns you get for the minimum efforts you put, simple as that. Without further ado, let’s dive deep into an extremely exciting world of productivity hacks that the most successful CEO’s have already put into everyday practice and enjoy squeezing the most value out of each day!
Effective productivity hacks
As healthy people are more creative ones, we will start with the so-called health hacks.
#1. Keep up the good health
It is a great way to help yourself be more productive. The only problem here is that everyone understands it, but actually, just a few ones implement it in their everyday routine. Although it doesn’t only makes you fit but keeps you focused and motivated, improves mood and reduces stress.
Eat healthy food
Seems easy? Then why don’t so many people do it, and instead prefer fast junk food to the one that can really extend your life and improve the feeling of wellbeing?
Usually, adults need around 7 hours of sleep, although it is up to you. Possibly more important is to go to sleep and awake at precisely the same time—discipline, you know! In general, it will clear all the mess from your head after a long working day.
Have enough rest
There’s should be a mix of free time for yourself and for the closest people you want to spend time with. It will act as a recharging opportunity.
Listen to music
Most people admit they get into a productive trance while listening to music. You might wanna try out different genres before you find the one that works best for you.
# 2. Get rid of the extra
What you are focusing your attention on will define the results you get.
The more noises you exclude from your space the more focused you are on the most important tasks you have. For that prepare yourself to disable notifications on your phone and computer, close all chat apps and log out the social media accounts, inform your colleagues and family of your “do not disturb” time.
Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? Well, by doing the described actions you’re most likely to hit into that 80% of work done for 20% of the time! Craft this habit and you’ll be amazed by the results.
Write all down
It’s not only about setting a plan. You can simply write down all the ideas that come to your mind. The main action here is to make your brain free from the need to remember all the extra things that can be taken care of some other time.
One task at a time
Multitasking might be misleading as you might seem to do much more in the same period of time. You won’t, relax! One thing at a time, step by step and you will get the desired results.
Some might think that a really successful CEO need to have multitasking as a habit, but in reality, it is a proven productivity killer. So make a habit to devote your 100% of focus to just one task!
Practice focus sprints
You might want to use a range of techniques that might boost your focus for a limited period of time. One of the most famous ones is the Pomodoro technique that requires setting a timer and working for 25 minutes focused on just one task with a 5-minute break. It is repeated for several times (around 3-4 times) totaling in 1.5 – 2 hours and ending with a 15-30 minutes break.
Organize the working space
Clear and organized surroundings structure your thoughts, therefore, making it much easier to get the needed task done rather than searching for essential files or arranging a pile of sheets. Having fast computers, quality furniture, and office supplies increases your efficiency.
For every CEO it becomes obvious that it is impossible to always please all around and have successful projects behind the back. Moreover, sometimes you should say “No” even to your family or the closest friends as they tend to take your precious focus time. It results in killing productivity.
Surely, you need to give attention to colleagues and family, but it should be done within the reserved for such things time. In general, when an inquiry comes, you should either refuse it or schedule for some other time to handle it.
#3. Make the right plans
It is not about finding more time to fulfill your plans but implementing the right plans at the same time slot available.
Build a long-term plan
This plan will give you an opportunity to see your goals. It will motivate you and your team while short-term plans give you exact steps to take at the moment.
Create a short-term plan
Planning a whole month, week and a day are essential. It gives the whole picture of what should be done and at the of the day what has been already completed. You can see how you progress over your tasks and whether you are on the right path to your long term vision.
Some say the best time for planning is each night before the upcoming day. Just don’t plan too much as it might cause you feeling frustrated in the evening if something goes wrong or not the way you planned. Most successful entrepreneurs prefer planning a limited number of really important tasks (let’s say, three) and only after all of them are completed they can devote some time to the smaller to-dos.
Planning is useful for not only your professional sphere but personal too.
Prioritize the main tasks
You might choose to do some simple tasks like answering lots of emails, social media messages, etc. But let me ask you a question, would that be the most important task for you to do? Probably, no. So I’d say, prioritize in order to have a real feeling of making the real progress towards your long-term goals.
What about the rest? The next hack might be of great help here.
In the already mentioned “The 4-hour working week” piece written by Tim Ferriss, delegation is one of the core productivity hacks. This will free you up from the less important tasks and let you focus on the global ones. It is useful even if the task takes you just a few minutes to complete it.
Limit non-essential decisions
Continuing the previous, there is a phenomenon known among the CEO’s called decision fatigue. You would probably like to avoid it. Put it simply, the more decisions made in a day, the more mentally fatigued you’ll feel. One of the greatest examples is Mark Zuckerberg wearing the same t-shirts each day. It excludes time loss and inner tension on decision making.
#4. Learn from the greatest
Previously we have described the most common hacks, although there are lots of specific ones beyond that list. Let’s name some of them to have a wider picture!
No meetings day
It is a Facebook hack implemented to allow co-workers having an uninterrupted time for the tasks to be completed. No distractions, more focus results in more work done.
A work-from-home day
That’s a hack from the Hubspot’s CEO Brian Halligan. He prefers to get more work done in a new way taking a Wednesday as a work-from-home opportunity.
Get rid of the office
Modern entrepreneurs find remote work being more productive than the one performed in the office area. There are numerous examples where that works perfectly, like Buffer, Zapier, Basecamp or another more than 600 companies around the world allowing their co-workers to perform partly or fully remote.
Use a whiteboard for the tasks listing
Some entrepreneurs note how important it is to actually see their own tasks directly in the office space. That doesn’t exclude using usual planning tools like Trello, Evernote or Jira. As some people tend to perceive information visually with more efficiency this method might work for those perfectly.
Use a post-it note with 3 most important tasks for a day
That’s another interpretation of the need to emphasize only important things for a day to accomplish. Its benefit lies in the note size limitation.
Add the “sent from iPhone” signature to email
This might seem strange, although it works as an excuse for keeping your emails small.
Get to the office earlier than the rest
A co-founder of Virtu suggests to show up in the office in about an hour and a half earlier than everyone else due to real opportunity to get more done in a way less time.
A 2-minute rule
The author of “Getting things done” David Allen recommends to use a simple technique: a task that requires only 2 minutes to be completed should be done immediately. It is an easy-to-follow rule and makes a huge impact on productivity.
Do the least desirable task first
That’s a very satisfying approach when you get the stuff done first thing in the morning. It releases possible pressure and makes you feel very pleased with yourself. Not to mention, the huge motivation you get afterward.
How to make those hacks work
Easily! Just don’t overload yourself by taking it all into practice at once. Surely, not all of them will work for you. To know the best ones for you to give each one of them a try. Three simple steps will be of use here:
- Choose the one that sparks your interest the most.
- Input it into your plan immediately and make a commitment to stick to that plan.
- At the end of the week evaluate what positive (or if so happened, negative) effect it had on you and decide whether it is worth to implement in your everyday routine.
If you liked any of the hacks and have a desire to give it a try in your life, share in comments which one makes the best choice for you personally!
We’ve mentioned the most common productivity hacks here along with some specific ones. Believe me, there are a lot more other hacks spread around the network. Try searching if you like or simply put the mentioned ones to the practice. Choose your way!
Here’s a final note—the best way to feel productive is to try out the hacks from the most successful CEOs and if lucky enough make up your own ones that might be some of the mentioned ones, a mix of them or brand new ones that you will brainstorm while experimenting.