Startup founders are productivity gurus. Many of them work 12- and 16-hour shifts during their first two years in business. They’re focused, organized, and motivated.
They’re also mindful that they’re working with restricted resources. It’s the combined effect of these limits that force individuals to think of new methods to fill their time.
As a result, I asked a number of entrepreneurs to share their top work hacks for this post. If you’re weary of the same old productivity advice you get on the internet, you’ll appreciate these:
1. Embrace The Rubber Band Trend
To signify the ‘lead domino’ in your to-do list, Chris Whitrod, owner of Remote Workmate, recommends wearing a rubber band (or any bracelet) in your right hand. After you do the task, you can only shift it to your left hand.
You won’t get distracted if you can see the rubber band. It’s similar to Will Bowen’s A Complaint Free World’s “no complaint experiment,” in that it employs awareness to reinforce your aim.
2. Put A Stuffed Rabbit In Your Meeting Room
Every meeting room at The Zebra, according to CEO Adam Lyons, has plush rabbits.
No, they aren’t utilized to replace stress balls with plushy alternatives. “We wrote a company-wide email explaining the rabbits:
Feel free to (gently) chuck the rabbit at someone if they become stuck on something unrelated to the meeting’s agenda,” Lyons explains.
The cuddly rabbits keep the meetings on track, and it’s a lovely way to remind people not to slip down the rabbit hole. Our employees have told us that just seeing the bunny is enough of a reminder—we rarely have to use them,” Lyons adds.
3. Use Break Times for Networking
Bart Lorang, CEO of FullContact, attributes the sale of his first two businesses to his ability to network.
Are you trying to figure out how you’ll fit networking into your already packed schedule? Expand your network by taking advantage of lunch, dinner, and other scheduled breaks. It’s not as difficult as it appears.
Weave, a hybrid of Tinder and LinkedIn, allows you to swipe right (or left) to meet fascinating and like-minded professionals from various fields, according to Lorang.
Unlike masterminds, where you may be forced to mix with individuals you don’t want to meet, Weave allows you to choose who you want to meet.
Another useful tool is Let’s Lunch, a networking app that allows users to organize impromptu encounters based on their availability, location, and interests.
4. Automate and Batch Process Admin Tasks
Rich Shaw, the founder of Children’s News Network Inc, built his own ERP system using Microsoft Excel. “It takes care of everything for me,” he explains, including accounting, billing, and branding.
If you’re not an Excel whiz, don’t worry: a fast Google search will throw up a slew of free and paid options. Use a free invoice generator or a time-tracking and invoicing program like make some Time, for example.
Are you starting a business that isn’t based on providing a service? Do you run an online store? No problem; the video instruction below will show you how to use MS Excel to build your own purchase order template. Do you need a ready-to-use template? Simply complete this form and follow the steps.
Let’s Lunch is a networking app that allows users to organize impromptu encounters based on their availability, location, and interests.
5. Spy On Yourself and Minimize Online Distractions
I’ll just check Facebook for 5 minutes.
That’s correct. Willpower alone isn’t enough. It’s a limited resource that swiftly depletes when you push yourself too hard.
During office hours, use Stay Focused and Self-Control to prevent distracting websites. At first, relapse may make you feel like an alcoholic, but as your willpower grows stronger, it will become easier.
Still, having trouble concentrating? Use Rescue Time or Toggl to figure out what’s causing your distractions, explains Nedocs’ Christopher Zybert.
6. Eat Your Frog
Make the most of your time by tackling the most difficult task first. With that annoying work out of the way, your mind will be free of the tension it causes, and it will be simpler to concentrate on other activities, explains Simon Slade, CEO and co-founder of Affilorama and SaleHoo.
7. Accept Your Natural Productive Cycle
Are you a night owl or a morning lark? Make a decision right now.
Knowing “where, when, and how you’re most productive,” according to Jason Brewer of Brolik Digital Marketing Agency, is important to increase output with minimal opposition.
So, if you’re a night owl, don’t feel awful. Both circadian schedules have advantages and disadvantages.
8. Compartmentalize Your To-do List with Trello and Kanban
“I have distinct Trello boards for each customer, so they all feel that their project is my primary attention,” explains Gamkedo entrepreneur Chris DeLeon. But it isn’t the only advantage. “A short glimpse informs me what’s next and what’s already been done,” DeLeon adds.
Even a segmented to-do list, like a spring cleaning checklist that only had ‘paint the fence’ on it at first, but subsequently expanded into a full-fledged house renovation, might grow out of scale. This can be avoided using the Kanban approach.
Kaban with Trello gives you a visual picture of your to-do list while also reducing distractions by forcing you to concentrate solely on the tasks at hand. The whole tutorial may be found here.
9. Use A Managed Email System
Startup owners and their teams receive and respond to more emails than the average person. One missed email might have a huge impact on everyone. However, startup teams aren’t the only ones who struggle with email management. You could be one as well.
To manage your inbox, use a managed email solution like Inbox for Gmail, Sanebox, or Thunderbird. These tools can let you schedule emails to appear when you need them, mark emails as “done,” and organize them any way you choose.
“Using such tools may appear to be more hassle than it’s worth at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be hooked,” Rachel Collins, CMO of Danny Group LLC, explains.
10. Reply To Emails When The Recipient Is Asleep
You’ll get more responses if you send more emails. It’s usually not a problem until you’re drowning in unopened emails.
To avoid this, respond late at night or early in the morning when the recipient is sleeping. It’s far easier to process dozens of unopened emails if you’re not distracted by rapid responses.
11. Have ‘No Meeting Wednesdays’
Asana, a task management tool, doesn’t hold meetings on Wednesdays, a habit that CEO David Moskovitz likely picked up during his time at Facebook.
The rule’s goal is to provide employees at all levels with a block of uninterrupted work time.
According to the instructions “Moskovitz provided on Quora,” while managers are used to interrupting others for meetings and other errands, interruptions have a significant impact on the quality of work of makers (i.e., non-managerial employees).
12. Follow GTD’s 2-Minute Rule
Do you ever get that nagging feeling that there’s something you need to do but aren’t sure what it is?
In his best-selling book, “Getting Things Done,” David Allen outlines how people create unnecessary tension by deferring small activities in the mistaken belief that they would not affect them. In truth, it simply accumulates and is frequently the source of those nagging feelings.
For emails, Paul Nadjarian, the creator of Mojo Motors, employs GTD’s 2-minute rule.
Nadjarian says, “I do it immediately if I can answer, forward, or delegate it in two minutes or less.” But it’s not just email. You can use it for any work that is causing you to lose focus.
13. Kill 99% Of Your Ideas
“Work on 1% (or fewer) of the things you could achieve, and eliminate the rest 99 percent,” says Vladimir Babarykin, CEO of SpatialNote. That’s what I call radical focus!
He decided to chronicle every proposal he and his staff came up with after a year of running his company. He counted roughly 1500 ideas from his team after rounding them up.
He designed a method to filter the proposals so he could select the finest ones, knowing it would be impossible to act on even a tenth of them.
The author says, “Create a guideline to filter the ideas that pop into your head.” “Avoid the “shiny object” syndrome.”
It’s easy to be envious of folks who have it all: a successful startup, a strong entrepreneurial instinct, and an unwavering will to achieve. However, what you’re seeing isn’t the full picture.
CEOs and their teams at startups have difficult days, too. They just employ various ways to increase their productivity, which accelerates their progress toward success. These productivity techniques don’t require you to work for a startup.
Which of these suggestions are you intending to put into practice today?