We all wish each day featured a few more hours. But the truth is: more time doesn’t mean you’ll get more done. Unproductive work ethic will remain that way, whether the day has 24 hours or 36 hours. It comes down to how well you use each minute you’re given. And sometimes you spend your day toiling, only to find your still don’t have enough time. In each instance, one thing is clear: You need productivity hacks. And that’s where today’s article will make an impact. Founding, running and working in your own business is hard. Heck, you could probably write a short novel from the tasks on your to-do list. When it comes to productivity, we’ve categorized the hacks into three basic categories:
Apply these nine hacks to your daily life, increase productivity and conquer the world.
Take a note from Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder and CEO of Asana. His team uses a tactic called “No Meeting Wednesdays.” It gives them the time and space required to work on projects without the stress and distractions of meetings. As an entrepreneur, you have plenty of responsibilities that require your complete attention. When you have a day without meetings, you can solely focus on getting things done without any distractions. And if you play your cards right, get all your projects complete and don’t have any meetings, then you can enjoy a well-deserved day of relaxation.
Kevin Chou conducts stand-up meetings to direct his team every morning. Keeping things short and on track is the key idea behind these types of team meetings. When people sit down, you get comfortable and feel more relaxed to discuss a wide array of topics. If you need quick, effective team meetings, consider the stand-up approach.
On days you do have meetings, place them in manageable chunks of time. Your personal preference will dictate what this looks like. But essentially, you want to knock out all the meetings you can in one block of time. My day typically consists of knocking out tons of hyper-focused work in the mornings. Then I schedule any meetings with team members, clients or vendors during certain hours in the afternoon. It helps you stay in control of your schedule and build a business that works for you, not against you.
“Learn the keyboard commands for Mac Users or PC Users, and you’ll save enough time to watch an entire season of Mad Men.” - Charles Best
It’s a good day when I figure out a new keyboard shortcut. Over the past year, I’ve dedicated quite a bit of time to learning and implementing these shortcuts in my daily workflow. Now, I’ve not scientifically analyzed the time I’ve saved, but I don’t think Charles is too far off. Learn all the shortcuts. You can thank me later.
Email can suck away your time faster than just about anything. Learning how to control your email inbox is an artform. It requires dedication and patience, to say the least. A very simple way to getting more done starts with your email. Most people will check their email between 6-20 times a day. That’s nearly 1-3 times per hour! No wonder you can’t button up the details on that pressing project. There’s no perfect time to check your email. It depends on personal preference. Even cutting it back to three times a day would add to your productivity. Start with once in the morning, once before/after lunch and once right before you leave the office. The key is that you have a schedule and you stick to it. Speaking of email, I'd recommend you download our 7 Google Productivity Hacks.
Richard Branson says, “Manage your mobile, don’t let it manage you.” It doesn’t get much more simple than that. I don’t know about you, but my mobile phone buzzes all day with text messages, phone calls, emails and social media notifications. Recently, I started putting my phone (and Macbook) into Do Not Disturb mode while I’m doing something that requires my complete attention. This control over mobile consumption helps get tasks done quicker, because you’re not distracted every few minutes.
It’s hard to get things done when you have hundreds of distractions hitting you throughout the day. Really strategic entrepreneurs develop a work/life balance that gives them the opportunity to work while everyone else sleeps. This could be early in the morning from 4am to 7am, or you might prefer working after the family goes to bed. In any case, taking the time to get critical work when the rest of the world sleeps shows true hustle and determination.
According to what Parkinson’s law suggests, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” And it makes sense. Have you ever noticed that you could have a deadline in two weeks, but you wait and cram it all into a little time as possible? Instead of doing that and feeling the stress from approaching deadlines, discipline yourself to set time constraints. This method keeps you focused, heightens your energy levels and encourages completion rather than perfection. In the words of Nike, Just Do It.
You body operates on ultradian rhythms that fluctuate throughout the day every 90-120 minutes. These cycles provide signals of stress, anger or hunger. With the traditional 8 hour blocks of working time, we continuously fight against the natural rhythm of our body. Remain productive, energetic and refreshed by working in 90 minutes blocks, then taking 15 minutes to nap, eat or go for a walk.
Staying productive could mean the difference between landing your dream client and going out of business. That’s why, as entrepreneurs, we need all the help we can get. Comment below with other productivity hacks you could add to the list!