Modern life is filled with battles against information overload and constant connectivity. With so much effort spent filtering, absorbing, and prioritizing competing information streams, productivity often suffers.
Brief, one of the best collaboration tools, has been created to simplify and streamline the tools, processes, and time spent on planning and execution. We take productivity seriously, and we know you do too. That’s why we reached out to CEOs and business leaders to ask them one question: What is your secret to a productive workday?
Today, we’re bringing in some of the world’s most talented and ambitious entrepreneurs to share their best tips for increasing productivity so you’ll be prepared to stay at the top of your game every day.
Read on to see what they had to say:
1. Do One Thing at a Time
My best productivity hack for marketers: Do one thing at a time. Click To Tweet Even though all marketers have a million balls in the air, there are high switching costs to going back and forth. Once I start something, I try to finish before I move on.
Don’t plan too much. No matter how much we’d all like to define exactly what’s going to happen to us today, this month, this year or in ten years, we can’t see the future or plan for all the variables. While we can certainly set ourselves on a certain trajectory and be in situations that will help lead to success, allow for some flexibility, some pivoting and some fun from the unexpected.
Tim Chaves is the founder and CEO of ZipBooks (accounting and growth software). Tim previously founded and sold two small businesses, and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
2. Write Down Your To-Do List Early in the Morning
Answer the following question: What’s on this list that only I can do for my business? If you can’t find a quick answer, you have the wrong to-do list. You should know how you can add the most value to your organization and focus your time in doing those tasks.
–An award-winning marketer and entrepreneur, Maurilio Amorim started The A Group in 2001 after more than a decade of serving in the nonprofit sector. His passion for non-profits combined with his business acumen makes him a leading consultant for some of the world’s largest nonprofits, businesses and churches.
3. Plan Your Day The Night Before
I use Wunderlist to help me prioritize my day. I’m also constantly rearranging my priorities based on what the most pressing issues are. I rely on Freelancers to do simple things that they could take on that I don’t necessarily have to do like admin work.
–Keith Kakadia runs a social media management agency Sociallyin that helps brands of all sizes with different executions around social strategy. They have helped brands such as DICK’S Sporting Goods, TGI Fridays, and Floor & Decor.
4. Schedule Your Meetings As Early As Possible
I have two secrets I would like to share. The first one is to have all my conference calls and face-to-face meetings as early as possible in the day, preferably between 7:30 AM – 11:30 AM. Leaving time to work on tasks from the meetings held earlier in the day and a beautiful open space to ensure I can read emails and grow my company. By working this way, I get more done the same day plus I don’t have the stress of piling on tasks to my list of things to do the next day.
The second secret is to leave one day open to think about how to grow my business. This should be filled with meetings you initiate around business growth. It doesn’t matter if you are a CEO or VP, one of your main jobs is to ensure you are always on top of the competition, customer service, your product perception, etc. That is what this day is for. It is meant for you to ensure you get on top of all your tasks, plus think outside the box on strategy, growth options, and more. By carving out a day to do this each week or a day every two weeks you ensure you are keeping yourself, your staff and your company fresh with ideas and growth possibilities.
Chris Folayan is well established successful serial entrepreneur, board advisor, mentor, and speaker with over 25 years of C level role experience in software, marketing, and technology startups in addition to corporate acquisitions. Before Chris founded his current venture, Link Commerce and the award-winning Mall for Africa and Mall for the World platforms, Chris was the Founder and CEO of OCFX Inc a multi-million dollar globally recognized silicon valley based, award-winning software agency serving and consulting clients such as SONY, LSI, Cisco, HP, EPSON, TYCO, Accenture, CapitalOne, EMC, USA Government and many others in over 60 countries.
5. Block Off Time To Complete The Most Important Task
I block off “highlight” time every day to complete my most important task and use Todoist religiously. I’m constantly looking at ways to become more productive and specifically get more focused work done. Definitely read Make Time by John Zeratsky and Jake Knapp if you haven’t!
Jackie Hermes is the CEO of Accelity, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based marketing agency that drives growth in B2B software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies. Jackie is also involved as a mentor and advisor for several early-stage companies and co-founded Women’s Entrepreneurship Week in Milwaukee. Very active on LinkedIn and has an audience of nearly 30,000 followers, earning more than one million video views on topics like entrepreneurship, building a business, bootstrapping, and marketing.
6. Block Out Your Day For Different Types of Work
One of my biggest productivity secrets is time blocking. I’ve noticed that I work best when I don’t spend my whole day in email/admin mode. Instead, I block out my day for different types of work like Admin, Email, Invoicing/Finance, meetings, time meeting with my employees, networking, and calls. By doing this, I don’t spend my whole day in front of the computer and have a time limit on the different tasks I need to accomplish.
Another secret is remembering that as an entrepreneur, I can maximize my effectiveness my having happy, empowered, and motivated employees. As they do great work, it amplifies my work output and overall impact.
Jay Davis is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Creatably, a creative agency that focuses on working with disruptive startups to create an equally disruptive marketing strategy and scale their growth. Jay has generated over 250 million views for his clients and over $150 million in revenue using disruptive marketing tactics. Jay is happily married and the father of 3 beautiful girls.
7. The Key is Not To Prioritize What’s On Your Schedule, But To Schedule Your Priorities
More than 40 percent of the time at work is spent unproductively, according to a study by Atlassian, but following tips and putting a few strategies in place to organize your day can change that figure dramatically.
Be honest and specific about the task you assign to yourself, only assign what looks achievable to you because it is not just about keeping yourself busy but getting the most out of your day.
Kunika Rathore is a software engineer, entrepreneur, dance artist, designer, writer and the co-founder of theunknowns.ai, an IT company focusing towards to bridge a gap between the business/management suite and the technology.
8. Use Text-Based or Email Communication To Address Simple Questions
With 47 company exits via M&A or IPO, Andy Abramson and his agency team at Comunicano has led to many client successes using the value creation communications approach.
9. Map Your Ideal Week in a Spreadsheet
My secret to a productive workday starts with planning for my week as a whole. I mapped out my ideal week in a spreadsheet. Each day has a significant theme to it, and I have blocked off time each day to work on specific areas of my business. You, of course, have some things that pop-up that can make it challenging to stick to your ideal schedule 100% of the time, but it’s an excellent guidepost to have regardless. It makes a difference in how I spend my time.
Christopher White has spent the greater part of the last two decades working in the mobile software industry. In 2014 he created The Sneakers Agency in NYC to help startups and enterprises grow their businesses through mobile app strategy, design, and development. They are currently working with firms such as Equinox and Soul Cycle on mobile app projects and are starting to move into AR/VR/MR mobile app design and development.
10. Don’t Be That Guy Who Sends an Email at 4:55 pm
No day starts without a cup of caffeine before I turn on my laptop. I always start by going through all of my unopened emails in my inbox. Trash the spams, the ones that are trying to sell you stuff, the ones that make false promises as long as you respond with your availability for next week.
If you’re relying on anything from someone else, whether it’s a member from your team, a partner, or outside vendor, get in touch with them early. Give them the maximum amount of time that day to get to your request. Nobody will give their full effort when their attention is already out the door.
Believing that effective brands are built on human connections, defined positioning, and creative confidence, Olivia Kantyka leads the branding process by incorporating business strategy, creative direction, and marketing management. Working with startups, companies, and executives, Olivia is the starting point for building marketable and scalable brands.
11. Set the Scene
Set the scene by figuring out the environment that you’re most productive in. Is there a certain place in your home, a music playlist, specific coffee order, or type of attire that makes you feel your best? Know what your most productive scene looks like, and set yourself up daily with your ideal working environment.
Kaelin Poulin is the co-founder and CMO of LadyBoss.com, a global weight loss movement that has helped more than 1.3 million women learn to love themselves and lose weight. Learn more about Kaelin’s journey losing 65 lbs. and her adventure to maintaining her fitness as a new mother on Instagram at @ladyboss .
12. “How Could This Be Automated?”
My secret to a productive workday is through setting up automation systems and processes through tools such as Zapier and IFTTT. Every day, I look at every task in the way of “How could this be automated?“. As I set up new automation of tasks, processes, email responses, and more almost every day, my workdays become more and more productive.
Chris Kirksey is the founder of Direction.com. While serving in the US Army, Chris Kirksey quickly found a way to make additional income on the side through domain names and web design. At the end of his 6-year enlistment, he separated from the Army to pursue his dreams in growing his company, Direction.com.
13. Template Emails
Draft many template emails for recurring questions and set them as Canned response in Gmail.
Gilad Bechar is the founder and CEO of Moburst, the mobile marketing growth agency of Google, Samsung, Discovery Networks, and many other global brands and promising startups. Gilad is a thought leader who contributes about mobile marketing best practices for TechCrunch, Entrepreneur, TheNextWeb, VentureBeat, and Adweek. Gilad served as a mentor to rising startups at Microsoft Accelerator, Tel-Aviv University, Unit 8200, and for strategic Moburst clients and was the Academic Director of the Mobile Marketing and New-Media course at Tel-Aviv University.
14. Use a Project Management Tool
I use a (free) project management system for my personal life and my business: and then I invite collaborators to the system and we work on projects and tasks together in real-time so that we know who’s doing what, and when something is due.
Jessica Korthuis is the founder and CEO of Sohuis. Founded in 2016, Jessica has transformed what was once a consultancy-based company to an education-focused platform for female business owners. Jessica’s goal is to educate and empower female founders & aspiring entrepreneurs with branding and marketing resources so that they can level-up their marketing game and create authentic and meaningful brand strategies.
15. Use a Single Ecosystem To Run Your Business
The biggest productivity boost I found was by simplifying all of my tools, processes, and information into one ecosystem. Click To Tweet We were trying to use “the best” tool in every function and across every nuance; however, it provided more hassle than help. Using a single ecosystem to run my business has been the best move yet.
Stephen M. Lowisz is the Founder and CEO of 21 LEAP, a Fortune 500 consultant, and keynote speaker. He scales tech companies around the globe by combining automation, AI, and a team of world-class talent into one comprehensive outsourced sales function.
What recommendations do you have for others who want to increase their productivity? Please comment with your thoughts and recommendations.