Welcome to Part 3 of the “45 Top Entrepreneurs Share Their Tips on How to Increase Productivity at Work” series.
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:
31. Learn Your Crew’s Work Styles
Learn your crew's work styles and create an environment that can support that. Click To Tweet
For example, I love to work sitting casually on a couch with a tungsten light palette, then eventually stretch my legs every now and then. My CFO thrives at a desk with fluorescent lights and a hardback chair. I’ve tried to make the change and my productivity goes down. When I try to join him in his office when we are going over reports, I can only do so much. On the flip side, I’ve tried to have my CFO sit on a comfy couch with me and get work done. He immediately starts to get too relaxed and starts to get into a more creative zone instead of working on the numbers.
Mary Munez is the founder and CEO of GoLucky Studios, a marketing and event/film production company that focuses on entertainment industry clients.
32. Speed Up by Slowing Down
A wise man once told me that I needed to speed up by slowing down. One of the ways that I go faster by slowing down is to invest 15 minutes every morning meditating. A quick meditation every morning using the Headspace App enables me to clear my mind and see the forest through the trees and focus on what is important for that day.
Zach Hendrix is the Co-founder of GreenPal which is best described as Uber for Lawn Care.
33. Keep Your Daily To-Do List No Longer Than Three Items
Although it sounds counterintuitive, have your daily to-do list no longer than three items. The three items on your list should be impactful tasks that will move the needle forward in your business. Do at least one of these first thing, before checking email.
Amanda Cook is the founder of Wellpreneur, which helps wellness entrepreneurs to grow their businesses online. She is the author of the bestselling book Wellpreneur, and its companion, The Wellpreneur Planner. Since 2014, Amanda has hosted The Wellpreneur Podcast, where she’s interviewed over 150 successful wellness entrepreneurs about what it really takes to have a successful wellness business today.
34. Limit The Hours
My top productivity hack is to limit the hours I work each day. If I know that I’m only working 6 to 8 hours a day, it forces me to set deadlines and complete tasks efficiently. In turn, I get to be at home more with my family and enjoy time spent outside of work!
35. Keep Focus
My secret to a productive work day is to schedule dedicated time on your calendar each day for focus. Instead of getting to the end of the day and feeling like I didn’t accomplish anything, I can look at my calendar each morning and know what I need to do. Some days it’s only a couple small tasks. Other days, my day is packed with to-dos.
Trivinia Barber is a straight shooter who uses her talents to help entrepreneurs maximize their time by effectively outsourcing. Founder/Owner of Priority VA, host of Diary of a Doer and mom of 4, Trivinia has mastered delegation and teaches others how to achieve success through this skill.
36. Meditate Daily
I attended a meditation retreat in Sedona a few years ago and feel that meditation is so helpful to stay clear-headed, present, and intentional throughout my day to day life. The concept of ‘short moments, many times’ is something I’ve tapped into. You can have small meditative moments throughout the day. It doesn’t necessarily need to be long sessions on a cushion.
After leaving the corporate law world, Evan Mendelsohn founded Tipsy Elves with his partner Nick Morton. Tipsy Elves is famous for its one-of-a-kind ugly Christmas sweaters after its appearance on Shark Tank, and since then the company has expanded to hilarious holiday apparel in all forms.
37. Forest Bathing
As the founder and CEO of a startup, as well as the mom of 2 boys, I increasingly long to cleanse my senses and clear my mind when the worries and stress accumulate. The best way I achieve work-life balance is to manage my stress levels with the Japanese practice of “forest bathing” called Shinrin-yoku. Forest bathing – going for a walk, surrounded by quiet greenery and clean air – is the most effective remedy that I’ve found. There is a silent, stress-absorbing quality to it. Best of all, I find that I don’t need lengthy hikes nor complete wilderness to feel the benefits of my “forest baths.” A quiet park with a good amount of tall trees will generally do the trick!
Sara Schaer, co-founder and CEO of Kango, is a serial entrepreneur. After working at a global digital photo/video e-commerce company, she started Kango after struggling to balance her responsibilities as a working mother. Her children needed a safe, reliable ride to school, but she was slammed with meetings all day every day. That’s when Schaer came up with Kango: a rideshare for kids based on safety, reliability, and trust. Kango recently announced a 3.6M funding round led by National Express. Kango is here to make sure you never have to miss a day of work.
38. Respond To Emails To Batches
I like to take time at the beginning of the day and end of the day to go through emails so that I can be more engaged throughout the day and not feel like I am always reacting to what’s coming at me.
Carlos Castelan is the Founder and Managing Director of The Navio Group, a consulting firm that works with retailers who want to transform their business.
37. Utilize Your Team
The easiest way to become more productive is to utilize your team. As an entrepreneur or as an executive, one of the easiest things to do is to overload your own plate. Once you’ve gathered the right team, let them loose! Leverage your team and your network (both in your industry and outside) to strategize, bounce ideas off of, etc. While rolling up your sleeves and getting things done, engaging your team is important (and extremely necessary as you scale and grow). Don’t be afraid to relinquish some of your work and decision-making to your team (with proper coverage) to ensure that you have the time you need to focus on strategy and the future of your business.
Todd Morrow has more than 19 years of experience in product development, merchandising and marketing. Prior to his role of HempMeds, Todd served as Vice President of Merchandising and Merchandise Planning & Allocation for Santa Monica-based company, Independent Pet Partners Holdings, LLC. Todd has a history of bringing products to market and brands to store shelves.
38. 30 minutes Interviews
When interviewing people for open positions, it should take no longer than 30 minutes. Let them talk for 20; you talk for 10. No matter how many interviews you have had with this person, 30 minutes, and you will know the answer on what to decide for what’s next.
Derek Evans is CEO & co-founder of Project 615 and author of a new book, “Made to Change the World: How Ordinary People Are Called to do Extraordinary Work, the Story of @Project 615.”
39. Keep It Clean
My secret for a productive day isn't so secret: I drink lots of coffee. Click To Tweet Another way I stay productive is to keep a clean, clutter-free environment so I can think clearly and creatively. When I have clutter on my desk, I become more distracted. I prefer to do things digitally if possible. Our practice maintains a paperless office. I don’t like to use paper because I feel it is damaging to the environment — I don’t even like when my kids draw on it!
Felix Shipkevich is the founder and CEO of Hotspot Law, a new platform/app service that allows consumers to book free consultations with local attorneys. A New York City attorney for over 16 years, Shipkevich is also the owner of Shipkevich PLLC.
40. Stay Creative
To be more productive, I try to find creative ways to multi-task that incorporates work and exercise. When I worked at large companies, they had gyms at the office or groups who walked at lunch, but when you are an entrepreneur, you have to get creative to find balance. Instead of meeting up with your local colleagues at a coffee shop, over a meal or chatting with them on the phone, meet them for a walk so you can catch up while you are getting some exercise too.
Paige Arnof-Fenn is the founder & CEO of global marketing and branding firm Mavens & Moguls based in Cambridge, MA. Her clients include Microsoft, Virgin, The New York Times Company, Colgate, venture-backed startups as well as non profit organizations. She graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Business School. Paige is a popular speaker and columnist who has written for Entrepreneur and Forbes.
41. Stay Motivated
I encourage entrepreneurs to search for authenticity and passion in their business so their motivation never runs out and their productivity never falls short. The best way to stay productive is by matching your excitement for your idea with excitement for tackling the challenges that make it successful. These challenges are there to help you stay motivated, so embrace them!
William Griggs is the CEO of Virtual Reality Rental.co, the leader in bringing VR technology to corporate events, trade shows, conferences and more. Before starting his own virtual reality tech company, he was a customer acquisition strategist and enjoyed helping startups improve the online lead generation. In addition to a decade of growth hacking experience, William makes time to contribute his entrepreneurial advice to Mashable, VentureBeat, & The Next Web.
42. What Makes You Valuable For a Team?
Don’t be a jack of all trades and a master of none. While having a broad range of skill sets is vital, I think it’s more important to focus specifically on what makes you valuable to the team. This helps clarify roles, delineate work streams, and increase overall productivity by allowing yourself and your team to focus on their individual strengths to achieve team goals.
Anthony Franciosi is the founder and head grower of Honest Marijuana Company, which utilizes all-natural cultivation methods to produce only the finest organic and eco-conscious cannabis products.
43. Quit Social Media (Again)
It may be daunting to many, but ditching social media was one of the best things I ever did to enhance my productivity. Like many people, I struggled to get the most out of my day. Finally, I realized that I was wasting a lot of my time each day – but when and on what? I started a 7-minute diary, which is a habit to track your daily activity down to 7-minute chunks of time. Broken up in this way, it was easy to see how much of my day was spent on productive work as opposed to entertainment. When I realized that social media was the number one culprit in my life, I knew it had to go! That being said, I couldn’t bring myself to kick my Madden habit.
Yaniv Masjedi is the CMO at Nextiva.
44. Prioritizing The Challenges Which You and Your Team Must Solve
When you’re trying to decide which problems to tackle first, step back and evaluate each issue to determine which dilemma has the highest cross-departmental ROI. Which problem creates the biggest traffic jam preventing others from effectively performing their job? Which problem on the list will benefit the company’s bottom line most once a solution is found?
When time is of the essence and resources are limited, assess the urgency and importance of each problem that your company faces. Get your team involved in a priority-setting exercise where you rank problems based on both short-term urgency and long-term importance. You’ll discover some problems that aren’t important yet feel urgent and other issues that are important but not urgent. Start by tackling any problems that are both important as well as urgent and de-prioritize “empty” problems that aren’t extremely important OR urgent. This will help you and your team quickly unclog bottlenecks which will lead to increased productivity.
In 2009 Abhi Lokesh co-founded Fracture, a company that allows users to upload digital photos, have them printed on glass and shipped in an eco-friendly ready-to-mount package. Now listed among Inc.’s top 5,000 companies, Fracture is vertically integrated and has been profitable every year since 2015 — earning over $15 million in revenue last year alone.
45. Structure Your Day For Success
A lot of people jump right in to their workweek, toggling between tasks from morning until evening, constantly spending their days in a reactive mode. This can lead to burnout quickly, and working this way reduces the quality of your output. I prefer a structured day, planning my weeks several days in advance. I set aside larger blocks of time for creative tasks, and shorter blocks of time for easier tasks. When it comes to meetings, I like to keep them structured as well, so participants can easily understand its purpose and what the next steps are.
Ari Haas founded Dijy, a digital marketing firm, with a vision to help New York and New Jersey-area businesses improve their online marketing and sales in an evolving online landscape.
What recommendations do you have for others who want to increase their productivity? Please comment with your thoughts and recommendations.