13 Entrepreneurs Share Their Efficiency Secrets

New entrepreneurs are efficiency gurus.

During their first two years in business, many of them work 12- and 16-hour shifts. 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 with the same old productivity advice you get on the internet, you’ll appreciate these:

Productivity Hacks That Are Weird, Effective, And A Little Crazy

Related: 8 Verbal Strategies to Increase Likeability

1) Take use of break times to interact.

Bart Lorang, the 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.

Let’s Lunch, a networking app that allows users to organize impromptu encounters based on their availability, location, and interests, is another useful tool.

Related: 9 Ways to Break Through Creative Block and Unlock Your Talent

2) Admin Tasks Can Be Automated and Processed in Bulk

Rich Shaw, the CEO 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 instructions.

3) Monitor Yourself and Cut Down on Online Interruptions

stay focus

I’ll simply spend 5 minutes on Facebook. 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 StayFocusd and Self-Control to prevent distracting websites.

Relapse may make you feel like an alcoholic at first, but as your willpower develops 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.

Related: The Most Effective Work Planners to Help You Cope With Life

4) Get on Board With the Rubber Band Craze.

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.

5) Bring In A Stuffed Rabbit To Your Meeting

Don’t Fall Down the Rabbit HoleI’m Adam Lyons, CEO of The Zebra, and he claims that every conference room has stuffed 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.

6) Consume 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) Make Use Of An Email Management 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.

8) Killing 99 Percent of Your Ideas is a Smart Idea.

“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.

“Create a guideline to filter the ideas that pop into your head,” says the author. “Resist the enticement of the shiny thing.” (Share this quote on Twitter)

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.

9) Respond to Emails When The Recipient Is Dozing Off (tweet this quote)

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.

10) Designate Wednesdays as ‘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 guidelines Moskovitz posted 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).

11) Use the 2-Minute Rule from GTD.

Accomplish you ever have 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 (GTD), 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. “I do it immediately away if I can answer, forward, or delegate it in two minutes or less,” Nadjarian says. But it’s not just email. You can use it for any work that is causing you to lose focus.

12) Recognize and Respect 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. As you’ll see in the video below from AsapSCIE, both circadian schedules have their advantages and disadvantages.

13) Use Trello and Kanban to Organise Your Must List.

“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.

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