Are you working in a startup or an ever-growing company? If that’s the case, you can hardly find time for pleasure. You always have new tasks to complete and more responsibility to handle. That’s a problem, but guess what: the CEOs and teams of many startups face the same issue. They handle multiple tasks in a single day, including marketing, hiring, sales, communication with the audience, and more. As they are trying to make themselves more productive at work, their personal lives suffer the consequences.
How do they handle the pressure?
This is the main rule: simplicity. Mark Zuckerberg, for example, wears the same type of clothes to work every single day. Steve Jobs had the same approach. Productive people are saving their energy only for the necessary things. When something is not necessary (such as daily style, for example), they sacrifice it for the sake of priorities.
You want more tips like that one? We’ll share what successful people do to boost their productivity.
1. Do the Least Desirable Task First
Alok Bhardwaj, founder of Hidden Reflex, has a simple rule: start the day by doing the thing you don’t want to do first. It doesn’t have to be the most important thing; just pick the task that’s giving you the least pleasure.
Don’t read any news; don’t check social media or email; don’t do anything to relax in the morning. As soon as you’re done with personal hygiene and breakfast, do that task that’s burdening you.
If you do this in the morning, the rest of the day won’t be daunting. You’ll have enough time to complete the less stressful tasks, and you’ll be ready for family time by the evening. Leaving the most burdening task for later creates anticipation that leads to more stress. By the time you get to that task, you won’t have enough energy to handle it.
2. Stay Focused!
Focusing on a single goal is a common characteristic among successful CEOs. They might work on different projects, but they still had a single greater goal ahead.
Find your goal. Everything you do at work should be related to that goal. When you face responsibilities that aren’t directly related to it, it’s okay to say no to them.
“Pick one thing and do that one thing – and only that one thing – better than anyone else ever could.” -Jason Goldberg, CEO of Fab
When you’re focused only on your top priorities, it’s easier to fit your personal life among them. Suddenly, you’ll realize you have more time than you assumed.
3. Do Fewer Things
Auren Hoffman, CEO of SafeGraph, shared a nice tip on a Quora thread: do fewer things. “The biggest mistake most CEOs make is that they try to do too much. The real winners are the ones that do fewer things… but do them great. Of course, this is not just true for CEOs – it is true for everyone.”
Don’t multitask. Do one task after another. Even if that means completing fewer tasks, staying focused will help you do them better.
Don’t say yes to all opportunities. You’ll be getting tons of interesting offers when you’re successful, but that doesn’t mean you should embrace them all.
“The real winners are the ones that do fewer things… but do them great.” – Auren Hoffman, CEO of SafeGraph
4. Use Apps and Tools, but Not Too Many
Cathy Whitley, co-founder of SuperiorPapers, explains: “Productivity apps and online tools help you stay on track with your schedule, but let’s face it: they only slow you down if you use too many of them. Do you really need Evernote, Remember the Milk, Google Calendar, Spending Tracker, ZenWriter, Write or Die, and every other tool someone recommends as useful? Every tool has a learning curve. You can’t waste time on mastering one, only to replace it with another one next week.”
Use only the apps and tools you need. If you try a tool but you can’t get used to it after two days, get rid of it. Search for a simpler alternative.
Pick multitasking tools. Strict Workflow, for example, is both a Pomodoro timer and a blocker of distracting sites. There’s no need to use two different tools for these productivity functions.
In the same Quora thread we mentioned above, Josh Fechter, evangelist for AutopilotHQ, shared an insightful tip: “Replace yourself. Don’t get caught up in the ‘I’m the only one who can do this’ mentality. It will break you. You have to constantly let go of the work you’re doing, so others can do it. In turn, you need to trust your employees. If you don’t then they’ll work crazy hours for no good reason. NOT SMART.”
Whenever you can delegate a task, do it. Delegating means more time for priorities, so you’ll get your work done faster than usual. That’s the best strategy for getting that personal space you desperately need.
Did you get the inspiration you needed? The tips from the pros are always useful. Instead of being sorry for not being productive enough, it’s time to do something about it. Make the first steps today!