Procrastination is the working population’s biggest enemy. It’s happened to many of us: a quick check of Facebook somehow leads to looking at photos of someone’s cat or a short coffee break turns into a long chat with colleagues about the bank holiday weekend. Time can creep up on even the most organised of us. To help you beat the clock and stay on top of things, we decided to ask for help from the people we thought might have the biggest handle on things: Founders and CEOs. In the same amount of hours of the day that you and I have, founders and CEO have to make important corporate decisions, keep entire companies functioning, oversee (multiple) teams, and more. So, how do they balance everything? Here are the best productivity hacks that they use to stay organised.
Top Productivity Hacks
1. Give yourself time to get organised in the morning
Sorabh Dhir (Founder and CEO, docuvo): “As soon as I wake up, I check my messages and give myself an outline for the day. As I get ready and leave for work, I’m fleshing out each item. This means that when I start, I hit the ground running”.
If you’re a Londoner like Sorabh, you’ve probably got a bit of a commute. Use that time wisely to get the blood flowing so that when you arrive at the office you’re raring to go. Hitting snooze on that alarm clock is tempting, but you might have a less productive start to the day if you’re stumbling out of bed and rushing to the office.
2. Break up your day
Stephen Quinn (Founder and CEO, Jobbio): “Turn on the voice clock on your Mac. It says the time out loud on the hour, every hour. It’s a great way to not get lost in what you are doing. The only downside? It reads out the time when you’re streaming Game of Thrones”.
It’s easy to push things off when it’s 9AM and you’ve got the whole day ahead of you to work. But if you push yourself to get certain things done within the next hour, you’ll find that you’re finishing things faster. Setting the voice alarm is a helpful way of breaking up the day and reminding you when your internal deadline is approaching.
3. Learn how to prioritise
Luke McCormick (Founder and CEO, Edge Retreats): “I group tasks on Trello by ‘urgent’, ‘important’, ‘general to do’, and ‘delegate’. I also batch email sending/receiving and group together meetings to ensure I can carve out time to execute other important work”.
Even though you want to be a good team member, saying “yes” to delivering everything right away is a mistake. You can always challenge yourself to work more efficiently, but don’t be unrealistic about what you can achieve. Otherwise, you’ll end up getting overwhelmed and chased by multiple people because you’ve promised a certain deadline. As Luke suggests, you can order tasks by priority and plan your daily or weekly schedule accordingly.
4. Turn your workout into a learning opportunity
Vladimir Gendelman (Founder and CEO, CompanyFolders): “Staying physically fit is a huge part of leading a successful, balanced lifestyle, but many CEOs shy away from it because they think it takes up too much time. Instead of skipping the workout, turn it into a chance to learn. Listen to audio books while you exercise so you can stay up-to-date on the latest management and industry trends.”
It’s easy for CEOs to spend every spare minute working. You get up and rush to the office, or you come home at ten p.m. and crash into bed. But the truth is that exercising will give you the energy and mental focus you need to run your business well. By adding audio books to the mix, you can still feel like you’re working—even while you’re working out.
5. Create a to-do list
George Spencer (Founder and CEO, Rentify): “I save a draft email with all my to-do items for the day. I’ve never found another way of keeping track of things which is as convenient”.
Having a to-do list is perhaps the simplest yet most effective of all producitivity hacks. Whether you’re doing it via your drafts email like George or going old-school with a notebook, this will help you visualise your day and ensure you’re not missing anything out. Plus, there’s always that satisfying feeling of being able to tick something off.
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