The following is a guest post from Meredith Wood, editor-in-chief of Fundera, an online marketplace for small business loans that matches business owners with the best funding providers for their business.
What small business owner couldn’t use more time in the workday? More time to take care of clients, more time to build businesses, more time for anything that comes up. A recent survey shows small business owners believe not having enough time is one of the most difficult aspects of running a business — in fact, one extra hour would be worth more than $500. Many of us yearn to be like those “super-efficient” people who seem to know some secret productivity hack to help them save time and be more productive. Even President Obama tries to pare down the number of decisions he has to make. He’s said, “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing, because I have too many other decisions to make.”
Here are 10 productivity hacks from leading entrepreneurs you can adopt to squeeze more time out of your day:
- Arianna Huffington (founder, Huffington Post Media Group): “My single most effective trick for getting things done is to stop doing what I’m doing and get some sleep.”
- Mark Zuckerberg (founder, Facebook): “I think a simple rule of business is, if you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress.”
- Dustin Moskovitz (cofounder, Facebook and Asana): “With very few exceptions, everyone’s calendar is completely clear at least one day out of the week, whether you are a maker or manager. This is an invaluable tool for ensuring you have some contiguous space to do project work. For me personally, it is often the one day each week I get to code.”
- Sam Calagione (founder, Dogfish Head Brewery): No meetings before 10 a.m. “Because once you’re in meetings, you’re no longer in charge of your schedule.”
- Jack Dorsey (founder, Twitter): “All my days are themed. Monday is management. Tuesday is product, engineering and design. Wednesday is marketing, growth, and communications. Thursday is partnership and developers. Friday is company and culture. It works in 24-hour blocks. Sundays are for strategy, and I do a lot of job interviews. Saturday is a day off.”
- Richard Branson (founder, Virgin): “I have always lived my life by making lists: lists of people to call, lists of ideas, lists of companies to set up, lists of people who can make things happen. Each day I work through these lists, and that sequence of calls propels me forward.”
- Alexis Ohanian (founder, Reddit.com): “We have a saying around the office about ‘Fancyhands-ing’ everything we can. It doesn’t roll off the tongue but trust me, once you start thinking like that you’ll find countless things that are better done by your remote personal assistant.”
- Bill Gates (founder, Microsoft): “I’m not big on to-do lists. Instead, I use email and desktop folders and my online calendar. So when I walk up to my desk, I can focus on the emails I’ve flagged and check the folders that are monitoring particular projects and particular blogs.”
- Tory Burch (founder, Tory Burch): I use my smartphone more than my computer. I check email as soon as I open my eyes—something I am working on. But I’ve learned my lesson about responding to emails in the middle of the night. You can’t just answer one, and before you know it, it’s 3 a.m.
- Howard Schultz (founder, Starbucks): “I get up around 4:30, and naturally the first thing I do is make some coffee.”
Take a look at your day-to-day. Are there frivolous tasks you are wasting your time on? If you could eliminate those, would you be able to focus more on what you do best? Even by simply picking one of these 10 hacks, you’ll starting saving time and putting more into what you really want to do – run your business.
Do you have productivity hacks? Share in the comments below!