If there’s one thing I still haven’t mastered, it’s productivity. For all the apps out there to help you manage your productivity, I still find myself occasionally mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, or Twitter, or even just watching TV.
While we all need breaks once in a while, it’s easy to let a “break” slip into a lazy afternoon. Like many skills, you have to practice, train, and get inspired to make yourself better. After all, maybe you want to finish writing that novel, start your own business, hustle harder to make extra money, or even be a better parent/spouse/friend!
For me, listening to inspirational people like entrepreneurs (which I aspire to be) is the best way to get myself focused and productive. The following five entrepreneurs all offer many suggestions to be more productive, and here are their top 5 productivity hacks to get you more focused and productive as well.
1. Tony Robbins – “Ditch Your To Do List”
While it seems completely contrary to productivity, Tony Robbins, an author and motivational speaker, recommends you kick your to do list to the curb. The reason for this is to keep you from checking tasks off and ignoring your Master Action Plan (MAP).
According to Tony, you need to define what it is you want to accomplish. Once you identify that big goal, then everything you do needs to fall into place to achieve that goal. Your MAP will help you define the steps you need to take to achieve that goal, but they won’t be to do list type tasks – they will be strategies and actions to accomplish your plan.
2. Tim Ferriss – “Have a Not To Do List”
Tim Ferriss, writer, investor, and entrepreneur, recommends saying “no” more often. In fact, Tim says he even has a “not to do list”, which allows him to get more accomplished than a to do. In Tim’s case, having a not to do list seems more to do with automating your processes so you just don’t have to think or worry about them anymore.
Consider this approach in your day to day life, if you can get away with it! This may mean coming up with strategies for tackling boring meetings – can they be shortened or done away with entirely? Maybe you can have a meeting via an email update or quick conference call. Personally, I’ve found setting an agenda for meetings to be really helpful in getting meetings out of the way faster. Sometimes we find we don’t need to have meetings at all when our agenda is only 2 items long!
3. Tracy DiNunzio – Escape the Workplace
Tracy DiNunzio, entrepreneur and CEO of Tradesy, recommends getting out of the office one day a week – and avoiding multi-tasking. For many of us, getting out of the office might be impossible, but what about getting to work earlier or staying later? Having a quiet work space with no interruptions is one of the best ways to get the maximum amount of work done – and done well.
Perhaps telecommuting could be in your future, too, if you sell the idea well to your boss. You may be able to flex your time by working late some days and working from home (on a shortened schedule, even!) on Friday or Monday. Depending on your workplace, you might be able to virtually access your work computer from home and just check in via conference calls with your boss. If you’re more productive at home, it could be a win-win for you and your office!
4. Dustin Moskovitz – “No Meetings Wednesdays”
The co-founder and CEO of Asana and co-founder of Facebook recommends giving yourself one day of no meetings to get consecutive, contiguous work done. Much like Tracy, Dustin says he works best with no distractions, which means no planning for and attending meetings that may be only semi-useful to attend.
Once again, depending on your office, you may not be able to get out of meetings entirely once a week, but if you could block out time on your calendar to have a free morning or afternoon, you could get some serious work done. Those uninterrupted hours could be the time you get your more difficult, brain-intensive and time consuming work done.
5. Warren Buffett – Prioritize Your Goals
No article about productivity hacks from successful entrepreneurs would be complete without advice from Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha. Buffett recommends the best way to be most productive is identifying your top 25 life goals. What do you want to accomplish in your life? This goes beyond just work, and includes family, travel, financial goals, and anything you could possibly think of.
Once you have 25 goals listed, circle your top 5. What are the top 5 things you want to accomplish in your life? Once circled, cross out everything else. That’s right, just cross it out. Don’t even think about touching anything you crossed out until you’ve achieved your top 5 goals. Come up with a plan to achieve each of the those 5 goals, and consider yourself very, very productive once you’ve accomplished them!
Basically, these productivity hacks from successful entrepreneurs focus on identifying what it is that makes you passionate. What do you want to do with your life, what do you want to get from your work? Once identified, don’t let anything get in your way. Say no to things that waste your time, block out time from your schedule, and guard it so you can get things done and get closer to accomplishing your goals.
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What are your favorite productivity hacks? Which one of these productivity hacks was your favorite?