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The Best 50 Productivity Hacks for Entrepreneurs

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Being productive as an entrepreneur isn’t easy. There are so many distractions out there that it can be hard to make progress towards your goals. But it’s not hopeless. There are tools and methods that you can use to get superhuman productivity.

Here are 50 of the best productivity hacks for entrepreneurs:
1. Avoid commuting to the office

Commuting is stressful, time intensive and causes friction in your day. Avoid if at all possible!

2. Learn how to say “No”

Avoid being a people pleaser, say no to opportunities and favours and you will find yourself with more time to reach your goals

3. Do the most important task of the day first

In the morning we have the highest willpower levels, use this to complete the hardest task first . This makes the rest of the day’s tasks seem easy

4. Keep your phone in airplane mode until your first task is done

This ensures the first task is done with the distraction of a pointless phone call.

5. Use sleep cycle to wake up with energy

SleepCycle is an app that monitors your sleep cycle so it can wake you up at the optimum time in a 30-minute window.

6. Exercise in the morning

Richard Branson claims exercising in the morning gives him 4 more productive hours in a day.

7. Be goal orientated rather than following a todo list

Always align your tasks to an outcome ie. if it doesn’t increase revenue don’t prioritise it.

8. Meditate using Headspace

Meditation clears your mind and lets you develop laser focus and Headspace guides you through the process.

9. Use the Pomodoro technique

The Pomodoro technique is 25 minutes of work followed by a 5-minute break, quite simple it works.

10. Start the day of using the 60-60-30 technique

This ensures your first 2 biggest tasks of the day get done with ease. 50-minutes work, 10-minutes break, 60-minutes work and then 30-minutes break.

11. Avoid meetings

Meetings are usually a waste of time. Avoid meetings if you can and cap them at 20-minutes if they are unavoidable.

12. Remember the Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle states that 80% of your results in anything stem from 20% of your actions, identify the 20% of actions that create 80% of your revenue and double down on them

13. Avoid eating big meals during the day

Eating big meals sends blog from your brain to your digestive system, leaving you feeling lethargic and stupid.

14. If it takes less than 2 mins do it now

For example, if you open an email in your inbox reply… don’t leave an “open-loop” in your mind.

15. Check emails 2 times a day

Email and messaging apps like slack are massive time wasters. Create an autoresponder telling people you check emails only 2 times a day and if it’s super important they can speak with your PA.

“There is no substitute for hard work.” – Thomas Edison

16. Tell people to stop distracting you

It takes you 25-minutes to get back to your original level of focus after distraction, make co-workers realize that.

17. Use background music

Use FocusAtWill, Brain.fm or youtube alpha waves/classical music to focus whilst working. Music you like with lyrics is always distracting.

18. Plan your day the night before

Wire your brain for productivity by going over your day the night before.

19. Make 60-second decisions

Don’t sweat over decisions or spend too much time deliberating them because it tanks your mental energy. The 60-second decision is a powerful concept.

20. Don’t start the day with distraction

80% of smartphone users check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up. The first hour sets the precedent for the day so don’t start it with distraction.

21. Make your work environment comfortable

To get into “flow” state you need to be in a comfortable environment, make sure your office isn’t cluttered or messy and that your seat is comfortable.

22. Stick to your routine

Whenever you can do the same things at the same times of the day, this allows you to create a habit and means in the future the task will take no energy to do.

23. Wake up early to do your morning routine

If you can get in the habit of a morning routine you will set yourself up for success. It will allow you to guarantee a productive day.

24. Reward yourself

Pick times to cool off and reward yourself like lunches with a friend or a walk to a coffee shop at mid-morning when you’ve completed your second task.

25. Pick a calendar management tool

Fantastical 2, Omnifocus, Wunderlist, Trello, Asana are all great calendar management tools.

26. Schedule tasks

Tasks always expand to the time you have. Schedule them at a certain time and duration to ensure they get done.

27. What gets measured gets managed

Always review your work day and week. What got done? What didn’t get done and why? How can I streamline my productivity process?

28. Don’t multitask

Multitasking lowers your IQ as much as smoking weed. Avoid this!

29. Use the 6 list rule

Every working day write down 6 tasks in order of importance and tackle them one by one. If some don’t get completed reorder into the next day’s list.

30. Drink more water

When you wake up drink 0.5L of water immediately to replenish your body after a waterless night. Keep drinking water throughout the day to improve focus.

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”  – Stephen King

31. Use stayfocussd to block distracting websites

StayFocussd is a chrome extension that blocks distracting sites like facebook.

32. Have an afternoon nap

A 20-minute nap is an incredible asset to have. It refreshes the mind and body and allows you to develop superhuman productivity.

33. Don’t watch the news

The news affects your “reptilian brain” by evoking a fear response. You will be much happier and more productive without it.

34. Turn off push notifications

Push notifications equals distractions. Turn them off and celebrate your new found freedom.

35. Use on and off ramps

This means do the same task to get you prepared for work every single day and a different task to prepare you for stopping thinking about work. For example, a run in the morning and a shower in the evening to stop you bringing work home with you.

36. Brain dump once a week

Once a week write down everything you have been worrying/thinking about ( not necessarily just work related) and put in on a piece of paper with 2 categories. Things I can control and things I can’t. Schedule the former into tasks for the week and tear up the page with the things you can’t control on it. This releases mental tension.

37. Use Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Less noises equals less distractions which equals better productivity

38. Visualise yourself

Pro golfers have increased their handicap without hitting a ball using visualisation. Conor McGregor swears by it. Visualise yourself being successful with the work at hand.

39. Make sure you have everything to complete your tasks

You should have everything at hand to complete your tasks. This means planning ahead of time for resources, assets or people that are needed to complete the task.

40. Schedule eating

Always eat breakfast and schedule eating times to avoid getting hungry and eating junk.

41. Split test your sleeping habits

Always get at least 6 hours of sleep a night. Pulling an all nighter doesn’t make you a “hustler” it means you’re not organised enough.

42. Read David Allens “getting things done”

This is the must read book for successful productivity.

43. Sleep in 90-min blocks

The human circadian rhythm is 90 minutes and it takes us on average 10 minutes to get to sleep. So go to sleep at 10:50PM if you want to wake up with energy at 6AM.

44. Take at least 1 day off in your business a week

Your business is your baby and needs a lot of attention to grow up strong and healthy, but one night a week consider getting a babysitter and not thinking about it. This will allow you to relax your mind and avoid burn out.

45. Reconnect with your why

Never forget why you started. Always connect the work with your passion and dreams.

“Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso

46. Give up TV

10 years from now you will regret watching TV. It is a massive time waster.

47. Reduce decision fatigue

Mark Zuckerberg always wears the same clothes and eats the same food. This allows him to use his decision powers on things that matter.

48. Cold showers

Cold showers force the blood in your body into your core. This gives you energy and mental focus.

49. Splash cold water on your face when you wake up

This increases cortisol levels (stress hormone) to help you act with urgency to get things done.

50. Avoid the snooze button

The first action you do sets the context for the day. The snooze button is so dangerous because it trains your brain to procrastinate and actually makes you wake up feeling more tired.

Which productivity hack will you be implementing today? Leave a comment below!
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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Kalpana

    Oct 16, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    Very impressive and helpful tips..thanks for creating and sharing..
    keep up the good work.

  2. Growing entrepreneur

    Sep 6, 2018 at 5:22 am

    This article is great. SO many entrepreneurs waste time and energy because of distractions. In addition, they waste time trying to do everything instead of focusing on the bigger picture. I rather pay someone $10 if it means I will save ten hours.

  3. Lorraine Haataia

    Dec 20, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    What a terrific list! Thank you for so many #productivity reminders in one place!

  4. Ola Rybacka

    Oct 12, 2017 at 5:09 am

    Hi, Max!
    I’m happy to inform you that this post is featured in the recent part of TimeCamp’s weekly Productivity Articles roundup! Find “Getting Things Done Smarter: 10 Best Productivity Articles! 8/10/27” on https://www.timecamp.com/blog/.
    Thank you for sharing these excellent productivity and time management tips!
    Ola Rybacka, SM Manager at TimeCamp

  5. Elliot

    Dec 7, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    My favorite piece of advice is the brain dump twice a week.

  6. Dylan

    Dec 5, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    This is a very informative list, thanks for sharing it.

  7. Keri Vandongen

    Nov 30, 2016 at 12:19 am

    Your comprehensive list should be useful for every entrepreneur, Max!
    My favourite 3 are learning to say NO more often, being task-oriented versus following a to-do list, and reducing decision fatigue.
    Another hack I’d add would be leaving unscheduled time each day. This advice came from Chris Brogan – the fastest way to burnout is to operate at maximum capacity for too long.
    ~Keri

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Entrepreneurs

What if Elon Musk Ran Your Business? 4 Lessons From the Real Life Iron Man

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The story of Iron man and Elon Musk starts when Robert Downey Jr. visited SpaceX headquarters miles away from the setting of the first Iron Man movie back in 2007. The actor was inspired to base his character on Elon Musk’s personality. Ashlee Vance writes in Elon’s biographyboth Musk and Stark were the type of men, according to Downey, who ‘had seized an idea to live by and something to dedicate themselves to’ and were not going to waste a moment.” (more…)

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5 Ways to Prepare for Your Entrepreneurial Journey

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There are many ways to get ready for entrepreneurship regardless of whether you’re ready or not. The migration to the unknown will take you through many places, emotions, and people. Your journey will be both easy and difficult, but hopefully in between, you prepare yourself with an expectation of helping people by solving problems. The quest that you are about to enter will be one to remember if you are willing to adapt quickly and not give up.

Arranging for this huge change in your life should be one of the most memorable expeditions that you will ever experience. Looking into the future and being able to lay out a road map for your entrepreneurial journey will definitely be beneficial. Though there will be challenges every step of the way, being prepared will help you achieve your goals more efficiently.

To help you get started, here are 5 ways to plan an entrepreneurial expedition:

1. Form Ideas By Visualizing And Writing Them Down

Before beginning your entrepreneurial quest, brainstorm to come up with many amazing ideas even if you never act upon each of them. It’s always a good thing to write them down on paper, computer or via a mobile device app such as Google Docs. An abundance of suggestions about your processes is better than none or even a few objectives that can possibly help in some way.

The key is to breakdown those ideas to come up with better solutions to move forward in your voyage. See what’s more in line with your mission and values to be effective for your core audience, products or services that you may want to create. Whether you categorize those ideas or check them off one by one, coming up with different concepts will be a great start to your journey.

“Creativity is contagious – pass it on.” – Albert Einstein

2. Begin A Pattern Of Consistency By Quitting Bad Habits

Repetitive actions can present their challenges but if there’s a way to make progress and eliminate bad habits that aren’t hindering your itinerary then keep doing them. Have you ever noticed that negative thoughts, lack of confidence, and no exercise regimen could negate persistence of not only your entrepreneurial journey but other goals as well?

Get your mojo or swagger back by committing to a life of constant and everlasting consistency by stopping eating bad foods, wasting your time with hours of playing video games, watching television and other things that will stall your progress. When you get rid of actions that are slowing down aspects of your life, you’ll begin to pursuing things to help you lay the groundwork for success.

3. Be Disciplined While Listening More

Another way to prepare for your entrepreneurial journey is by being in control of yourself while paying more attention to everything else. It’s quite common to focus on things outside of your realm and instantly become something other than what you see fit. Difficulties can arise if your focal point isn’t there and somehow an opportunity pass right by you.

Mentorship even from a distance from someone that you don’t know can be a key element as you learn the importance of your mission. Listening to podcasts and watching YouTube videos of someone that has validated your idea is a great starting point as well. Mimicking them on some level can help you understand different phases that are ahead and how to deal with them.

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” – Henry Ford

4. Work Effortlessly And Prioritize Your Time

You will have to work extremely hard with an emphasis on actual time value before pursuing your pilgrimage. We often hear about the results of hard work and it sounds cliche but when many other things are happening outside of your control, finding a way to manage your time can become difficult.

Most people will start off alone with zero help in terms of having a partner and putting in 100% effort. You will likely wear multiple hats as the visionary, programmer, marketer, content creator and so on. You may have to function with only 3 or 4 hours of sleep or even none at times while being respectful and cognitive of the time of others as well.

5. Persist Like There’s No Tomorrow While Planning For The Future

What’s in you? Nobody knows the answer to that question but you and the determination for reaching your destination as an entrepreneur. Whatever the answer is, you should be driven with an undaunted passion to pursue your expedition. Go after your dreams with a tenacity that you didn’t know was within your soul and keep pushing no matter what.

Be mindful that your strong pursuit can be done all while determining the proper destination of where you want to eventually end up. Never lose your focus admist numerous distractions that will happen. The emphasis comes from experience along with talking to other entrepreneurs who had similar occurrences at multiple stages of the process.

Put in the work early with the mindset of expecting obstacles and pushing forward pass them.  It will be tedious and preparing for a grind will make your entrepreneurial journey more understandable through tough times. You will be a lot wiser and better after all of the hard work whether it’s considered a failure or success.

Which one of the above 5 ways to prepare for your entrepreneurial journey resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts below!

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7 Things You Need to Do to Grow as an Entrepreneur

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Startups are on the rise and youngsters are keen to launch their own business instead of a nine-to-five job. As simple as it sounds, opening a business needs patience and the right planning. Moreover, the profits gained can help you meet your financial obligations and realize other dreams.

Young entrepreneurs must learn the skills of investing money within the right channels as most startups fail because of a shortage of funds. Every entrepreneur has a chance to innovate, create new jobs and have an influence on society. It’s our responsibility to continually grow and push forward, usually beyond our comfort zones.

Here are the seven must-learn tips to grow as an entrepreneur:

1. Read Books and Articles

For many new entrepreneurs, your first mentors are usually found in the pages of books and blogs. Much often learned from the writings of others, and fortunately these days, people are sharing their experiences. A survey found that 88% of the world’s wealthiest people read for a minimum of 30 minutes daily. By comparison, only 2% of the overall population reads this much daily.

Read chapters in books, and articles to get new ideas and skills. Some ideas might not be directly relevant to what you’re doing these days however, it could come helpful a year or so down the road.

My advice is to search out those leaders and writers who resonate with you. You’ll understand when you’ve hit on something when you find yourself returning to a book for answers and inspiration time and time again.

“Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” – Plato

2. Perform SWOT Analysis

Business students and old-school marketers should be very aware of mapping out SWOT Analysis charts (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). If you’ve never made a SWOT chart, write out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in four quadrants on a piece of paper.

In reality, you’ll jot down a couple of notes on the back of a cocktail napkin, however despite the simplicity, if done right, a SWOT will shed light on crucial areas that require improvement. Most significantly, don’t shy away from the truth. Dissecting your weaknesses isn’t fun however, no good comes from avoiding the fact.

3. Be Willing to Take Risks

It’s impossible to become an entrepreneur if you don’t take risks. Doesn’t matter how many times you’ve fallen. See how many times you stand-up. Being an Entrepreneur isn’t that easy; it’s an up-and-down game like a business. Be willing to come up with new plans even when old strategies are working. It’s through such risks that your business will grow. You’ll learn and meet new partners or investors. Even so, the risks must be calculated. Doing the analysis and making consultations is vital in this case.

4. Open Your Eyes Wide

Many opportunities are arising in the business world every day. For instance, many companies are willing to come up with a mobile solution for a startup without charging immoderate prices. This info can only be discovered if you’re keen.

Before dismissing adverts from websites and mainstream media, conclude if they’re relevant to your business. Also, follow the events happening in the stock market and international business summits. You’ll find the opportunities which will take your business to a new level.

Becoming successful as an entrepreneur is possible if you learn, take risks, evolve, innovate, and stay motivated. You must be realistic regarding your abilities and watch the events that unfold in your world.

5. Lead the Way for Your Team

Young entrepreneurs need to encourage employees and provide help at every juncture. For any young entrepreneur who aspires to be a leader it’s necessary to be:

  • Honest
  • Ambitious
  • Courage and Risk Taking
  • Dedicated
  • A Team-player
  • An effective listener
  • An effective communicator
  • Able to inspire confidence
  • Positive

An entrepreneur who has all the attributes of a leader leads the employees to productivity. It’s essential that the team respects a leader. The hunger and aspirations of the leader to strive for success inspire the employees to put in that extra effort to be successful.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

6. Learn How to Keep Initial Success at Bay

Do not enjoy the shrubs of initial success for too long. Return to the drawing board and draw the future course of action. To move on to the next phase:

  • Utilize local and online channels to make hype for the services
  • Start expanding by hiring employees to enhance productivity
  • Cater to a good segment of the audience by providing various services
  • Re-invest the profitable revenue into new business efforts

Never let the initial success get to your head. The online platform is an ever-changing arena. Analyze what’s working and what new tactics can be utilized to strengthen the market base.

7. Find and Keep Business Partners

You will always go far if you have people to carry your hand during hardship in business. They’ll share ideas that have made them successful and provides you funds whenever necessary. Demonstrating that you are organized, capable, and serious is vital when nurturing such relationships. Keeping records, creating financial contributions to society, and attending forums are some of the choices worth trying.

Being an entrepreneur isn’t as easy as it looks. You’ll face many up-and-downs, risks, financial crisis, and many more. Be ready to face these problems if you want to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship isn’t about making money, it’s about innovating new things and represent new concepts and ideas to the world.

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Transitioning From Employee to Entrepreneur? Try Intrapreneurship First

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Studies show that 15 million Americans are self-employed full-time and that an estimated 27 million Americans will transition from the traditional workforce to full-time entrepreneurship by 2020. Additionally, it is asserted that entrepreneurs are 125% more successful if they have previously been employed in the industry in which they presently do business. This is all great news on many levels.

Chances are, if you are reading this article, you are considering transitioning from employee to entrepreneur, or perhaps you have already made the shift. I get it. I am one of the millions who has made the switch – trading stability and comfort for passion and freedom. However, if you are a potential full-time entrepreneur, there are many things to consider before making the leap.

How will I support myself and my family in the initial stages of development? What do I do if I fail? How do I maintain the drive needed to make a business successful? How will my business harness the creativity and innovation required to thrive in the marketplace? These are all valid questions and should be considered deeply.

If only there were a training ground to test your management capabilities, gain knowledge, think innovatively and be solution-focused. But, wait, there is. Your current employment can offer these opportunities and more – through intrapreneurship.

By definition, an intrapreneur is an employee of a company who has adopted an entrepreneurial mindset. Intrapreneurs are highly motivated self-starters and innovative, solution-driven thought leaders, who work within an organization. Because of this definition, acting in an intrapreneurial capacity in your current place of employment makes a great deal of sense when considering the move to self-employment. You can use your current employment status as a testing ground for where you want to be.

Here are four reasons why intrapreneurship can work for you:

1. See a problem. Solve a problem

All businesses should be designed to fulfill a need. Just as your own business should be able to justify its existence in the marketplace, initiatives within an organization should do the same. Closely examine processes and products in your place of employment. Determine what could be executed more productively. Alternatively, design a new initiative to creatively meet and exceed customer expectations. Acting in this manner will prepare you for building the structure and mission of your own business.

2. Creatively capitalize on skills and talents gained outside your employer

In many instances, we separate business from personal, and there are many good reasons for this approach. However, there are notable skills and talents used in your personal life that are transferable to the workplace. For example, if you engage in team sports, use your team building skills and charisma to involve your colleagues in projects.

If you love to read fiction books, integrate the creativity of the stories to bend the thinking of traditional methods of operation. The possibilities are many. Business owners rely on all life experiences, directly or tangentially related, for the benefit of their enterprises.

3. Intrapreneurship is for all employment levels

If you think intrapreneurship is only for c-suite executives, think again. Intrapreneurship is for the mailroom to the boardroom. As noted in the definition, intrapreneurship is about being a self-starter. You do not need permission from anyone to be highly motivated. Just as all parts of our bodies have a function, so do all positions in an organization. Even if you feel your position has no purpose in your organization, make one. We all have to start somewhere in our entrepreneurial journeys, so start right now, where you are.

4. Experiencing failure is inevitable. Move forward anyway.

All of us will experience failure at some point and multiple times as well. Failure will happen regardless if you remain employed or set out on our own. Be bold enough to move forward with establishing your voice and your place anyway. Business and life are about forward movement. Decide now what next step you will take if you fail. There is always a path forward. Get used to the possibility of your ideas being rejected and your designs being flawed now, so when you are a full-time entrepreneur, you will know how to advance.

Whether you are at the infancy stages of developing your own business, currently self-employed or even wish to remain an employee, establishing yourself as an initiator and innovator can reap many benefits for you and your company. That is the beauty of it.

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