Increasing your productivity is not hard but it takes discipline, hard work, and practice.
There are many self-help books, entrepreneurial success stories and inspirational books that can guide you in finding that hack to increase your efficiency. But still, it is important to find your own unique efficiency hack, just like your favorite morning beverage, to get the juices going.
Here are some time tested productivity hacks that seem to work for many.
Early bird catches the worm. An early morning start gives you time to organize your day.
Almost all successful entrepreneurs talk of how an early morning start gives them time to catch up on work. Most said they devoted some time to catching up with critical work mails. Time for exercise was another essential ingredient of an early start.
Apple CEO Tim Cook usually rises at 3.45 a.m. The self-proclaimed workaholic get to work through 700-800 emails he gets every day.
Successful entrepreneurs have talked about how the benefits of frequent meetings with the staff have been over-emphasized and exaggerated. As Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX put it, excessive meetings are “the blight of big companies.”
Communication and open discussions are important but most meetings either drone on interminably or become chaotic. Most successful entrepreneurs talk of keeping the meeting agendas short and sweet.
Jeff Bezos, the head of Amazon, talks of the two-pizza rule, where he says call only those many people to a meeting that can share two pizzas among themselves. This roughly translates into 6 people.
Asana CEO Dustin Moskovitz keeps one day in a week meeting free. He says this ensures a full productivity day for everyone for at least one day.
USING DEVICES WISELY
Overly productive people are aware that smart devices are tools for efficient production. Avoid going on social media, as smart devices are for communication and information rather than a distraction.
Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet doesn’t have a smartphone. He may have a flip phone but he is averse to the ubiquitous smartphone.
Being connected 24/7 can be detrimental. Set aside some time to disconnect from that gadget.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY
Nutrition is as important as exercising. This may not seem like a productivity hack when you read first but it is once you realize the benefits of healthy eating and fitness habits. Eating on the go and not taking care of what goes in is not healthy in the long run. Garbage in garbage out is an oft-repeated adage. So take care that you eat on time and keep to a balanced diet.
Disconnect from work when you sit down to have a meal. Eating and looking at pie charts, your mail or something similar is not good productivity. It is harmful in the long run as you are not aware of your portions, or what you are eating.
And working while eating leads to acidity, ulcers, anxiety, fatigue and more. This long list of illnesses definitely does not help in improving productivity.
It is impossible to do everything yourself. So learn to assign jobs. Train people to replicate your tasks. Don’t delegate tasks that you do not want to accomplish.
Michael Dell of Dell Corporation reduces clutter by copying only those who need to see the copy. He delegates ruthlessly via email facilitating action as a much faster pace.
A definite chain of command can be built up, all ready to step in the bigger shoes. Especially delegate those tasks that are low in value but high in time investments, that way you free more time to focus on the really important tasks.
THE PAPER PENCIL HACK
We are all aware of this picture of a successful entrepreneur glued to his phone carrying a laptop rushing to his jet. But it is just an aspirational picture. In reality, being on the go all the time can be exhausting and can affect your productivity.
Many successful people talk of how they keep a pen and paper handy for making notes of all things important. Taking notes on computers or your smartphone leads to it being lost in the digital deluge.
It is easier to just keep a diary, easily accessible, tactile and lends a very private and personal touch.
Richard Branson of the Virgin Group swears by it and Dave Rusanko of Weebly finds jotting down lists and ideas on paper works for him.