They say the definition of an entrepreneur is one who moves a resource from an area of lower utility to an area of higher utility. But a more apt description of an entrepreneur might be one who never has enough time to get everything done. As an entrepreneur I’m drawn to any product, service, practice, or process that will help me get more done in less time. That’s why I love audiobooks and Audible’s smartphone app. I love reading books, but rarely have the time to sit and read a printed or Kindle book. But I can easily listen to an audiobook while I’m out for a run or commuting. And with the triple speed function on Audible’s app, I can listen to a 6-hour audiobook in 2 hours. This way I’m able to read a few books each week while I’m doing something else I would be doing anyway.
I wanted to know what some of the entrepreneurs and business authors I admire do to make themselves more productive, so I asked them. Here are their responses.
“Use templates. I create a template for any task I find myself doing repeatedly. So instead of reinventing the wheel every time, I do it once, save it as a template, and then reuse it.” – Michael Hyatt, author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World
“I use UberConference for conference calls, why? After the end of each call you get an email with how long each participant talked, including you. If you are like me, and you are constantly trying to become a better listener, you can set goals for yourself on if 50% of the call or 25% of the call is the right amount of time, but either way…you get a report back on how well you “listened”. When I fail, I try to get better for the next call. Being a good listener is something I think so many of us could get better at, this is my hack to know if I am improving.” – Wil Reynolds, Founder, SEER Interactive
“This may sound a bit counterintuitive, but my best productivity hack is daily exercise. I find that if I dedicate 30-60 minutes to a workout each morning I have so much more energy that I get more done when I work. I even make it a point to walk to lunch and back as that 15 minutes of movement seems to keep the afternoon energy crash at bay.” – John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide
“Sometime voice is better than text and it makes sense to pick up the phone. Know when you should actually call instead of text is just as important as knowing HOW to end a phone call. The most effective phone meetings I have last less than 5 minutes. To do this, use clear phrases “My goal for today is …” and to end “If there’s nothing else to discuss, let’s wrap up.” – Dale Stephens, Founder of UnCollege.org, author of Hacking Your Education: Ditch the Lectures, Save Tens of Thousands, and Learn More Than Your Peers Ever Will
“Saying no to almost everything is the best way to get the important stuff done. No to that meeting, no to that introduction call, no to that event, no to working on that-thing-that-you-probably-should-do-but-doesn’t-need-to-be-done-this-second. No, no, no, no. All of a sudden you have all the time in the world to work on the important thing without breaking your back.” – David Heinemeier Hansson, Basecamp, co-author of Rework and Remote: Office Not Required
“Yesterbox.” – Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos, author of Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
“I don’t like thinking about anything I can’t do in the moment, so I put stuff in my own physical in-tray more than anyone else. It gives me the freedom to have as many ideas as i want, drop them in there, and not have to decide what (if anything) I’m going to do about them. That supports my crazy, creative side. But I also drive the in-tray to empty, regularly, which supports intelligent resource allocation…which clears the deck for more creative craziness!” – David Allen, author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
“My productivity hacks are all about focus. Grouping requests into lists and responding to them at slow times. Trying to get to inbox 10 every day. But if I lose focus then my professional life turns to shambles. If I keep my focus then Startup Grind thrives.” – Derek Andersen, Founder, Startup Grind
Are you an entrepreneur? What are your favorite productivity hacks? Tell us in the comments below.
Joshua Steimle is the CEO of MWI, a digital marketing agency with offices in the U.S. and Hong Kong.