Productivity

12 Entrepreneurs Explain the CEO Hack They Use to be Effective and Efficient

As an entrepreneur, you that gadget, habit, app or a book that makes your work easier, motivates you to do more and that’s what we refer to as a CEO Hack. It helps you achieve maximum productivity and stick to your goals regardless of the hurdles we face as entrepreneurs. For instance, it could be a pro tip on managing employees to make the workplace a conducive environment for everyone. Maybe it’s an app that you have which helps you plan and execute tasks on time. It could also be a book that you read and it brings ideas your way on how to scale your business. The list goes on. You can check our CEO Hacks and different entrepreneurs’ CEO Hacks below where we have insightful responses.

#1-Trello + Google Calendar

Photo Credit: Antonio Calabrese

I use Trello + Google Calendar to organize my tasks and schedule my day. I literally block out almost all of my day with tasks to help me stay focused and on topic. This helps me avoid being sidetracked with less important tasks and interruptions.

Thanks to Antonio Calabrese, boonle!


#2-Three hacks

Photo Credit: Sagi Gidali

As a founder of a fast-growing startup, I find time-management to be my biggest hurdle. In order to find more time to pitch to investors and participate in industry-related conferences, I’ve learned to rely on time-saving measures including daily scrums (very short daily communications), sprint planning meetings (team tasks broken up into bite-sized chunks), and delegation of important tasks. The latter is the most important. Entrepreneurs frequently get so lost in their own vision that they forget (or refuse) to delegate. This can cause burnout and a loss of time and resources. The number one piece of advice I’d give to any entrepreneur is to trust the gut feeling that led you to hire each member of your team. Don’t be afraid to hand your baby over to your employees. They will appreciate your trust and most of the time take ownership of the tasks needed to carry out – and even help shape your vision. At the end of the day, you should be able to step back and watch the impact your employees are making – for you and for themselves. 

Thanks to Sagi Gidali, SaferVPN!


#3- Turning off notifications on my phone

Photo Credit: Matt Weik

Everyone has issues and they want their issues become your issues. I no longer have any notifications on my phone (I turned them all off including the ringtone) and I only check my email a couple times a day. When people email you, they generally want something from you. If you don’t respect your time, you’ll spend all day fielding what other people want from you versus what you, personally, need to get done. Respecting your time causes you to be more productive and less distracted. I get back to people when I have time rather than trying to answer and respond to emails/calls/messages as they come through. 

Thanks to Matt Weik, Weik Fitness!


#4- Three tools

Photo Credit: Samantha Pennington

The top app I recommend for entrepreneurs is Adobe Spark Post for creating branded graphics really quickly and easily. The app provides tons of design inspiration that you can choose from then remix to match your own brand and needs. It’s really accessible even for non-designers. Instead of wasting those few in between minutes surfing social media, I use it designing for my business’ social media graphics. Every local business owner needs to download the Google My Business app. I 
recommend it because you can manage your Google My Business profile, track your analytics, edit the hours you’re open, and respond to customers quickly wherever you’re at. If you use the app to regularly post updates too, your business is more likely to get seen by potential customers. I use the time-tracking app Toggl every day to help with my productivity, time management, and business research. Starting the timer on Toggl helps me stay focused on my work. Viewing my time reports for the day, week, by client, or by project helps me understand exactly how I’m using my time. I use the reports every time I need to make accurate time estimates for future work. Looking at exactly how long tasks took me to complete in the past allows me to easily decide on pricing and time estimates for new projects. 

Thanks to Samantha Pennington, Oree Virtual


#5-Stopped Multitasking 

Photo Credit: Bernadette L. Harris

Multitasking is the killer of productivity, and I stopped doing it years ago. Each night I create a to-do list for the next day. I list the tasks in order of importance. I also assign or budget how much time it will take me to complete the task. When I start the task, I turn off my cell phone, close Outlook, and set a timer. I work intently on that task until the timer goes off. In most cases, I complete the task before the timer goes off. If I don’t, I take a break and then reassess how much time it will take for me to complete the task. During my break, I refresh myself with bathroom breaks, food/water breaks, and I also respond to emails and phone calls. When my break is over, I rinse and repeat. 

Thanks to Bernadette L. Harris


#6- Journaling and yoga

Photo Credit: Tim Hewson

Journaling is an invaluable tool for CEO’s. You have to get thoughts out of your head and onto paper, otherwise, the same thoughts will circulate and repeat. I found that re-analyzing the same scenario was my biggest source of anxiety. Even when I had convinced myself that everything was okay, I would find myself re-assessing and going over the same thoughts. Journaling allows you to break down big issues into things that you can control, and things you can’t. It often makes you realize that most of the things you are worrying about having actually happened. I do a half an hour of yoga every morning. From a YouTube channel (yoga with Adriene). CEOs are often sitting at their desks or on their phones all day. It is not a healthy way to constrain our bodies. I have found that yoga once a week doesn’t do anything for me, but having a daily practice makes my body feel strong, and has resolved chronic back issues that have plagued me for years. To be a successful CEO in the long haul, you have to be physically well in order to be mentally well. 

Thanks to Tim Hewson, USLegalWills.com!


#7- Peer group of other successful CEO’s 

Photo Credit: Drew Goodmanson

Stop everything you are doing and find a peer group. I’ve found peers is the fastest and best resource to quickly learn how to be a better and more effective in my role. As a bonus, life and your career will be radically improved if you have a peer group who are 100% for you. This encouragement, support, challenge, accountability and insight has been the most important resource I’ve gone to year-after-year. 

Thanks to Drew Goodmanson, Goodmanson, Inc.


#8- Meditation

Photo Credit: Keli Hammond

My favorite CEO hack that makes me more effective as a business owner is meditation, hands-down. I’ve found that setting aside a specific amount of time to be still, calm, and relaxed plays a huge role in how productive (and ultimately happy) I am throughout the day. Every morning I take 15-20 minutes to focus on my breathing and gather my thoughts. The thoughts that I’ve come up with during my morning meditation sessions have helped me introduce so many new concepts and products into my business. It’s actually when I get my best ideas. 

Thanks to Keli Hammond, B Classic Marketing & Communications


#9-Grant Cardone’s book, The 10x Rule

Photo Credit: Carolyn Horner and Eve Ackerley

Eve and I are always on the quest to find tools that promote our productivity knowing that, in a startup, the most valuable resource we have is our time. In the past, my co-founder, Eve, and I have used apps like Trello or notebooks like SELF journal to promote mindfulness, time management and goal setting. However, we recently read Grant Cardone’s book, The 10x Rule. By emphasizing the importance of every minute of your day, this book transformed the way Eve and I think about planning. We have since  become more conscious about saying yes or no to activities or meetings we put on our schedule. Ultimately, Cardone encourages the setting of big, almost impossible goals with the idea that falling short of a lofty goal is better than simply surpassing a small one. So, Eve and I aim to make everything we do in our day to day lives a reflection of achieving this big goal. I would encourage everyone to read The 10x Rule – or at least watch a short video about it – to understand how it can help you be more effective in your business! 

Thanks to Carolyn Horner and Eve Ackerley, Jenzy!


#10- Keep a blank paper and pen beside me

Many times, it happens that our mind drifts away in doing something else, and we lose focus on our planned work. So here is what I do: While working, I keep a blank paper and pen beside me, If I lose focus and do something else rather than the planned work; I tick mark on the paper. I do this every time I lose focus, and at the end of the day, I get to know how many times I lose focus. The continuous following of this trick for days alarms your mind about the mistake. And our mind is conditioned to avoid mistakes that are identified. Thus, from the experience of mine, I can tell you that after some days, you will immediately retract if you do anything other than work. 

Thanks to Ketan Pande, GoodVitae


#11- Planning ahead

Photo Credit: Gabriel Shaoolian

As a CEO or business owner, you can just walk into work and immediately be torn in 20 different directions. So, it is very important that you control your own schedule. Every night, I make a list of what I need to get done, determine 5 tasks that much be accomplished, and plan the following day. On Sunday nights, I plan Monday so I’m not overwhelmed when I start the week.. I also make a list of weekly goals on Sunday. This nightly ritual helps keep me focused and prioritize tasks as they come up. 

Thanks to Gabriel Shaoolian, DesignRush


#12-Waking up early

Photo Credit: Nate Masterson

Waking up early is the key difference maker between a good and productive day to an inefficient and bad day. People don’t realize that it takes hours for the brain to reach complete wakefulness. Likewise, your brain can do the most just after you wake up. I like to get the most important work out of the way in the morning when no one else is awake and there are fewer distractions. Beyond that, it prevents me from staying up too late and wasting a lot of time, because I get tired earlier in the evening. 

Thanks to Nate Masterson, Maple Holistics!


What’s the CEO Hack (app, book or habit) that you use to be effective and efficient? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community

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This is a post from a CEO Blog Nation writer. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.

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