Productivity

10 promising productivity hacks from 10 successful entrepreneurs

To be heard, you need to be successful. That’s an unwritten rule of this world. I’ve listed my favourite ‘productivity hacks’ (which I, myself following) from top successful business entrepreneurs around the world.

Remember, they all started their career as a single entrepreneur, so you can surely take their words experience and adopt some for a productive & successful career and business.

Scheduling

1. Schedule your day in short intervals (Elon Musk)

Believe it or not, Elon Musk (founder of Tesla, Hyperloop, SpaceX, etc) chunks his day as small as 5 minutes. He schedule the day with tasks, work, meeting with the interval of 5 minutes. That means he spends his attention and distributes it to all the important tasks, that’s why he is able to manage many business as a single man and become world’s richest.

Now, you don’t have to split your days in 5 minutes. But surely you can set from 25 minute to the maximum of 90 minute time and block the time to one particular task and stick with the schedule. The key points here are, “stick with the schedule” and “keep your task duration tiny as possible” so that you can spend your attention without getting distracted easily and most importantly you will complete the task. (Remember Parkinson’s Law: work expands to the time allocated to it)

2. The 2 pizza rule – keep meeting small (Jeff Bezos)

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon has been following this simple rule, that he would only invite a few numbers of people to his meeting, who can be fed by two pizza on whole. Don’t fuss with the number of people, it’s just a metaphor that you only need to invite most important people in very low number, i.e. necessary people in the team.

Why? Restricting the meeting to who matters most will give you lot of clarity, harmonious decisions and importantly saves time. The trick here is, you have to decide who is most important to the meeting based on your agenda.

Decision Making

Minimize decision fatigue (Mark Zuckerberg, also Steve Jobs)

You could see Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook (and Steve Jobs) in all public-appearing with a same round-neck t-shirt, (probably similar colour shades) with no or very less apparels. His idea is to eliminate decision fatigue on small and trivial matters, so that power can be used to take important decision in critical matters.

The take away is, you have limited attention and will power to use your attention to take decision throughout the day. Using them in trivial matters like (what socks I should wear today, will this tie go with this shirt) will deplete half of your decision taking energy even before the day starts. By routinising these things you save this energy for later big use and stay stress free for small, trivial matters.

Theme your day (Jack Dorsey)

Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter) assigns theme for every work day in a workweek. This enables him to focus on single themed work on a single day and this method avoids you switching your attention between different natured work.

If you set Tuesday as ‘Meeting Day’, do all the meetings, follow ups and other errand-type works on that day, so if you set Thursday as your ‘Learning/Research Day’, then do your personal improvement works on that day. So you can work on your own pace on Thursday without worrying about someone disturbing you in middle in name of casual meeting. By theming like this you don’t have to change your mood and attention too often as different theme of work needs different brain capacity and mood zoning.

Reviving

These hacks may look like counterproductive, yet pays multi-folds if you do it regularly in long-run.

Meditate on daily basis (Ray Dalio)

As focus and concentration are the primary investment to any work, you need to sharpen your axe with the help of meditation.

A simple meditation is letting your mind think in a way it wants and not interfering with it for few minutes to hours. This lets your mind wander and settle down. Controlling a hyper-mind is a very difficult and exhaustive process, but you can do wonders with the settled down mind which is easy to direct to focus on the work you want to concentrate on.

Focus on your sleep cycle (Jack Ma)

No matter what, sleep is more important than food and breathing if you want to be productive as hell. Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba says the importance about it, so do every successful people.

He says “If I don’t sleep well, the problem will still be there,”. “If I sleep, I have a better chance to fight it.” He reiterated this in 2019 when speaking about rejection and failure. “Of course, you are not happy when people say ‘no,’” he said. “Have a good sleep, wake up, try it again.”

Provenly sleep improves your problem solving ability rather than fighting with a same problem all night up.

Keep one day completely free (Dustin Moskowitz)

Dustin (found of Asana) recommends a day without any commitment. No meeting, no blocked calendar, no task allocated for the day. Leave the day as it is and take your time to find out your individual priorities to work on that. If you feel ‘self-aware’, ‘whole’, ‘accomplished’ in your personal matters and in individual productivity, then only it will reflect in your undertakings.

Workflow System

The 80/20 Rule or Pareto Hack (Tim Ferris)

I have talked more on Pareto Hack on Alvistor.com itself, which states that only 20% of your effort is enough to bring out 80% of the result. But the trick is to find where that (20%) task lies around in the entire project. Find those most important sector of the project and work on it. The other 80% of the work will only result in 20% gain, so its better to ignore them instead wasting your effort in perfecting it.

Seek Simplicity (Steve Jobs)

The ‘Apple’ founder say seek always simplicity in your work and designing any system (including your personal productivity system) which you planned to use it for long time. You’re simplifying, to make it easy to follow and use it with less effort. The complex and hard-to-do systems are pretty known for discontinuing in the middle of course.

Continuous life long learning (Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates)

Life long learning, the internet termed it as “5-hour rule”. The rule is you make sure you will learn something new in and around your industry or things you doing (your work) for a minimum of 5 hours every week. Consider this as your personal R&D sector of your Life’s business.

Where the learning stops, your life or business’ falling starts.

About the author

Sakthitharan Subramanian

Systems Thinker | Academic Researcher | Productivity Enthusiast | Loves Minimalism, Philosophy | Ph.D. in Computer Science |