What are some quick, simple, and maybe a little weird productivity tricks entrepreneurs use to get more done?
I’m always curious about that, so I asked my most productive and successful friends for the “hacks” and tools they use daily.
You can find 27 fascinating and informative answers in the latest episode of the Side Hustle Show podcast.
Below is a sampling of sage advice worth trying out today.
Related: How to Start a ‘Million Dollar’ Morning Routine
Pat Flynn, Smart Passive Income
One of my favorite productivity hacks involves just a little note on my computer that says one single word: “start.” An object at rest tends to stay at rest. And for me, I do a lot of things often that try to fill in that space before I know I’m supposed to do something. So, I often just procrastinate is really what I do. So, I just tell myself through this Post-it note on my computer, very simple, to just start.
Favorite productivity tool: Habit Chair app, Do Not Disturb/Focus command
I get rid of my number one distraction right away in the morning before I start work. For me, that’s a clean kitchen. I don’t know what it is about dirty dishes in the sink, but if I leave them there, I know it will distract me all day. So, I do my dishes before I start work. Then, I remove all my distractions and any excuses I might have to not focus on the task at hand.
Favorite productivity tool: Asana, Text Expander
The first thing I do to start my day to give me motivation is I check my income from the day before. I do it before email or before I even go to my website. I tally up my earnings because that gives me the motivation to get through the grind of tasks that I actually have to do, whether it’s my email or writing a blog post, or whatever it happens to be. But knowing that income I made gives me the motivation to continue to get through these tasks that can give me more income tomorrow.
Favorite productivity tools: Asana, Drip
One productivity tip that’s worked for me has been to delete everything from my calendar so that I’m using my calendar for appointments only. Since I’ve stopped using my calendar as a to-do list, I’m actually getting more done in less time. I feel less stressed because I have fewer notifications popping up. Where do my tasks live now? In Trello. It’s the one tool I can’t live without. I have several boards set up for various projects. And within these boards, I use cards to track tasks for each project. I can easily add or remove tasks and change due dates within Trello as my priorities shift.
Related: 10 Time Management Tips That Work
I have an interesting productivity hack that I’ve been using for maybe 20 years now. Every day, you write out on a Post-it note, like the 3×3, Post-it with the lines on it. You write out your top six things that you need to get done. So basically, a to-do list of your top six things. And I have to say, it has worked really well. Here I am, like 20 years later, and I still do this every day.
Favorite productivity tools: Evernote.
Derek Doepker, Bestselling author of Content That Sells
Three magic words, plus a micro commitment. The three magic words are: “Can I just…” and then you insert something that’s so easy you’re guaranteed to be able to do it, and it gets you into action. If I want to start writing and I’m procrastinating, I go, “Can I just…” open up the Word document and write two sentences, then I can quit. Once you get into it, you tend to want to keep going, and momentum generates motivation. Add a micro commitment such as, “Can I just do two minutes of exercise, or can I just meditate for 30 seconds,” whatever it is.
Favorite productivity tool: Evernote
Man, call me old school, but my biggest productivity hack is definitely not anything hack-worthy at all. It involves getting up and getting a little bit of physical exercise, and at the end, taking some real intentional time to breathe. I would call it meditation, except I don’t want to insult anybody. But taking some focused time to breathe, concentrate, and think ahead to what’s going to happen during that day. And then taking a couple of notes on how I want to show up if it’s big meetings or things that absolutely need to get done if it’s crunch time, so nothing too fancy, Some good old body movement, some intention setting, and a pen and paper go a really long way to keep me on track.
I’m a therapist, and I believe truly that your mental health helps your productive health. I live and work in a small apartment in Los Angeles. I just had so much crap everywhere, and I got rid of my desk. I know you’re thinking this is the symbol of work. This is the mecca. But no, instead, I got rid of my desk, and I created this kind of inspirational, much less cluttered space where I sit, I think, I meditate, I journal, I plan my day. It’s been such a better productive outcome for me than I ever imagined. Because it helps me organize my mind. So if you live in a small space, and you have a desk like me that was just honestly piling up your mail and keeping your iPhone chargers or their headphones or that little dongle thing that you keep losing from the iPhone, maybe it’s time to get rid of your desk.
Favorite productivity tools: Boomerang
Type the word “Facebook” in the search box of your emails and just search your inbox, not all of your email. This will quickly find most of the marketing emails that you’re probably never going to get to read anyways, and put them all in the same page. Select all and then delete all. Most of these offers, newsletters, ads are going to say “find us on Facebook,” or have a Facebook link of some kind, so that is their inbox Deathwish.
John Corcoran, Smart Business Revolution
I started using a stand-up desk a couple of years ago, and now it makes me so much more efficient. If you’re going to stand, you’re going to work, you’re not going to waste time fooling around on social media or whatever. Not to say that I’m perfect in that regard, but stand-up desks definitely makes you work more efficiently. And I also think that it makes me more alert when I’m working. I know if I need to work late into the evening and I sit down, I’m much more likely to fall asleep. You’re not going to fall asleep standing up, that’s for certain. So you can actually work a lot longer, which can be a good thing when you need to burn the midnight oil.
Favorite productivity tool: Asana
One must-have productivity tip for me is the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, I walk 20 feet away for 20 seconds or more. And that’s for two reasons. One to make sure that the blood is flowing in my legs. Secondly, to give my eyeballs a break.
Favorite productivity tools: Vidyard Video