By Kristen Gramigna
CEOs and business leaders can’t afford the luxury of idle time. The success of their business depends on personal discipline, organization and the ability to devise unique “productivity hacks.” Here are tricks and techniques from several high performers that the rest of us can incorporate into their own daily routines.
Make your work hours count. No hyper-productive businessperson works “only” 40 hours a week. Some business leaders develop out-of-the-box habits to meet the challenge of having more to do than hours in a day to do it.
Sales trainer Jason Kanigan has identified those “golden hours” when energy and creativity are at their peak. “Figure out when your ‘golden hours’ are, and protect them at all costs. Permit no distractions during that time. Then ‘Eat that Frog’ — pick the biggest, hairiest, most difficult goal that stands between you and the next giant step towards success — and Do It Now.”
Bharath Kumar, co-founder of Pugmarks.me, enjoys working late on Sundays. “When you get work done on a Sunday night, your Monday is awesome. You meet colleagues with confidence, and can do meetings to plan the next week — all armed by a productive night.”
Focus! Truly productive CEOs know how to shut off the noisy world around them when they have to. Chris Green, CEO of Saratoga Roofing, mandates “closed door time” in the workplace, where employees close their office door for a certain period of time every day. “We find that when employees have an expectation of not being able to disturb or be disturbed by others at set times of the day, they work harder to figure out things on their own and they are far more productive.”
Schedule fewer (or no) meetings. Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Facebook, advocates holding “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which guarantee “some contiguous space” to get things done. Mark Cuban, CEO of HDNet, considers most meetings pointless. “There are so many ways to communicate in real time or asynchronously that any meeting you actually sit for should have a duration and set outcome before you agree to go.”
Do a better job of delegating. If your company does a good job of hiring talented people, don’t hesitate to make the most of their abilities. “You hired them, surely they are good,” says Web entrepreneur Daniel Tan Kh. “Since they are good, there is really no need to check on them all the time. Cultivate a sense of ownership and let them work like they are the boss.”
Sleep is for other people. While it’s always important to maintain one’s health through proper diet, rest and exercise, some, like Jordan Zimmerman, founder of Zimmerman Advertising, take a more radical approach. “Why would you sleep when it’s time to live? Sleeping isn’t living. You sleep when you die. I get up at 3:30 every morning and I’m at the gym by 4.”
Finally, to be most productive, always look at where your time and efforts make the greatest impact. For Bill Trenchard, partner at First Round Capital, this means adhering strictly to the 80/20 rule — 80 percent of your time focused on work that “moves the needle,” and just 20 percent on less important matters.
“Condition your team out of seeking perfection,” Trenchard says. “That’s not what you want. You want speed.”
Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a credit card processing provider for small businesses. She brings more than 15 years of experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management, and marketing to the company and also serves on its Board of Directors