The Smart Entrepreneur’s List of Productivity Hacks (Part 3)

Most entrepreneurs are quick to experience fatigue. It’s only natural. There are simply so many decisions to make. Anything can go wrong, anytime. And some days are plain awful. Some days you might want to shut everything down. And move somewhere and fish for a living. Or fix fishing nets.

It is the work. Being an entrepreneur is a lot of work. And everything about that work is special. You deal with countless items every day. Product, strategy, development, marketing. New markets, optimizing. Or too much optimizing.

Productivity hacks are not a cheat. Instead, think of them as an enhancement to your productivity. A regular working experience has certain limitations. Entrepreneurship does not.

Productivity hacks for smart entrepreneurs

But here’s the catch. You can find dozens of productivity tips. The issue is not getting the knowledge. The issue is putting it to good use.

So what you need to do is create new habits through consolidation. Think of it as a 3-week program. On your first week, you can use these productivity hacks to improve your relation with work. On the second week, apply yourself to these methods and attitudes that will enhance your relation with yourself. As for the third week, focus on ways to improve your interpersonal relationships. And while you’re at it, experiment with the following productivity hacks.

#15 Do brilliant meetings

Firstly, reduce meeting frequency. Everybody hates meetings. In fact, meetings are the buzz killer of motivation. They reduce overall team productivity. So try and organize fewer meetings.

Secondly, make meetings shorter. How? Try and become an effective communicator. Also, go ahead and use a collaborative teamwork solution.

Lastly, be purposeful. You want a meeting? Be clear what you want to achieve with it. In fact, switch to smart meetings instead.

#16 Email less = less stress

Emails won’t go extinct any time soon. Even though they’re highly redundant. In fact, there is an inverse relation between emails and productivity. The more emails you get, the less productive you are. So make sure you’re not part of the problem.

Firstly, be brief. Succinct emails are a lot better: people can glimpse through them and get back to work. Secondly, if your email is so short, why not send it as a chat? Lastly, send fewer emails altogether. In fact, tell people you only email in the morning. This way nobody wastes time checking emails for no good reason.

#17 Bear in mind that other people have lives too

You might think you’re always busy. Maybe you’re putting in 70 hours/week or more. But some of the people you work with don’t. And they don’t want to. Nor should they.

Bear this in mind. Some people are happy with a regular job. And a regular schedule.

Life and work overlap more and more, true. The dividing lines are blurry, yet you should not expect others to work your hours.

So don’t ask people to work on weekends. Or reply to emails outside of work. Or generally change their schedules because you forget they have lives too. You’re paying for enthusiasm and skill 8 hours a day. Don’t overdo it.

#18 Seek first to understand, then to be understood

OK, this might sound familiar. It is one of the 7 habits of highly effective people. But think about it in a new context. Meeting new people and networking. When you meet new people, try and listen. And not just listen. Ask what they do. Find out what they like. Also, try to understand what makes them who they are.

This is simple. Just make sure you do it right. How? Don’t over do it. Instead, state it. Ask people what they like about what they do. Also, ask people what their profession is about. You can ask people to describe a regular day at work.

#19 Look people up

We live in a world where access to information is a few taps away. And you can easily do some basic research about the people you interact with. This might come in handy. Want to partner with someone over a venture? Research how they’ve treated partners in the past. Need an entrepreneur-mentor? Look for someone you respect.

Looking people up should be limited to generalities. Don’t stalk people. However, you can go as far as asking people you admire a question on Quora. Or reading a book someone wrote. These measures are acceptable. And it’s a 100% efficient way to boost productivity. You can use what you know about people to better focus your communications.

#20 Ask yourself why

Our brains simplify others. When you look at people, you reduce them to oversimplifications. It makes sense, you can only focus on some things.

But reducing others to one-dimensional characters is wrong. It gives you very little insight into the person. And it limits your empathy. Also, it destroys actual collaboration. And it makes your relationship superficial. This is why you should try and see the person.

Always ask yourself why people do what they do. Wonder what motivates them, what puts them off. And try and visualize others and their aspirations. This is the secret to understanding how goal contagion works. Empathy.

You might have been told that assumptions are wrong. Take it with a grain of salt. In fact, go ahead and assume some things. Firstly, assume every person is fundamentally good. Secondly, assume communication is often imperfect. Thirdly, assume others don’t always feel how you feel. Lastly, assume people thrive on their passions.

#21 Show appreciation and nurture younger talent

Be appreciative of others and their efforts. What might come easy to you might have been challenging to others. The reverse holds true.

Always show some consideration over effort. Always be mindful of others and their productivity. Show appreciation even when the quality of work is an expected standard.

This is one way a lot of entrepreneurs fail to boost team productivity. They don’t show enough appreciation. And appreciation is part of onboarding. Show appreciation and you will retain more talent.

This pays off a lot more with younger generations. Showing appreciation is an encouragement. It motivates people to work more and do better. Your start-up will have a lot of young people, eager to prove themselves. Showing your appreciation is the mentor-way to do things. It fosters intrinsic motivation.

Don’t forget to go through Part 1 and Part 2 again.

2 Comments


  • It’s a pity that you have to come up with three blogs with some amazing tips only to end with one that’s so clearly wrong.

    You shouldn’t nurture younger talent, you should nurture less experienced talent. Sometimes, as the old saying goes, youth is wasted on the young; if you know someone in their 40s or 50s that wants a new career, help them!

    Reply 3 years ago Tim Woods


    • Thank you Tim! That’s quite a valid point you’re making, particularly since more experienced employees have a very different learning style. While younger talent absorb everything “like a sponge”, experienced employees often rely on transferability. Here is an article about lifelong learning and its benefits.

      To a great extent, anyone passionate about a certain field/area that’s also willing to put in the extra work for breaking into a new career, has many chances to accomplish a lot, perhaps even more than younger talent.

      Those 10 000 hours you need to achieve mastery are a myth! This one expert claims you can learn A LOT in 20 hours. How is this valuable? It proves the point that you can get working knowledge of anything… with the right mindset, training and some 20 hours to spare.

      Finally, I’d say you should nurture talent. That’s pretty much it. Experience plays a role. Sometimes positive, sometimes negative. For the experienced, as well as for the young, self-improvement and lifelong learning are the way to go! Keeps the brain healthy and in shape :).

      Reply 3 years ago Remus Serban


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