WORKPLACE / AUG. 21, 2015
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Productivity Tips From People Behind Successful Startups

If you are planning on making a bold move by setting your own startup business in motion, I applaud you. It takes a lot of courage and determination for such a move, and there aren’t many people who are ready to take this huge step. The initial startup phase can be very hard for a small business. Given the fact that resources such as budget and manpower are limited, it is essential that you do your research and come up with a good plan before making any major decisions. Your passions and dreams must be the engine that drives you forward and allows you to endure all the difficulties along the way. Luckily, there are people behind successful startups who are willing to share their experiences, “hacks” and tricks on how to get through this phase of your company’s development.

The key thing for a successful startup project is maximum productivity, and this is a thing on which all startup managers agree on. New entrepreneurs have a lot on their mind – every day consists of things like speaking to clients and investors, developing a marketing strategy, dealing with IT problems, and doing virtually everything else in between. Everyone has the same 24-hour day to work with, but the difference between a bad startup and a good one is that the latter is able to get the most out of each workday through good time management. In the list below, you will find effective life hacks that can help you set up your own successful startup.

See Also: Top 10 Places Around the World to Launch a Startup

1. Understand How Your Mind and Body Work

Adapting to your personal energy levels helps you push the ball further each day. And that is your ultimate job as a founder. – Anoop Aulakh, cofounder of CleanClub

Before trying to utilize your company’s full potential, make sure that you are utilizing 100% of your own potential. Many people don’t understand the importance of this point and they end up tiring themselves out on low priority tasks. Sometimes, the only thing you need is a little change in your everyday habits or a change in diet. However, you will first need to evaluate yourself and understand how both your mind and body work. Everyone’s energy levels change throughout the day and, by staying in tune with your body, you can learn to prioritize your tasks based on how energetic and concentrated you feel at a certain time.

2. Get the Most Out of Your Prime Time

We’re night owls. We don’t work anywhere near as well from 9am - 5pm as we do from noon until 1am. – Ashwin Muthiah, cofounder of Easel.ly

If you are a morning person, try handling the most creative and demanding tasks right after breakfast in order to maximize the efficiency of your “prime time” rather than wasting it on reading the papers or going through your e-mail inbox. Save those less demanding tasks for that time of the day when your energy and focus are at a low level. At the same time, if you perform your best work at night, then arrange your everyday schedule in a way that allows you to work on challenging tasks during the night. This applies to both you and your employees. Try not to force things – don’t enforce the classic 9-to-5 workday if you and your team do your best work late in the afternoon.

When working on an important project and you notice that it’s becoming hard to think, take a break – a 10-minute break can do much more for your efficiency and give you a fresh perspective. Take a walk after the most stressful part of the day to clear out your mind and think about your next steps.

3. Work on Meaningful Projects

I’ve been a freelancer for years and I’ve struggled with productivity when the project is just a project. When your work is meaningful, it’s a lot easier to get it done. – Nicholas Tart, cofounder of AwesomeWeb

Many entrepreneurs including Nicholas Tart from AwesomeWeb recommend working on projects that align with the values of your collective. Whether you’re a team of programmers, designers, internet entrepreneurs or developers, you must learn to appreciate time and freedom of choice.

Work when you want, how you want, and where you want. Don’t take any project that comes along and instead choose your assignments according to what you and your team are passionate about. By focusing on meaningful projects, lack of motivation will never be an issue and your performance will be much greater. Add meaning to your work environment and you will create a culture that encourages people to do their best each time.

4. Don’t Waste Your Mind on Less Important Things

I have a text file on Dropbox for every month and as I go through my day, I use that text file as a running list of notes, to-dos, email drafts etc. – Kendall Guillemette, cofounder of Grounded Magazine

After a certain time has passed, a fresh entrepreneur can get into the habit of overthinking. Try not to strain your mind with less important things. Many people make a terrible mistake by thinking they can memorize each tiny detail and, sooner than later, they get burned out. Write things down so that you don’t forget them, even if you can remember them, to avoid putting a heavy strain on your brain which will ultimately distract you from performing more important tasks.

5. Don’t Become Obsessed with Productivity

If you can’t trust in your team, business partners, etc. – you’re doomed to fail before you’ve even started. – Jon Becker, cofounder of eMedCert

As an entrepreneur, it is very important to keep track of the performance levels in your office but, if not careful, people often cross the line and become obsessed with productivity and micromanagement. This can put your employers under a lot of pressure, which can result in a bad working environment.

Asking too many questions about a project’s progress will most likely disrupt people’s work and have a negative effect on their productivity in the long run as they will not be able to focus on the tasks at hand. In the beginning, you will most likely have a small team, so effective communication and a positive atmosphere are both essential. Just avoid getting caught up, and have confidence in the people you work with.

See Also: The Best Predictor of Startup Success

If you want to be a good startup CEO, learn to be a natural problem-solver, face every challenge with a positive mindset, and lead. Each and every company is different in many ways, and circumstances will change over time. This is why developing a good objective look on things is important. New teams and their CEOs can also have bad periods, but as a leader, it is important to adapt and to motivate the people around you while coming up with new business strategies to utilize. The people who have succeeded the most in their careers are the ones who never gave up on their beliefs, even when they were going through difficult times.

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